Spectrum Networks launched the public affairs program "In Focus" in eight markets across our news footprint in the last year, delivering a forum for important, thought-provoking conversations. “In Focus” has tackled some of America’s most pressing issues including the opioid crisis, human trafficking, homelessness and immigration through in-depth discussions with local leaders and key stakeholders to help viewers understand the ongoing issues.
Those are just some of the many important, hyperlocal topics that "In Focus" has delivered since launching in 2017, and even more is in store for the year ahead. Each "In Focus" show is 30-minutes long, and hosted by a cast of award-winning reporters and anchors.
"We get really granular," said Bernie Han, Group Vice President, Political Strategy and Development. "There are some key topics that resonate with our viewers that deserve a more thoughtful, concise conversation that includes perspectives from different angles of that topic. We’ll bring in lawmakers who can change public policy, or the nonprofits that see what goes on in the communities. We bring in the people who are actually being affected by the issue. We bring in all those different voices and we facilitate the conversation."
Keep reading to learn more about all of the "In Focus" programs across our news footprint.
Veteran anchor Solomon Syed asks important questions of Albany's biggest power brokers and public figures, in the weekly 30-minute "In Focus with Solomon Syed."
In 2017, the program examined ways to support the some 18,000 veterans living in rural Saratoga County, and this year topics like the ride-hailing debate, the contamination of Hoosick Falls, and Albany's budget battle have taken center stage, along with some 40 other subjects.
"There aren't many shows that take a single issue and explore it in depth from a variety of perspectives," said Adam Falk, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. "I think "In Focus" presents that unique opportunity."
Air time: Sundays at 10:30 AM.
Renee Eng, featured in the video at the top of this story, serves as anchor and reporter for "In Focus California: SoCal" and "In Focus California: In Your Community" - two 30-minute shows that address the hyperlocal issues that impact residents, businesses and local communities. "In Focus California: SoCal" is a traditional roundtable discussion, and Eng goes on location to various communities for "In Focus California: In Your Community."
In 2017 topics like revitalizing the L.A. River and earthquake preparedness were among 30 topics presented; in 2018 southern California's transportation problem was the subject for a popular weekly show.
"This format allows me to really dive into issues," said Eng. "It gives me a chance to sit down with a politician or a community advocate for 10, maybe 15 minutes and really get to the root of issues."
Air times: "In Focus California: SoCal" airs Sundays at 8 AM PST and "In Focus California: In Your Community" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 12 PM PST.
Spectrum Bay News 9 in St. Petersburg, Florida and Spectrum News 13 in Orlando feature "In Focus with Allison Walker Torres." The program features a roundtable of newsmakers, local officials and expert analysts brought together to tackle topical issues of importance to Floridians. The program has covered more than 30 subjects to date, including voter registration and fraud, the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, gun legislation, along with the impacts of Puerto Rican immigration to Florida.
"By hosting these shows every week you have the opportunity to delve into topics in the news cycle, and also consider longer-range issues that are more of a continuous problem," said Falk. "It offers a balance."
Air time: Sundays at 11:30 AM.
Reporter Mario Anderson hosts "In Focus Kentucky," which debuted in January of 2018 with a discussion with Gov. Matt Bevin about workforce development. Each week he helps dig into the issues that matter to the people of Kentucky, including juvenile justice reform, Black History Month and mental health help for law enforcement.
Air time: Sundays at 3 PM.
New York City
At Spectrum News NY1, veteran anchor Cheryl Wills invites experts from around New York City to discuss a wide range of issues impacting New Yorkers on "In Focus with Cheryl Wills."
The show has hosted more than 45 roundtables on topics like sanctuary cities, public transit, diversity needs in New York City and the anniversary of 9/11.
"If you’re a Spectrum News viewer, you know that we offer no nonsense news," said Han. "We give you news that's continuously updated, constantly breaking, and in bite-sized nuggets you can digest and then go about your day. As our channels mature we needed to carve out some time to devote more meaningful, contextualized discussions to topics as part of our programming strategy. It's a half-hour show devoted to a single topic."
Air time: Sundays at 10:30 AM.
Senior Political Reporter and Anchor Loretta Boniti hosts "In Focus with Loretta Boniti," in North Carolina, inviting experts around the state to cover a wide range of issues impacting North Carolinians.
Foster care, the agriculture economy and community-police relations in North Carolina are among the more than 25 subjects the program has covered for viewers.
Air time: Sundays at 11:30 AM.
Anchor Mike Kallmeyer hosts "In Focus with Mike Kallmeyer" in Ohio. The program debuted with the topic of school choice and the movement to allow public education funds to follow students to the schools or services that best fit their needs.
He has also spent time examining why Ohio is a crossroads for drug smugglers transporting narcotics all over North America, and Marsy's Law. The film tax credit and an election preview show also highlight the more than 20 topics that have aired so far.
Air time: Sundays at 10:30 PM.
"In Focus with Elizabeth Jeneault" airs on Spectrum News in Austin and San Antonio. The program launched with an extended hour-long show dedicated to Hurricane Harvey, pivoting from a previously scheduled show to focus on the most relevant topic on the minds of Texans.
Each week, Elizabeth invites experts from around Texas to discuss a wide range of issues, and on March 4 she sat down with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Washington D.C. to discuss school safety, Hurricane Harvey rebuilding efforts and his campaign for re-election. The program has covered more than 20 topics including human smuggling, maternal mortality and bullying awareness and prevention.
On March 11 Elizabeth spoke one-on-one with Attorney General Ken Paxton on a range of topics including DACA and immigration, mass shootings, Hurricane Harvey, human trafficking and his run for re-election.
Air time: Sundays at 9:30 AM.
For more information on Spectrum Networks and its slate of "In Focus" programs, click here. And be sure to watch the video at the top of the story.