WHDH, digital channel 42 (virtual channel 7), is an NBC-affiliated television station in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the largest NBC station not owned by the network. Owned by Sunbeam Television, WHDH is a sister station to CW affiliate WLVI. The two stations share studios located at Bulfinch Place (near Government Center) in downtown Boston, and WHDH's transmitter is located in Newton, Massachusetts.
|Branding||7 or 7NBC(general)7 News(newscasts)|
|Channels||Digital: 42 (UHF)Virtual: 7 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||7.1 NBC7.2 This TV|
|First air date||June 21, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||Unknown; callsign taken from former sister station WHDH (AM)|
|Former callsigns||WNAC-TV (1948-1982)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||CBS (1948-1961, 1972-1995)ABC (secondary 1948-1957, full-time 1961-1972)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kw|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°18′41″N 71°13′0″W|
Channel 7 first went on the air on June 21, 1948 as WNAC-TV, the second television station in Boston (twelve days after WBZ-TV). It was owned by General Tire along with WNAC radio (680 AM, now WRKO), flagship of the Yankee Network, a New England regional radio network. General Tire had purchased the Yankee Network in 1943. WNAC first broadcast from studios at 21 Brookline Avenue (which had also been home to WNAC radio and the Yankee Network) before moving to its current facilities at 7 Bullfinch Place near Government Center in 1968.
In 1950, General Tire bought the West Coast regional Don Lee Broadcasting System. Two years later, it bought the Bamberger Broadcasting Service (WOR-AM-FM-TV in New York City) and merged its broadcasting interests into a new division, General Teleradio. General Tire bought RKO Radio Pictures in 1955 after General Tire found RKO's film library would be a perfect programming source for WNAC and its other television stations. The studio was merged into General Teleradio to become RKO Teleradio; after the film studio was dissolved, the business was renamed RKO General in 1959.
WNAC-TV was originally a CBS affiliate. However, by 1955, ABC began to move some of its programming to secondary clearances on WNAC, which continued until (the original) WHDH-TVsigned on channel 5 in 1957. WNAC-TV also had a secondary affiliation with the Paramount Television Network; in fact it was one of that that company's strongest affiliates, carrying Paramount programs such as Time For Beany,Dixie Showboat, Hollywood Reel, and Armchair Detective.
WNAC-TV switched affiliations with WHDH in 1961 and joined ABC. It stayed with ABC until 1972, when channel 5 lost its license. The owners of the station that replaced it, WCVB-TV, planned to air more local programming than any other station in the country, heavily preempting CBS programming in the process. CBS was not pleased at the prospect of massive preemptions on what would have been its second-largest affiliate and largest affiliate on the East Coast. It immediately moved back to WNAC, leaving WCVB to affiliate with ABC. However, WNAC utilized the version of the circle 7 logo it had adopted in 1973 until 1977, when ABC complained it was infringing on its trademark, and it began using a Times-Serif-Italic "7". In late 1981, a stylish, strip-layered "7" was introduced, which ended up being the last logo redesign under RKO General ownership.
Two legendary Boston TV personalities had shows on WNAC: Louise Morgan, who hosted a talk show and was known as "New England's First Lady of Radio and Television", and Ed McDonnell, who as the costumed (as an astronaut) character "Major Mudd", hosted a popular children's show in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Fight for survival and transitionEdit
By 1965, RKO General faced numerous investigations into its business and financial practices. Though the Federal Communications Commission renewed WNAC's license in 1969, RKO General lost the license in 1981 after General Tire admitted to a stunning litany of corporate misconduct as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Among other things, General Tire admitted that it had committed financial fraud over illegal political contributions and bribes. However, in the FCC hearings, RKO General had withheld evidence of General Tire's misconduct, and had also failed to disclose evidence of accounting errors on its own part. In light of RKO's dishonesty, the FCC stripped RKO of the Boston license and the licenses for WOR-TV in New York and KHJ-TV in Los Angeles. The FCC had previously conditioned renewal of the latter two stations' licenses on WNAC's renewal. An appeals court partially reversed the ruling, finding that RKO's dishonesty alone merited having the WNAC license removed. However, it held that the FCC had overreached in tying the other two license renewals to WNAC's renewal, and ordered new hearings.
RKO appealed this decision, but after almost two years of legal action agreed to a settlement in 1982. It agreed to sell channel 7 to New England Television, a merger of two of the original rivals to the station's license controlled by Boston grocery magnate David Mugar. The transfer took effect on May 22, 1982. At that time, the station's call letters were changed to WNEV-TV, and the "7" logo was dropped in favor of a new SE7EN logo. This logo was changed to one of a number 7 made up of seven dots in September 1987.
Throughout the 1980s, Mugar held a sponsoring partnership between WNEV and WHDH radio (850 AM; frequency now occupied by WEEI), for public events and other initiatives. This foreshadowed NETV's eventual purchase of WHDH, which occurred on August 7, 1989. In January 1990, Mugar announced that as of March 12, WNEV would change its call letters to WHDH-TV in order to correspond with its sister radio operation. Those call letters had previously been used by what is now WCVB from 1957 until 1972. It was Mugar's plan to create, once again, a second major TV/radio duopoly, primarily in news, to compete with the long-standing combo of WBZ radio and TV. Boston Mayor Ray Flynn declared March 12, 1990 as "WHDH Day" in Boston, celebrating the joining of the radio and TV stations. On that day, personalities from WHDH-TV made on-air sessions on WHDH radio.
