Verizon's First Local Channel Bows in D.C.

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Verizon Communications will go live Friday with its first owned-and-operated channel, FiOS1, which will provide local weather, traffic, news, sports and community programming in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

FiOS1 is on channel 1 in the telco’s TV lineup, available to subscribers in northern Virginia and parts of Maryland.

Why was D.C. first? “Where else would you launch your first local channel?” Verizon spokeswoman Sharon Cohen-Hager said. “It’s a huge media market, and we were able to bring the programming together. Of all the markets we’re in, D.C. made a lot of sense.”

Cohen-Hager said Verizon expects to launch one or two similar channels in other markets this year, but she declined to identify them.

The D.C. channel, headed by former ABC news producer Michelle Webb, will provide “Traffic on the 1s” and "Weather on the 5s.” News content will be provided by WUSA9, the Gannett-owned local CBS affiliate.

Verizon’s first original local programming for FiOS1 is a show called Push-Pause, produced in collaboration with HyperLocal News Productions, which features segments by “trained citizen-video journalists.”

The channel also will feature 20 hours of sports programming per week, including some Georgetown University, George Mason University and high-school games. FiOS1 plans to develop a northern-Virginia high-school sports highlights show, Game Day TV, a 30-minute preview of the upcoming games and a wrap-up of the week's past ones.

Another FiOS1 program, Limbo Local, will let viewers bid on consumer electronics via their mobile phones, with the lowest unique bid at the close of the auction winning the prize. FiOS1 subscribers will also be able to play online, and Verizon Wireless will offer its own version of the game to V CAST subscribers. Prizes will include a 40-inch LCD HDTV and a Blu-ray progressive DVD player.

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