Spectrum introduces upgraded cable news TV options. What will viewers think?

From left, Spectrum News 1 Anchor Ashleigh Mills and Meteorologist Deitra Tate.
From left, Spectrum News 1 Anchor Ashleigh Mills and Meteorologist Deitra Tate. Charter Communications

Spectrum’s Kentucky cable operation has launched a new format for its news.

Spectrum News 1 — on Channel 1 of the cable lineup —includes statewide, original news programming “curated for Spectrum viewers across Kentucky,” according to a release from Spectrum networks. Based in Louisville, the operation includes bureaus in Lexington and Bowling Green.

The network launched Oct. 31. The programming includes a 5 a.m. program for early risers, including local weather reporters. At 8 p.m., the program provides a recap of the day’s most important stories along with weather forecasts.

Spectrum’s nightly political program “Pure Politics,” continues to air weekdays at 7 p.m., hosted by Michon Lindstrom.

“In Focus Kentucky,” Spectrum’s 30-minute local public affairs show hosted by Mario Anderson, will continue airing Sundays at 10 a.m. Spectrum’s 14-journalist team in Washington includes multimedia journalists covering specific congressional delegations.

Reporter Eva McKend has been assigned to the Kentucky congressional delegation.

“These are not networks like you see in typical television,” said Mike Bair, executive vice president of Spectrum Networks. “We have a lot of data that allows us to understand each market.”

Multimedia journalists in the field pursue what Bair calls “more long-form stories,” as opposed to stories such as breaking crime news.

“Because politics is so important to us, we have a substantial Washington, D.C., bureau,” Bair said. “Our intent is always to translate everything into its local impact.”

Bair said the Kentucky news operation employs 20 people now, and will be hiring more.

The news upgrade is “not at all” a response to the arrival of competitor Metronet in the market, Bair said.

Viewers are looking for a media option separate from “all this drama and this screaming cacaphony of argument ... and then you’ve got social media ... unfettered, undisciplined and unmonitored,” he said. Spectrum hopes that the news content will be perceived as an added benefit for Spectrum cable customers, Bair said.

“We’ve got a substantial legacy already,” Bair said. “We’re simply expanding to markets ... that are part of the Charter footprint.” Charter Communications does business in Lexington as Spectrum.

“We don’t care about winning the night,” Bair said about ratings. “We care about winning the year.”

Former Mayor Gray voiced his frustrations with Spectrum cable at a Lexington forum in 2017 and said the city was working on bringing "real competition" to the city's cable TV landscape. Since then, Metronet has been installing fiber-optic cable .