The dual operation, which began with much fanfare and leverage, proved to be too costly for Mugar and company. NETV gradually slid into a deficit, prompting cutbacks on in-house programming as well as in the TV news department; the most notable effect being the elimination of WHDH-TV's 5:00 P.M. newscast for two years beginning in 1991. With third place news ratings, minimal help from CBS (which had been in a ratings slump since the end of the 1987-88 TV season) and sinking profits, Mugar was eventually prompted to sell the WHDH stations. The radio station was sold to Atlantic Ventures in 1992.
Sale to SunbeamEdit
On April 22, 1993, David Mugar entered into an agreement with Miami-based Sunbeam Television Corporation — a company led by Worcester native Edmund ("Ed") Ansin -- to sell WHDH-TV to them.  The purchase was completed in June. Shortly afterward, Ansin installed his WSVN news director Joel Cheatwood, and began to rebuild and expand the news department into the newsplex operation that he had originated at the Miami sister station.
All the while, NETV's look and visual elements remained on-air. By that fall, the News 7 broadcasts still featured NETV graphics and music cues, but the last NETV-era set had been ousted in favor of a section of the fledgling newsplex, and Sunbeam-style graphics were featured on over-the-shoulder visuals. The last graphic traces of the David Mugar/NETV era bid farewell on October 31, 1993, the final broadcast day of the dotted-7 logo and all other NETV-style branding. Ansin prepared viewers for the change in branding as early as the previous summer, when during broadcasts of Lottery Live, the dotted-7 logo formation was eliminated from its intro, as well as on the set of Lottery Live (these visual adjustments, along with a modified set, were only temporary for WHDH's lottery drawings, as Lottery Live moved to WCVB the following March).
The new Sunbeam station and news format officially commenced on November 1, 1993. With the Sunbeam transition complete, newscasts now aired from the finished multi-story view of the newsplex, under the 7 News heading, and the new WSVN-style circle 7 identity was used everywhere on the station.
Over the years, channel 7 as WNAC had preempted little network programming. As WNEV, the station preempted programming in moderation, in favor of more locally produced shows. The preempted programs often aired on WHLL (now WUNI). From 1989 to 1990, the station delayed CBS This Morning in favor of the children's show Ready To Go (RTG had previously aired in the 6–7 a.m. slot from its debut in 1987 through 1989; after only six months at 7 a.m., the program was reduced to Saturday-morning-only broadcasts on March 24, 1990). In February 1994, CBS This Morning was dropped and picked up by WABU (now WBPX-TV). WHDH then began an expanded morning local newscast.
WNEV/WHDH also had exclusive rights to Lottery Live, broadcasting the Massachusetts State Lottery ("The Lottery") games six nights a week from September 1987 to March 6, 1994. Motivated to cultivate an identity to the station that would indirectly help its last-place news ratings, WNEV acquired the lottery from WBZ after they had announced earlier in 1987 that they were giving up their rights to the games. The lottery arrival had heavy promotion, and went hand-in-hand with the station's on-air image change that fall; in fact, the new dotted-7 logo had a dual meaning, in that the dots were to represent lottery balls.
A contest was held by WNEV in August 1987, under a month before the games made their switch, to scout for their own lottery host (Tom Bergeron, who hosted Lottery Live on WBZ, was firmly employed by that station in other roles, thus not making the switch). The auditions were held in front of an audience of 200 at Boston's Westin Hotel at Copley Place, in which the finalists were narrowed down to 16. The winner was Lynn-Andrea Waugh, familiarly known as "Andi", a 29-year-old redhead model who had no prior on-air experience. Despite being well-received by viewers due to her effervescent personality and striking good looks, Ms. Waugh never completely overcame her noticeable nervousness after taking to the air. She was phased out in the fall of 1988 by Dawn Hayes, who had been the runner up in the lottery host competition. Hayes, who was equally as appealing but with a polished, confident on-air presence to boot, began her long run as host during this era.
For the majority of its time (or heyday) on channel 7, both drawings of the evening were played during the last two commercial breaks of Jeopardy!. The daily Numbers Game drawing aired at 7:52 (following the conclusion of "Double Jeopardy!") , while the specialty game of the evening (e.g., Mass Ca$h) aired at 7:58. Weekend hosts for this era included Linda Ward, Linda Frantangela, and Jill Stark (who sometimes filled in for Hayes on weekdays from 1993 to 1994). After the sale to Sunbeam, the games were subsequently moved over to WCVB on Monday, March 7, 1994.
Switch to NBC affiliationEdit
WHDH stayed with CBS until January 2, 1995, when WBZ-TV took over the CBS affiliation as part of a group deal between CBS and WBZ's owner, Group W. Fox considered an affiliation deal with WHDH, but since Fox already owned WFXT, WHDH took over the NBC affiliation, ending WBZ-TV's 47-year affiliation with NBC. Since joining NBC, channel 7 has cleared the entire NBC lineup. WHDH became the primary station for the New England Patriots at this time, as the Patriots played in the American Football Conference of the National Football League, which had a deal with NBC for the network to air AFC games. WHDH lost these rights back to WBZ-TV when the AFC package moved to CBS in 1998.
