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Broadcast News -- Time Is Up? NBC Has a Chance to Experiment (Get Out of 1950!)

02/11/2015 11:51 am ET | Updated Apr 13, 2015

Yes, I know the ratings are still high for broadcast news but is the broadcast news business model (22 minutes of read) over? Or soon to be?

Now people get their news from multiple platforms -- from cable news to Twitter and get it not on the TV with rabbit's ears, but on smartphones and iPads. It is everywhere!

So... in light of the problem at NBC, maybe this is a good time for them to rethink their program models? Technology is and has changed just about every business -- maybe time for broadcast TV to rethink how it does its business, the news?

So, my idea? Instead of the current (and dated) model of having an anchor just read the news (as noted, people already get their news via cable to twitter and on smartphones and iPads and can and do read it themselves), why not morph towards the cable model and have both a presentation of news in the hour and a strong debate? Debate gets you thinking.

And yes, of course the viewers are smart enough to know during the course of an hour when the presentation is news / facts and when it is opinion. Viewers are a lot smarter than many in journalism think (and many viewers are a lot smarter than the journalists! :) Viewers can handle a mixed presentation and appreciate the candor that comes with debate and challenge.

Some journalists hate cable news, but it sure liberates the viewer -- allowing and provoking the viewer to think, rather than be told to just sit there and listen... and listen to what some distant news room thinks you should hear.

Do not forget, many can not afford cable and may not have those dangerous daily family arguments about politics, so do not get that strong debate -- they just hear what is read to them. Debate has a giant value - whether you agree or disagree with the debater or the topic, debate makes you think. Thinking and challenging yourself about issues beats being spoon fed what some newsroom thinks you should hear.

So... my suggestion for a troubled news organization (yes, NBC) and I know this will rattle the old timers who have a fixated view about what journalism is..do something bold for 6 months and experiment. Put one of your strong and determined debaters on to host the nightly broadcast news, the new format, the 2015 one.

And while you are at it, how about a woman? My suggestion: Rachel Maddow. Whether you agree with her or not, she will stir things up and provoke a debate. She is also the right price -- she is already on the payroll!

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