Newsroom Innovators | Cue The Dance Music For KBLR’s Digital ‘Dale Play’

Dale Play, a new digital- and streaming-only mini-newscast from Las Vegas Telemundo affiliate KBLR, is a fast-moving, dance track-powered take on headlines for the time-starved viewer.

During the final moments of a recent KBLR newscast, a youthful anchor danced the broadcast to a close. It was the first episode of Dale Play, a new offering from the Las Vegas NBCUniversal Telemundo station, available exclusively on the station’s website and the OTT streaming platforms Roku and AppleTV.

The series’ more informal approach is indicative of many trends found in a growing number of digital-only broadcasts. But the producers have infused some thoughtful, unique twists into the show as well, while going to great lengths to effectively serve the community.

Full episodes, published weekdays around 4 p.m. PT, clock-in under 10 minutes and are as short as six. Individual story blocks last as little as 20 to 30 seconds, with segments of story groupings compartmentalized with hashtagged titles. Much of the broadcast is typically powered by electronic dance music, underscoring the upbeat nature of the show.

At first glance, Dale Play appears to be an obvious olive branch to prospective young viewers, familiar and heavily engaged with digital technology. However, with this offering, Executive Producer Johali Carmona says the station is simply on the hunt for viewers of any age and gender who don’t have the time to tune into the two-and-a-half hours of traditional TV news they already provide each day.

“We want to be everywhere with them,” Carmona adds, noting her market has many Latinos who often work multiple jobs and cannot be tied to their televisions all day long. Dale Play is, in her words, “a little newscast where you can have valuable information everywhere you go.”

Dale Play, which translates to “Press Play” in English, starts big, with colorful, branded graphics swooshing around the screen to — again — a pulsing soundtrack that sounds more Miami nightclub than “TV newsroom.” After a brief intro from anchor Alejandro Condis, the music shifts and the first segment of strictly local stories, #Código702 (“Code 702,” the city’s area code), begins.


Though the first episode included a relatively lengthy look at a sexual assault case, Dale Play stories tend to be on the lighter side, but nonetheless informative and helpful. One episode kicked off with notices from area companies looking for workers, before giving way to news that the musical act Earth, Wind & Fire will soon play The Venetian hotel.

If the stories of #Código702 aren’t bite-sized enough, the second segment, #Top5, features five across just two minutes. Carmona says #Top5 pieces — like the one about Donald Trump possibly returning to social media — tend to be those that the station believes are important to the community but might not fit into a formal TV news broadcast.

Then, there’s the #Tips segment, which contains interviews with expert sources about the ways locals can be good citizens, like by properly recycling plastics and other materials, for example. #Wow spotlights stories with a “wow” factor, including a piece about a couple of rock climbers, while #CuteAlert! focuses on things like a local children’s school music class.

There are still other segments that help categorize the stories, each with different soundtracks, keeping viewers engaged throughout. They’re almost like HuffPo or Buzzfeed listicles, but for TV news.

“We put a lot of care into the story choices because we don’t want viewers to be bored,” Carmona says. “I am a very involved person in the community, and I think I know what they like.”

So far, so good on that front. Carmona reports that Dale Play has ranked in the top-five most-clicked videos on the KBLR website each day a new episode has been published, sometimes topping the list. (The show was just launched on April 26, so the station could not offer any other ratings.)

The show’s producers are also looking to appeal to viewers, particularly younger ones, who may be more comfortable with English than Spanish. In doing so, the broadcast mixes in some Spanglish, Carmona says, and, at times, straight-up English. (One #Tips story is about the future of handshaking in our post-pandemic new normal, with remarks from the interviewee completely in English.)

The Dale Play concept was hatched by the station’s news director, Marialcy Carreno. Episodes take three hours to produce, with a team of five — including Carmona and Condis, as well as an associate producer, technical director and web editor — putting them together. They are shot on a Flash Cam that was installed in the newsroom and edited in Evius Pro 9 software; graphics were produced in-house on Xpression by the station’s media manager.

Carmona says the station did not hire any new hands for the project; instead, the team rejiggered responsibilities and time resources. However, Carmona says the station’s following and, thus, staff, as a whole, is growing — right alongside the city KBLR serves.

She anticipates a bigger budget and more robust manpower behind Dale Play eventually, but the bootstrapped effort to this point has made her a proud EP.

“We have been working so hard for so many months on this project and we’ve put our heart into it,” Carmona says. “It’s our baby, something we created in our editorial meetings. We’re really proud and we’re going to keep working on it really hard.”

It may be informal and fun, entertaining and loud, but the people behind Dale Play are also very serious about its news and what it means to viewers — who they tend to relate to quite intimately.

“When I arrived from Cuba just a few years ago, I would’ve never imagined being where I am today,” anchor Condis says. “Being a part of such a special project is a real privilege and a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. This digital newscast is a new and unique way of serving the Hispanic community. We are all adapting to new ways of life and informing viewers in a short time frame while they are on the go is extremely important to us.”

Editor’s Note: This is the latest of TVNewsCheck’s “Newsroom Innovators” profiles, a series showcasing people and news organizations evolving the shape and substance of video reporting. These profiles examine the inception of their innovations, the tools they employ and how they’re reconciling experimental approaches to news storytelling within daily workflows. You can find the others here.

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