N.C. Regional News Network Delays Launch

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The 24-hour news channel that Time Warner Cable had planned for North Carolina has delayed its launch — yet another venture that has felt ripple effects from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Alan Mason, the general manager of the proposed channel, to be called News 14 Carolina, confirmed the venture has delayed its December launch date to March 1. The channel will serve nearly 500,000 Time Warner Cable customers in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Goldsboro, N.C.

The venture was moving ahead on schedule. It now has 12 staffers on board and its 20,000-square-feet studio is nearly completed. But employees were scheduled to undergo training alongside workers at sister station New York 1 News — at NY1's new facility — and there comes the rub.

NY1 employees were at work and packing boxes for their move to the facility in Manhattan's Chelsea Market when the terrorist attack occurred, said Kirk Varner, vice president of news services for Time Warner Cable. Since then, the employees have been busy covering the aftermath, the delayed mayoral primary election and the Yankees' run for another baseball championship.

As a result, NY1 has not made the move, which was scheduled for late September. Now, that news operation won't shift to its new digs until Jan. 1.

Executives put a positive spin on the delay. Mason said he will have more time for recruiting. Also, instead of sharing a trainer with New York, the North Carolina employees will have the trainer to themselves in their own facility.

Varner notes the new launch date will kick the news operation off on the eve of the college basketball March Madness" playoffs.

"That will be great for the market — that's the biggest event of the year in that part of the country," he said.

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