Hanover-Hartford television station goes on-line

by Charles Davant | 8/14/96 5:00am

In an era when people shop on the Internet, conduct research on the Internet and communicate on the Internet, it makes sense that they would watch television on the Internet.

Well, almost.

The local NBC affiliate, WNNE-TV Hartford-Hanover has started a World Wide Web page, which includes local weather, television listings and links to other web sites.

WNNE Account Executive Wally Caswell, who is in charge of the website, said the studio is promoting the site as "a link to a lot of other great places."

"We are a place to start your browsing day," he said.

On the page, station meteorologist Tom Hoyt's weather forecast is frequently updated and presented in an easy-to-read manner. There is no news on the pages, but there are links to stories on the giant Microsoft NBC news server.

Caswell said he hopes to someday include local headlines on the server.

"What we would like to do at some point is say, 'Here are some of the stories we are working on: there's a cat stuck in a tree in Thetford, a car accident in Claremont, Governor Dean announces something," he said.

The sports page has coverage schedules for the NFL season, the college football season, the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. It includes links to the official pages of several semi-professional teams and some Dartmouth athletic teams.

A "What's On" page shows what is currently playing on WNNE. For instance, if you checked the page at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, you would see you were missing a cartoon called the "Goof Troop."

On the page visitors can also select any show WNNE carries to find out when it will be on television.

The "Arts Spotlight" gives a four-line description of coming attractions. The community calendar gives an extensive list of Upper Valley events.

Caswell said the site was created to help market WNNE and its advertisers.

"We want to gain as many viewers as we can," he said. "And like taking an ad in the newspaper or taking an ad in radio or in television, it is a place where we can let more people know we are here, and tune into Channel 31 for the Olympics, the Republican National Convention or the weather."

WNNE is not yet selling advertisements directly for the web site.

"If they buy 'X' amount of commercials on the station, we give them visibility on the web site," he said. "We are not really selling advertising on the web site."

Caswell said the web site is hardly a competitive medium when compared to television. During the month prior to the official release of WNNE's home page, 150 people previewed the site. About 18,000 people watch WNNE's 6 p.m. newscast every night.

Also, "It is another step of work for the news department, and they are pretty busy as it is," he said. "It is difficult to justify doing."

"We're not convinced [the web site] is the best thing, but we thought it was best to be proactive," he said.

Caswell said journalism may be evolving in the direction of the Internet. He cited the Boston Globe as a news resource that is using Internet technology.

"Someone told me the Globe has 32 staffers for their web pages," he said. "The Globe may be looking into a crystal ball and saying, 'We had better jump on this.'"

Caswell said the station is still determining how to promote the site.

"I'm not sure we have revved up our engines and got out and sold it yet," he said. "But I have the promotion department creating something saying, 'WNNE.com, you can get weather 24 hours a day, you can get national headlines.'"