Fox Sports Houston To Go Local 24/7 on Jan. 12

Fox Sports Houston will launch a 24-hour local program feed on Monday Jan. 12, completing the regional sports network’s transition to a standalone FSN affiliate separate from Dallas-based Fox Sports Southwest.

The new dedicated Fox Sports Houston feed will allow the network to establish its own identity and to appeal to the interests of local sports fans in the nation’s 10th-largest TV market by scheduling more Houston-specific shows when it isn’t showing local games. Previously, Fox Sports Southwest’s feed was carried in Houston for most non-event programming.

“We are excited about the launch of Fox Sports Houston’s feed and the impact it will have on local sports fans,” says Fox Sports Houston SVP/GM Steve Tello, who was brought in by FSN in January 2007 to oversee the build of a full-time Houston network. “Our staff has been working diligently over the last year to build Fox Sports Houston into its own local sports network that can connect fans with their favorite teams. We have received tremendous support and resources from our colleagues at Fox Sports Southwest during the changeover. We will continue to build on what we’ve established here and become an even more Houston-centric network.”

Fox Sports Houston will debut a state-of-the-art high-definition studio and editing facility at its new downtown headquarters in the 4 Houston Center in March, just in time for the start of the Major League Baseball season. The HD studio will be home to Astros, Rockets, and Texans pregame and postgame shows that had been originating from Fox Sports Southwest. Houston native Kevin Eschenfelder, who has anchored the shows from Dallas, will return to his hometown to host the programs. Patti Smith, Bart Enis, and Greg Lucas will continue to be based in Houston.

“The pieces are now in place for a dynamic regional sports network that serves Houston,” Tello says. “The HD studio will afford us the flexibility to produce more high-quality local programming and makes us the dominant sports channel in Houston. We’ve taken a significant step in establishing a Houston-based network, and we’ve made a local commitment to the market. This also creates a unique sponsorship and advertising platform for our partners and advertisers.”

Fox Sports Houston and Fox Sports Southwest will continue to produce and share programming that’s relevant to both networks, such as Big 12 Conference and Texas high school events.

Fox Sports Houston reaches more than 4 million households in Houston and surrounding markets in Texas and Louisiana. It offers a strong lineup of local sports programming, including 130 Astros games, 62 Rockets games, Astros and Rockets shoulder programming, Houston Texans weekly shows during the NFL season, coverage of Big 12 Conference events (including football and basketball), local high school games, local college coaches shows, and customized regional shows and specials.

Fox Sports Houston is part of FSN’s group of 19 owned-and-operated and affiliated regional networks that reach more than 80 million homes across the U.S. The nation’s leading provider of local sports serves as the home to nearly two-thirds of all MLB, NHL, and NBA teams based in the U.S. and also produces close to 5,000 live local events each year, including more than 1,700 in high-definition.