Fisher Communications, Seattle-based owner of TV and radio stations in the Pacific Northwest, announced this week its launch of 43 hyperlocal neighborhood Web sites in its home market. Fisher’s goal is to create a network of neighborhood sites in Seattle. To populate the site with neighborhood-centric local news, Fisher is reworking content from KOMO TV. This will be complemented by user-generated content and a partnership with Windmere Real Estate.
The service will run on DataSphere Technologies‘ LocalNet, an outsourced solution providing sales, advertising and technology. Fisher already uses DataSphere for local search.
Fisher’s current direction in hyperlocal is a break from an earlier, more ambitious strategy centered on Pegasus News, a full-fledged, city guide level solution that it acquired in July 2007 for $1.5 million. At that time, Fisher also hired Seattle Times Interactive head Nancy Bruner to manage its interactive group.
After running up some operating costs, however, Fisher switched tracks last December and sold Pegasus for what it paid — $1.5 million — to GAP Broadcasting. Bruner departed soon after. Shedding assets and associated operating costs such as Pegasus News have apparently helped Fisher manage through tough times.
Meanwhile, Pegasus’ new owner, GAP Broadcasting, a radio station group with mid-sized properties in the Gulf and the Pacific Northwest, has put Pegasus, along with $aveOnTheLot.com, an auto vertical, into Archstream Media. The new division will initially provide services to its own stations. Eventually, the plan is to also provide the community and auto services to third parties.