Between 1996 and 1997, WHDH also produced a mid-morning weekday newsmagazine for the NBC network called Real Life.
On September 14, 2006, it was announced that Tribune Broadcasting would sell WLVI-TV, Boston's The CW affiliate, to Sunbeam Television for $117.3 million, after much speculation that Sunbeam would buy WLVI. The sale was approved by the FCC in late-November giving Boston its second television duopoly (the other one being WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV). WLVI moved from its Dorchester studios to WHDH's facilities in downtown Boston.
On April 2, 2009, it was announced that WHDH would not air NBC's new primetime talk show The Jay Leno Show, when it debuted in September 2009, electing to replace it with a simulcast of WLVI's 10 p.m. newscast (which is produced by WHDH) in order to better compete with Fox-owned WFXT. The network quickly dismissed any move of Leno to any other timeslot other than 10pm, stating that WHDH's plan was a "flagrant" violation of the station's contract with the network and that it would consider moving NBC affiliation to another station in the market, either through an "existing broadcast license" in the market owned by NBC (to create an O&O station) or through inquiries from other stations in the market interested in acquiring the affiliation. The next day, WHDH began removing all references to the proposed 10 p.m. newscast from its website, and on April 13 the station announced that it had decided to comply and air The Jay Leno Show instead of the newscast. The fears would become well-realized, as WHDH's 11 p.m. newscast plunged to third place in the November 2009 sweeps period, down 20 percent from November 2008. Other 'first-to-third' drops among NBC affiliates at 11 p.m. forced NBC on January 10, 2010 to pull Leno from 10 p.m. starting after the 2010 Winter Olympics and move the show to late night in a shake-up of its late night schedule.
Although the radio station had dropped the WHDH callsign in 1994, channel 7 retained the -TV suffix until July 8, 2010, unseating WFXT as the only big-seven TV network station in Boston not to have one.
|7.1||main WHDH programming / NBCHD|
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion was completed, WHDH shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and moved its digital broadcasts back to channel 7, the frequency previously used for its analog broadcast. Because of a large number of complaints regarding inability of viewers to receive over the air programming on channel 7, WHDH requested and received temporary authority from the FCC on June 16, 2009 to simulcast its programming on channel 42 (UHF) in addition to channel 7 (VHF).
Although stations in other major markets have similar problems, WHDH is the only station in the Boston area market which changed its digital channel due to the June 2009 transition, requiring a channel map rescan to receive the station. WHDH was also one of three stations besides WMUR-TV and WWDP in the area to broadcast in VHF post-transition, requiring either a traditional rabbit ears antenna within Boston proper, or in outer areas at minimum an outdoor antenna.
On September 15, 2009, the FCC issued a Report & Order, approving WHDH's move from channel 7 to channel 42. After the station filed its minor change application for a construction permit, stating the channel move, on November 9, 2009, WHDH terminated operations on VHF channel 7 and now operate solely and permanently on channel 42. The equipment for the channel 7 digital transmitter has since been shipped down to Miami for use by sister station WSVN, which continues to be on VHF 7 with few complaints due to South Florida's less-varied terrain.
On June 1, 2010, WHDH filed an application to operate at the power level of 1 million watts. The application was approved on December 14.
1948 to 1960sEdit
WNAC-TV's first newscasts were sponsored by Shawmut Bank and were named Shawmut Bank Newsteller. The title had a double meaning; that of an anchor who told the news, and that of the program being compared to a bank teller making a withdrawal of news and information from a "news bank", at the public's request. This format lasted from WNAC's launch on June 21, 1948 until the early 1950s, when the branding changed to reflect RKO's Yankee Network and its personnel, which also handled news on RKO's radio side. WNAC-TV's relationship with WNAC radio was also touted more starting at this time. From then on through the mid-1960s, the newscasts were known asYankee Network News.
1965 to 1972Edit
By 1965, with most of WNAC's in-house productions, including news and public affairs, turning to color broadcasts, the newscasts' names were changed to New England Today (for morning and noon newscasts) and New England Tonight (for the 6 and 11 p.m.); this occurred two years before RKO General shut down the Yankee Network and renamed WNAC radio to WRKO. Reporter John Henning emerged as a star lead anchor during this time. In 1970, the station was the first to promote its newscasts with a jingle called "Move Closer to Your World". Two years later, WNAC's news director moved to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia and took the theme music with him, where it became famous. Also during this era, Chuck Scarborough assumed the role of co-lead anchor with Ted O'Brien, at the WNAC news department. After serving in the role from 1970–74, Scarborough moved to WNBC in New York, where he remains today.
1972 to 1982Edit
The New England Today/Tonight format lasted until mid-1972, just months after channel 7 underwent a reversal of its 1961 network affiliation switch (back to CBS from ABC). RKO General then revised its on-air image once again to now include the moniker "Boston 7". The Boston 7 Newsroom title ran from 1972 until 1974, when the title was shortened to Newsroom 7.
