United States | Viewers enjoy more local broadcast TV news than ever before

Where do you turn for trusted local news? If you’re like most Americans, the news you trust is in your own community from local TV and radio stations. Local broadcast journalists are a pillar of our democracy, ensuring communities are informed and providing a window into the most pivotal moments in history.

At a time when misinformation runs rampant on social media and online, local broadcast television consistently ranks as the most-trusted news source compared to other media. And now, a recent NAB analysis of Nielsen data shows that America’s broadcasters are delivering more local news than ever before.

NAB examined the number of programs classified by Nielsen as “local news” as well as the hours of local news aired across the country, comparing data from the same month (November) in 2011, 2016 and 2021.

  • The number of local news telecasts airing in November 2021 across the country increased by nearly 16% from November 2016 and by 35% from November 2011, with 154,445 local newscasts airing in November 2021 compared to 114,005 in November 2011.
  • More than 107,000 hours of local television news content aired in November 2021 across the country, an increase of over 40% from November 2011 and more than 16% from November 2016.
  • The number of Spanish-language local news telecasts airing in November 2021 more than doubled the number airing in November 2011, with nearly 8,300 Spanish-language newscasts representing approximately 4,600 hours airing in November 2021.

From fact-based journalism and public affairs programming to emergency information that keeps Americans safe, local broadcasters bind communities together rather than dividing them.

Unfortunately, the quality local journalism broadcasters provide is at risk. Outdated and arcane broadcast ownership restrictions and the overwhelming dominance of big tech platforms in today’s media marketplace threaten the very foundation of local broadcasting.

Outdated laws that keep broadcasters from growing force stations to compete with one arm tied behind their back for advertising dollars and audience.  It is past time for broadcast ownership rules that reflect the current competitive marketplace. NAB is also advocating for passage of both the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act and the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. These bills, which have bipartisan support from lawmakers in both chambers, would help level the playing field for news outlets against big tech companies and ensure that broadcasters can continue serving as a trusted source of local news and investing in their news operations.

Providing quality local journalism that Americans can trust is what broadcasters do best. Click here for more stories about the vital role local stations play in communities across the country.