KARE11, the local NBC affiliate in Minneapolis is taking on a new thing — a thirty minute television program with a significant online presence. Titled “KARE11 OnLive” [clever, that] this program boasts a website that is as integral to the program as the video cameras.
The site features blogs by the two hosts [one of them a high-profile personality with the station for some time] as well as blogs from at least one other contributor. The blogs are comment-ready, but not syndicated via RSS feeds. A bulletin board receives contributions from the audience as well, based on topics created by the program producers. Users cannot create topics on the BBS, only the producers can do that; this was likely done to maintain a focus on the topics the program tackles.
The appearance of the site it completely independent of the primary KARE11 site. A fresh, thoroughly modern aesthetic lends an of-the-moment feel to the project. A player auto-plays the most recent program upon entrance. The style is applied to all elements of the page, and sets it apart from the advertisements on the page–a tough thing to do.
The on-air portion explicitly reinforces the online component; when the program goes to a commercial break, they say, “We are going to take a commercial break, but the discussion continues online.” At certain points in the show they refer to the person who is “manning the website” replete with headset microphone. This staffer reads comments from the BBS on topics mentioned earlier in the show.
Reminds me a bit of what Radio Open Source did.
This is a significant effort on the part of KARE11; it will be interesting to see how popular it becomes. It airs at a bit of an odd time, 4pm CT. They have a hook, and that is the local angle. Will that be enough?