Despite its links with the Yankee Network's well-respected news department, WNAC-TV spent most of its first 20 years on the air as a distant third in the Boston ratings. However, due to the presence of O'Brien, Scarborough, and those of other up-and-coming journalists, the station had begun to be fairly competitive in the early 1970s. For a brief period in 1974, WNAC's 6 p.m. newscast jumped from third place to first, thanks in part to its new hit lead-in, Candlepins For Cash, a local bowling show which had premiered the previous year. Ted O'Brien remained as lead anchor until January 1978, when he was replaced by WHDH/WCVB newsman John Henning, who had previously been lead anchor for WNAC-TV in the mid-1960s. Henning, who was joined by station standbys Eddie Andelman and Dr. Fred Ward, continued to maintain the credibility RKO General had built for itself in news over the past 30 years. However, WNAC's news operation wasn't able to maintain this momentum for long. The RKO fiscal and licensing fiasco that ensued in the next few years caused a sharp drop in the ratings. In 1980, Brad Holbrook was added as Henning's new co-anchor, but by then, budgets were getting extremely tight at RKO due to the company's legal and financial troubles. Henning, disgruntled by his employers, left the station in June 1981 after his four-year anchoring contract was up.
In the year leading up to channel 7's sale to Mugar, the station finally hired its first female lead anchor in Susan Brady, who held the reins with Brad Holbrook. The changes did not cease during WNAC's remaining months. In February 1982, a hearing in the ongoing RKO case resulted in all talent contracts being voided, since the station had not been operating with a license since 1980 (when the FCC stripped it). Brady decided to apply for jobs in other markets, and officially left in April for a position in Los Angeles. She was quickly replaced by young weekend anchor Susan Burke, who carried on with Holbrook through the final RKO hearing results, the shutdown of WNAC-TV on May 21st, and the relaunch as New England Television Corp.'s WNEV-TV, through to September of that year.
1982 to 1993Edit
When New England Television began operating the station under a new license, a massive attempt to bring channel 7 as WNEV out of the ratings basement was planned. David Mugar and company soon announced the infamous "dream team" of newscasters, headed by Tom Ellis and Robin Young. Ellis had previously maintained WBZ's dominance in the news market and then helped WCVB reach number one during his tenure there (1978–82). Young, on the other hand, had no hard news experience but was well-known to Boston viewers as former co-host of Evening Magazine. The new partnership, as well as the completely re-structured news department as a whole, received heavy promotion in the months leading to the official launch the finalized WNEV news product. The newsroom facility, built feverishly over the summer of 1982, was cited by The Boston Globe as being the most technologically advanced out of all three network stations in the market. On Ellis and Young's debut night, Monday, September 13, 1982, WNEV beat WCVB and WBZ in the evening news ratings. The curiosity of Boston viewers only lasted a week in large numbers; the following week, the typical Nielsen pecking order resumed, with channel 7 ("SE7EN") back to a distant third.
What followed for WNEV's news were more shakeups, both in talent and identity due to ongoing sagging ratings. WNEV's inaugural station manager, Winthrop "Win" Baker, and his news director Bill Applegate were both out the door in May 1983. Replacing Baker was former WBZ-TV programming head Sy Yanoff, whom Mugar had the utmost confidence in given his track record at Boston's channel 4 (both Ellis and Young had worked for Yanoff at separate times, years earlier, at WBZ; this was a major factor in him taking the job). Yanoff quickly reunited himself with his former WBZ news director Jeff Rosser, who signed a five-year contract with WNEV. Over the summer, the two fired quite a few of the 1982 "dream team" hires, in an effort to strengthen and better utilize the talents that worked. The largest issue they faced was the never-ending public perception that Robin Young was too much of a contrast with Tom Ellis. Considering Yanoff's history with Young at WBZ, he gently started offering her more avenues at WNEV to possibly aleviate the matter for the sake of ratings. That July, Young, who had previously stated that she was at the anchor desk for the long haul, made a move with Yanoff and Mugar that allowed her airtime on WNEV for primetime specials produced under her private production company, Young Visions. Young decided that leaving the news department would allow her more time to focus on these specials, as well as the availability to be an all-purpose station personality. During that summer, as Young geared up to vacate her anchor position, Yanoff and Rosser named four possible successors, including KNXT reporter Terry Murphy (later of Hard Copy fame) and WNEV's own reporter Diane Willis (pronounced Dionne), who had been one of the brand-new hires the previous year. In early September, Willis was promoted, and began anchoring with Tom Ellis that same month. Young, meanwhile, continued with the station, hosting her primetime specials and events through 1987.
In the spring of 1984, NETV refaced its on-air news look from the changes made only two years prior, taking away the anchoring desk from the newsroom and utilizing a backdrop allowing chroma keys and CGI graphics to be placed. WNEV also began a regional news bureau network known as The New England News Exchange, in which WNEV consulted with other broadcasters and print media to create a high-powered electronic news gathering. Despite a massive influx of capital and marketing (including the launch campaign "There's A New Day Dawning", and later, a highly-financed promotional campaign employing the refrain "Feel Good About That"), and more positive reviews of the station's news following the appointment of Willis as lead anchor, WNEV still failed to take the competition by storm.
