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wneu-nbcBy SCOTT FYBUSH

It appears Comcast was doing more than bluffing when it began making noise about pulling the NBC affiliation from Ed Ansin's WHDH-TV (Channel 7), which has had the Peacock Network since 1995.

At a staff meeting this afternoon at Comcast-owned New England Cable News' Newton headquarters, Comcast officials unveiled the new "NBC Boston" logo for their new entry, which will make a 2017 debut on what's now Telemundo outlet WNEU (Channel 60).

(photo: Brian Burnell/NECN via Twitter)

There's a staff meeting scheduled at WHDH as well this afternoon - and Ansin tells the Herald he's been meeting with lawmakers and developing a strategy to challenge NBC's move, in part on the grounds that the New Hampshire-based WNEU signal doesn't come close to covering the entire Boston TV market. (NBC says it's looking at ways to enhance the WNEU signal, perhaps by adding a simulcast on a digital subchannel closer to Boston.)

The first staffing announcements for the new "NBC Boston" include former WHDH chief meteorologist Pete Bouchard as well as a pair of new reporters. Will former WFXT star anchor Maria Stephanos be the next personnel shoe to drop?

Is Ansin still angling to get NBC to buy WHDH at his price? Or is this affiliation swap for real, marking the second time in just over two decades that NBC has changed Boston homes?

More as this story develops...

*Meanwhile, Greater Media announced this morning that Ramiro Torres is joining his former WJMN (94.5) morning partner Pebbles on Greater's WBQT (Hot 96.9). Ramiro left WJMN last July, and it appears he was waiting out his iHeart contract before making the expected move to Hot. More in Monday's NERW.

5 COMMENTS

  1. My memory of WHDH is back in the early 00’s when I was visiting my family in New Hampshire, they broke into kids programming and without warning they reported that a father admitted to killing his kids that were missing for the past few days. (I hope someone got fired over that decision)

  2. I have a feeling that before the dust settles CH25 will get the NBC affiliation. It makes sense. They have a great over the air signal and a news department that is already up and running. As they are simply a FOX affiliate they could make the switch instantly. This is what Ansin did in Florida years ago when he lost NBC there. I have over the air TV and do NOT get CH60 at all. That’s why I think this part is a bluff on NBC’s part. They can’t have a poor signal in this market nor will they be on a secondary tier. Unless Ansin would sell of Ch56 for NBC to buy it or NBC cuts a deal with CBS to be on WSBK TV38 there is no other options. Then again Ansin might decide to cut his losses and see WHDH to NBC. Time will tell….

  3. Are you not paying attention?….NBC is not interested in another affiliate situation…they will have an NBC owned and operated station in Boston come hell or high water….FOX has a long term affiliation agreement with COX so NBC will never be going there but there are many other options …never WSBK unless CBS decides to part with it as they said they might in some duopoly markets…NBC and CBS have a history of swapping facilities. If Ansin decides not to sell you could see NBC buy WMFP Channel 62 digital 18 …one of the markets best signals put NBC Cozi on a digital sub channel and be done with it. I think they will come to a meeting of the minds and a price for WHDH both can live with. Ansin is one step from the big dirt nap and would have to hang on for another 10 years for to gain money from signal repacking. If NBC had been on the ball they would have beat Sunbeam to Channel 7 or at least Channel 56 years ago

  4. NRJ, which owns WMFP/62, is a spectrum auction speculator. Will NBC throw them enough money to forget that? Or will they just try to throw more money at Ansin?

    • A lot will depend on how big the auction proceeds really are. This matters for NBC/Comcast, too – it’s reasonable to expect that WNEU would have been tagged for auction, which means that on the “expense” side of the ledger for Comcast, you have to also figure in the auction revenue Comcast doesn’t get if it keeps WNEU as its NBC Boston signal. That might make NBC willing to pay Ansin a little more for WHDH in the end. I still think there’s a game of poker being played here.

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