Verizon subscribers who tuned into FiOS1 News Thursday morning were greeted by a message that the hyper-local TV news station went off the air slightly earlier than expected.
It was announced in August that FiOs1 would cease programming at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 16, but the station instead signed off at the end of its Nov 13 nightly news cast. It went off the air because Verizon declined to renew the contract with Rye Brook-based RNN, which produced FiOS1 News for Long Island, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey audiences for a decade.
“I am very proud of our entire team and what we produced for you, our viewers, for the past 10 years,” RNN President Richard French said during the conclusion of the final FiOS1 News Long Island news cast. “We hope you enjoyed watching as much as we enjoyed bringing you the news. This is difficult because clearly, this was not our choice to say goodbye.”
After the announcement in August came news that Verizon FiOS picked up Long Island’s sole surviving hyper-local TV news station, Altice’s News 12. A message greeted FiOS1 viewers Thursday morning directing them to turn to the new channel. Except instead of channel 12, News12 Long Island is found on channel 29 for FiOS subscribers.
“FiOS1 News is no longer available,” the message read. “Find episodes of your favorite NY & NJ high school sports games and Restaurant Hunter shows on FiOS Video on Demand.”
Jaci Clement, CEO and executive director of the Fair Media Council, a Bethpage-based nonprofit media watchdog group, has called the FiOS1’s demise “a serious loss to the region.”
The development had inspired New York State lawmakers to propose legislation mandating that television companies and telephone corporations provide local news programming.
“Our democracy depends on an informed citizenry,” said state Sen. Kevin Thomas said (D-Levittown). “The loss of local news seriously hurts our communities. This legislation will help ensure that New Yorkers have access to the local news and information that impacts their health, welfare, and the communities in which they live.”