In the spring of 1986, Yanoff and Rosser announced that they would try a second lead anchor team for the 11pm weeknight news in the fall. They planned to keep Ellis and Willis on at 6pm, while giving the 11pm slot to weekend anchor/reporter Kate Sullivan and Dave Wright, an incoming newsman hired away from ATV in the Canadian Maritimes. However, when Rosser had a meeting with Willis for what was supposed to be her contract renewal, he was told by Willis that instead, she would be leaving to become a professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Willis and Rosser publicly announced her resignation in July, and Willis assured the staff that her decision to leave WNEV was isolated from her soon-to-be decreased air time. Ellis, on the other hand, was unhappy about his reduction, feeling that he was no longer being considered the station's principal anchor. Yanoff and Rosser attempted to come to agreeable terms with Ellis, with two proposed plans--to either pair him with Kate Sullivan or Dave Wright, or to find him another replacement female anchor. It was puported that WNEV was even in discussions with by-then-former NBC anchor Linda Ellerbee for a possible pair-up with Ellis. The anchor replacement and Wright/Ellis pairing ideas were ultimately nixed (by the 1980s, the idea of two men anchoring together was passe); Sullivan and Wright were then granted both the 6 and 11pm time periods in September. Ellis was demoted to reporter, which led to his exit from the station altogether in early December, 1986.
In September 1987, numerous changes occurred when R.D. Sahl, another existing noon and weekend anchor, joined Kate Sullivan as her new partner on weeknights (Sahl had filled in for Wright on numerous occasions in 1986-87, and heavily in the summer of 1987 when Wright was recovering from a heart attack). That same month, WNEV became the first Boston station to launch a 5 p.m. newscast, which was anchored by Dave Wright and Diana Williams. The Live at Five hour of the news was a cross between the informality of WBZ's competingLive on 4 and the standard WNEV newscasts themselves, minus the lifestyle and specialty features seen on Live on 4. However, there was a unique twist. Wright, who had created the Live at Five format at ATV in Toronto (where he had hosted it from 1982 to 1986), brought the concept to WNEV, which had him and Williams walking around a special newsroom set sans an anchor desk as they presented stories. Featured reporters were seated at assignment desks on the set, as they contributed to the fray and chatted with Wright and Williams. The format soared in the ratings, a true accomplishment long labored by NETV. Ultimately, the producers of the news program started feuding, and Wright, who felt caught in the middle, resigned from WNEV in May 1988. Just prior to Wright's departure, Jeff Rosser had left the station at the close of his contract, and arriving in his place was celebrated former WCVB news director Jim Thistle. By September 1988, the Live at Five format was dropped (as it remained intellectual property of ATV), and the 5-6 p.m. block was now structured as a more conventional newscast, anchored by Williams and Lester Strong. After Williams departed to her current job at WABC-TV in 1990, Strong anchored with new arrival Edye Tarbox in the 5 p.m. hour.
WNEV/WHDH spent the rest of its years under Mugar in the ratings basement, leading to constant changes in identity—from NEWSE7EN(1982–1984) to The New England News (1984–1988) to News 7 New England (1988–1990) to News 7 (1990–1993). However, R.D. Sahl became regarded as the strongest figure the station had going for it, at first with Kate Sullivan and then Margie Reedy, who replaced the departed Sullivan in 1990.
Amid all the local prominent journalists who attempted to leverage WNEV's news, a few future national talents had brief stints at the station in the 1980s. Bill O'Reilly, long before his national exposure on Inside Edition and Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, co-anchoredNEWSE7EN Weekend in 1982-83. Soon after, O'Reilly also became the host of the station's weekday afternoon talk/lifestyle program, New England Afternoon (which replaced the ill-fated two-hour magazine show Look, canceled after its first season). His successor on the weekend newscast was Paula Zahn, now a well-renowned newswoman of many TV networks, who co-anchored with Lester Strong from 1983-85. Rehema Ellis, who joined the station in 1985 as a general assignment reporter, eventually left to become an NBC News national correspondent in 1994. From May to November of 1988, future Today host Matt Lauer hosted WNEV's mid-morning talk show Talk of the Town. Two more WNEV/WHDH alumni would then hit the big time: reporter Miles O'Brien, a 1987 arrival to the station, left to join CNN in 1989. Edye Tarbox, now E.D. Hill, who was an anchor/reporter at WHDH from 1990–92, later worked at Fox News Channel from 1999 to 2008.
Tom Ellis, who had been dethroned of the male lead anchor position at the station in 1986, came full circle when Inside Edition Extra, a companion series to the syndicated stalwart Inside Edition, was picked up by WHDH for its fall 1992 daytime schedule. Ellis had been named the host of Extra, and essentially, by way of WHDH already carrying Inside Edition, returned to Boston's channel 7 exactly ten years after he had began his run there as lead anchor. Since Extra aired after its parent series as part of an hour-long IE block at 4 p.m., Ellis also appeared following his former WNEV colleague, Bill O'Reilly. The scheduling only lasted one season, as Inside Edition Extra was discontinued at the end of the 1992-93 season. (The Extra name became more familiar to the industry over a year later, as the title of theTime Warner-produced entertainment magazine that premiered in the fall of 1994. WHDH carries this Extra today.)
