The local news service produced by RNN in Rye Brook for Verizon’s Fios cable TV service in Westchester, other parts of the Lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and northern New Jersey, comes to an end on Nov. 15. RNN also provided an internet presence for Fios1 News.
However, the Business Journal has learned that cancellation of the arrangement by which news programming was produced for Verizon by RNN may not result in an end to the availability of a local news channel on Verizon’s systems.
While some local news about Westchester and other areas served by Verizon’s systems is routinely seen as part of the regular newscasts produced by New York City’s television stations including WNBC, WCBS, WABC and WPIX, the source indicated that a local service is likely to be provided on the Verizon systems after the arrangement with RNN has ended.
Without a replacement local news feed on Fios, the News 12 service on Altice’s Optimum cable systems will be the only local television news service designed to cover Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley full time.
Lisa Anselmo, senior vice president for communications at Altice, told the Business Journal, “News 12 is thriving under Altice’s leadership and we continue to invest in News 12, positioning the network to be stronger than ever. News 12 is the most viewed network in Optimum households, is experiencing growth in TV ratings and digital viewership, and was recently named by the independent Pew Research Center as the main source of local news by NYC-area residents.” She added that Altice is committed to the growth of News 12.
RNN notified 145 employees involved in producing the local news service seen on Verizon that their employment will be terminated effective with the end of the contract with Verizon. RNN began producing Fios1 News for Verizon in 2009 and expanded the service to cover Westchester in 2014.
A statement issued by Verizon said, “Later this year, Verizon will no longer be offering Fios1 News. We have partnered with RNN for over ten years to deliver award-winning hyperlocal news coverage on Fios1. We wish RNN and their employees well during this transition.”
Richard E. French Jr. is the president of RNN. He formerly was chairman of the board of trustees of Mercy College and formerly served as chairman of the board of directors of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
A son, Richard French III, oversees the RNN news division and also hosts the nightly public affairs program, “Richard French Live.”
The company owns television station WRNN-TV licensed to New Rochelle and transmitting on channel 25. It also owns stations in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C.