1993 to presentEdit
There were abrupt changes when Sunbeam bought the station in 1993. New station owner Ed Ansin brought Joel Cheatwood, the creator of WSVN's fast-paced news format, to Boston. Cheatwood introduced a considerably watered-down version of the WSVN format. However, it was still shocking by Boston standards. Prior to the finalized Sunbeam product taking to the air that November, Ansin and Cheatwood began changing anchor lineups; in mid-October 1993, Margie Reedy was moved out of primetime, whereupon she began anchoring the noon newscasts as well as the 5:30 slot. Rehema Ellis was promoted to female lead anchor (at 6 and 11pm) with R.D. Sahl. However, many of the crew's doubts about the new, impending tabloid style were realized once the format switch was off and running. Most of the station's prominent newscasters wanted nothing to do with Cheatwood (he had a reputation as a pioneer in tabloid television) and promptly resigned.
Rehema Ellis was one of the first to leave WHDH in response to Ansin's changes. Only two months into her promotion to lead anchor, Ellis declared herself a free agent, quickly accepting an offer at NBC News as a national correspondent. She signed off WHDH shortly after Christmas and began at NBC on January 1, 1994. R.D. Sahl was then sole anchor of the 6 and 11pm newscasts, with fill-in anchors from other station positions joining him periodically. The station reinstated a morning newscast in January 1994, which NETV had cut a few years earlier due to the financial constraints. Sunbeam hired two new anchors, Kim Khazei and Gerry Grant, to appear in the morning. Originally from 5 to 7am, the newscast expanded by an extra two hours, to 9am, when WHDH dropped the low-rated CBS This Morning in late February.
During this time, Sahl became quite vocal of his displeasure with the new tabloid format, and within time it was clear that he was looking for a way out of his contract. Cheatwood soon hired a new anchor from Des Moines, Kim Carrigan, who first appeared as female lead anchor alongside Sahl in April 1994. Sunbeam was confident that Carrigan, the 31-year-old newcomer, and the 46-year-old Sahl, by now a trusted Boston news veteran, would be the lasting lead anchor team for them; but, in late July 1994, Sahl had met with his legal counsel and came to an agreement over the termination of his WHDH contract. In the beginning of August, Sahl made his final appearence on 7 News. Carrigan, who was quickly gaining a following, then continued on alone for several weeks at a time for the next four months. This made her the first female newscaster in Boston to anchor alone in the key 5, 6 and 11 p.m. time periods. Occasionally, Carrigan would be joined by Gerry Grant, but as evidenced by station promotions, she was the only permanent late-afternoon/evening anchor at this time. Margie Reedy, meanwhile, remained on 7 News' noon and 5:30 newscasts until her departure that December.
In September 1994, Sahl was hired as an evening news anchor at New England Cable News. Less than a year after settling into NECN's 6pm newscast, Reedy became his colleague once again, originally as the anchor of various newscasts and eventually, in the spring of 1996, as the host of the interview series NewsNight (replacing Lila Orbach, who had also anchored the NECN-produced newscasts for WFXT and WSBK). With the exception of a period from the fall of 1995 to mid-1996, when Sahl left Boston for an ultimately short-lived anchoring stint on KCAL, Reedy and Sahl would remain at NECN together for several more years. The former WHDH anchor team additionally helmed UPN 38 Prime News, NECN's newscast that aired on WSBK, from 1996 to 1998 (which was also anchored by Orbach from 1995-96).
In January 1995, as a result of a package deal WHDH had signed the previous fall, the station saw the arrival of husband-and-wife anchors John Marler and Cathy Marshall. Marler, a long-time anchor at WAGA-TV, joined Kim Carrigan at 5, 6 and 11pm. Marshall, a recent anchor at CNN, was originally unclear as to what her 7 News role would be; upon Margie Reedy's resignation late in 1994, she was named as her replacement at noon and 5:30pm, beside Lester Strong. These two anchoring teams remained in place for the next three years. Former WBZ-TV anchor Randy Price, who had joined WHDH in 1996, first as a freelance reporter and then as a weekday morning anchor, replaced Marler in the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. periods in August 1998.
With the new NBC affiliation in January 1995, the morning newscast was scaled back to the traditional 5-7am time frame in order to accommodate The Today Show. Channel 7, which for several years had already began a tradition of scheduling news in (previously) untraditional time periods, broke further ground again with the addition of a half-hour 4pm newscast in June 1996. Titled 7 News First at 4, it gave Strong and Marshall additional anchor duties. The newscast was launched upon the sudden need to cancel Deco Drive, the WSVN-produced infotainment newsmagazine which had aired in the time period for the previous six months. When Hard Copy, which had been airing at 4:30pm, left the air after a ten-year run in September 1999, WHDH's 4pm newscast expanded to an hour.
The fast-paced Sunbeam news format rejuvenated WHDH's ratings, especially after switching to NBC. For most of the last decade, WHDH has waged a spirited battle for first behind long-dominant WCVB. In 2002, WHDH was noted as having the best newscast in the U.S. in a study published by the Columbia Journalism Review. In previous studies, the station was deemed as having one of the worst newscasts.
The station, in partnership with MetroNetworks, launched the TrafficTracker truck during the Democratic National Convention held in Boston in 2004. With traffic reporter Marshall Hook behind the wheel of one of the station's live vehicles, WHDH became the only station in the market to produce live traffic reports from the road. It continues to launch the TrafficTracker during snowstorms, including the December 13, 2007 storm that resulted in paralyzing commutes that, in some cases, exceeded seven hours.
As of August 2006, WHDH airs the Boston area's only weekday 4 and 4:30 p.m. news. Before this point, WBZ-TV also broadcasted news at this time.
As of December 19, 2006, WHDH has been producing WLVI's nightly 10 p.m. news under the name 7 News at 10 on CW 56.
WHDH shares its resources with WJAR, the NBC affiliate for the state of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts, for news coverage of southeastern Massachusetts. WWLP, the NBC affiliate for Springfield, shares its resources with WHDH for news coverage of western areas of the state.
The station operates a Bell Long Ranger 206L news helicopter entitled "Sky 7". The station's weather radar is presented on-air as "Storm Scan Doppler" with a signal coming from the radar at the National Weather Service local forecast office in Taunton.
On February 29, 2008, it was reported that the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike caused a significant loss in viewers during the late news. WHDH-TV finished at 11pm, with an average of 166,100 total viewers, down from 199,900 viewers in 2007.
On May 23, 2008, the station preempted an appearance of Alan Alda on the daytime show Live With Regis and Kelly to report a minor news event.[clarification needed] Because the news event posed no immediate public threat, the station was criticized for censorship via preemption.
On July 29, 2008, WHDH began doing broadcasts in high definition. It is the second station in Boston to broadcast in high definition, with WCVB-TV being the first. On that day, revised graphics, music, and newsplex also made their debut. During the transition, 7 News was done in front of a green screen showing the former newsplex while the renovations were being done. As of January 11, 2009, sister station WSVN is also broadcasting a high definition newscast.
- Shawmut Bank Newsteller (1948–1949)
- Yankee News Service (1949–1959)
- TV-7 News (1959–1964)
- The Boston 7 Report (1964–1970)
- New England Today/New England Tonight (1970–1972)
- Boston 7 Newsroom (1972–1974)
- Newsroom 7 (1974–1981)
- News 7 (1981-1982 & 1990–1993)
- NEWSE7EN (1982–1984)
- The New England News (1984–1988)
- News 7 New England (1988–1990)
- 7 News (1993–present)
- Looking Good on Channel 7 (1980-1981)
- There's A New Day Dawing (1982-1984)
- We've Got The Touch, WNEV (1985-1986; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Share the Spirit on Channel 7 (1986-1987; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Channel 7 Spirit, Oh Yes (1987-1988; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- You Can Feel it on Channel 7 (1988-1989; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- Get Ready for Channel 7 (1989–1991; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- The Look of Boston is Channel 7 (1991-1992; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- This is CBS, on Channel 7 (1992-1993; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- It's All Right Here on Channel 7 (1993-1994; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- The News Station (1993–present)
- I am WHDH People on Channel 7 (1994-1995; last localized version of CBS ad campaign; before the switch to NBC in 1995)
- Your Newscast (2009–2010)
- More Colorful (2010-present)
Current on-air staffEdit
- Anne Allred - weekday mornings "Today in New England" and noon
- Sorboni Banerjee - weekend mornings; also reporter
- Christa Delcamp - weekdays at 4, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.; also reporter
- Amanda Grace - weekday mornings "Today In New England" reporter
- Dan Hausle - weekend mornings; also reporter
- Kim Khazei - weeknights at 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Matt Lorch - weekdays at 4, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.; also reporter
- Frances Rivera - weeknights at 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Adam Williams - weekday mornings "Today in New England" and noon
- Janet Wu- Weekends at 6,10,11; also reporter
7 Weather Team
- Pete Bouchard (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30, 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Dylan Dreyer (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings "Today in New England" and noon
- Chris Lambert - Meteorologist; weekend mornings
- Jeremy Reiner (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekends at 6, 10, and 11 p.m.
- Joe Amorosino - Sports Director; Sunday-Thursdays at 6, 10, and 11 p.m.; also host of HONDA Sports Xtra
- Larry Ridley - Sports Anchor; Friday-Saturdays at 6, 10, and 11 p.m.
- Rhett Lewis - Sports Anchor; fill-in and sports reporter
- Byron Barnett - also host of Urban Update (Sundays 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)
- Victoria Block
- Tim Caputo
- Steve Cooper
- Linda Ergas
- Jonathan Hall
- Andy Hiller - political reporter ("The Hiller Instinct")
- Nicole Oliverio
- Michelle Relerford,also fill In anchor
- Hank Phillippi Ryan - investigative reporter ("Hank Investigates" & "Help Me Hank")
- Ryan Schulteis
- Susan Tran
- Victoria Warren
- Marshall Hook - weekday afternoons
- Karen Kiley - weekday mornings
- Victoria Provo - weekday morning fill-in
- Jim Ryan - weekday afternoon fill-in
Notable former on-air staff
- Katy Abel - parenting beat reporter (1992–1999)
- Teri Adler - reporter (1997–2005, now working in real estate) )
- Eddie Andelman - sports critic at large (1974–1979)
- Garry Armstrong - reporter (1971–2002)
- Juli Auclair - reporter (2002–2006)
- Caterina Bandini - anchor (1995–2006)
- Susan Banks - anchor (1981–1982; later at WKBW in Buffalo, now retired)
- Amalia Barreda - reporter (1982–1992; now at WCVB)
- Linda Blackman - reporter (1975–1977; now a motivational speaker )
- Barbara Borin - sports (1975–1977)
- Dave Briggs - sports reporter (2004–2008; now at Fox News Channel)
- David Brudnoy - commentator (1973–1983; deceased)
- Susan Burke - anchor/reporter (1981–1983; later at WCVB)
- Chuck Burr - sports anchor
- Liz Callaway - co-host of RTG: Ready To Go
- Terry Casey - fill-in meteorologist and senior weather producer (1994–2007; now at WCVB)
- Kim Carrigan - anchor (1994–2001; now at WFXT)
- Christine Caswell - reporter (1994–2000; now at NECN)
- Tom Chisholm - weather (1987–1995; now at WMTW in Portland, ME)
- Liz Claman - weekend anchor/reporter (1994–2000; now at Fox Business Network)
- Eric Clemons - sports anchor/reporter (1991–1994)
- Jack Cole - anchor (1975–1981; deceased)
- Stephen James Coppersmith - vice president and general manager (1965–1977)
- John Corcoran - arts & entertainment reporter (1985–1989)
- Joe Day - longtime political editor (1982–1993)
- John Dennis - longtime sports anchor (1977–1997, now at WEEI-AM)
- Jeffrey Dederian - reporter (1996–2001; later worked in Rhode Island; sentenced for role in The Station nightclub fire)
- Julie Donaldson - sports reporter (2008; resigned)
- Sid Doherty - sports anchor
- Lovell Dyett - reporter (1980–1983)
- Jack Edwards - sports reporter/anchor (1988–1991; now at NESN)
- Sara Edwards - arts & entertainment reporter (1991–2003; now at CN8)
- Rehema Ellis - weekend anchor/reporter/Urban Update host (1985–1993; now at NBC News)
- Tom Ellis - anchor (1982–1986)
- Debbie Emblom - entertainment reporter (1989–1991; now working for a public relations firm)
- Bob Faw - reporter (1970, now at NBC News)
- Carmen Fields - reporter/host of Higher Ground (1979–1986; now working in public relations for KeySpan)
- Bob Gamere - sports anchor and host of Candlepins for Cash (1975–1982)
- Bob Gallagher - sports anchor
- Gary Gillis - sports anchor/reporter (1983–2004; son of legendary Boston sportscaster Don Gillis)
- Jeff Glor - anchor/reporter (2003–2007; now national correspondent for The Early Show and Saturday anchor of CBS Evening News on CBS)
- Gerry Grant - anchor (1993–1994)
- Grant Greenberg - reporter (2006–2009)
- Todd Gross - chief meteorologist (1984–2005; now at KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City)
- Delores Handy- anchor/reporter (1982–1989; now at WBUR)
- Jan Harrison - reporter (1980–1982)
- Shane Hollett - reporter (1981–1983)
- Peter Henderson - reporter (1987–1994)
- Sean Hennessey - reporter/anchor (1996–2007; now at WCBS-TV in New York)
- John Henning - anchor (1964–1968, 1977–1981; deceased)
- Brad Holbrook - anchor/reporter (1980–1982)
- Melvin Kampmann - news director (1965–1972)
- Tanya Kaye - reporter (c. 1977-1982)
- Kristy Kim - morning anchor/reporter (1997–2001, now Kristy Lee at NECN)
- Nichelle King - weekend anchor/reporter (2005–2007; now at WPTV in West Palm Beach, FL)
- Jim Kelley - sports anchor
- Janet Langhart - special features reporter ("Janet Langhart's Special People" on NEWSE7EN, 1982–1983)
- Matt Lauer - Talk of the Town host (1988; now the co-host of Today on NBC)
- Gene Lavanchy - sports anchor (1993–2003, now at WFXT)
- Mike Lawrence - reporter (1982–1998)
- Mike Leavitt - reporter; Southern MA bureau chief (c. 1977-1982)
- Roy Leonard - anchor (1958–1967)
- Harvey Leonard - longtime chief meteorologist (1977–2002, now at WCVB)
- Peter A. Leone - assistant news director (1965–1972)
- Maurice Lewis - anchor (1972–1979)
- Phil Lipof - anchor/reporter (2001–2006; now at WABC-TV in New York)
- Kate Lurie - weekend anchor/reporter (1998–2000; now a Public Relations consultant)
- Mike Macklin - reporter (1994–2007)
- John Marler - weeknight anchor (1995–1998; part of husband & wife anchor team with Cathy Marshall)
- Mark Margarit - meteorologist (2008-2010)
- Cathy Marshall - anchor (1995–1999; part of wife & husband anchor news team with John Marler)
- Chris May - anchor (until 2006; now at KYW-TV in Philadelphia)
- Darlene McCarthy - noon anchor (1992–1997; later at WLVI-TV)
- Mish Michaels - meteorologist (1992–1999; now at WBZ-TV)
- Charlene Mitchell - reporter (1980–1983)
- Shirley McInerney - reporter (1981–1984)
- Mark Nichols - reporter (1980–1982)
- Wendi Nix - weekend sports anchor (2002–2006; now at ESPN, occasional guest on Sports Extra)
- Miles O'Brien - reporter (1987–1989; now at CNN)
- Ted O'Brien - anchor (1974–1981)
- Bill O'Connell - sports anchor (1982–1984)
- Bill O'Reilly - weekend anchor (1982–1983; now at Fox News Channel)
- Ryan Owens - reporter (2001–2006; now with ABC News, former co-host of World News Now, currently a network correspondent)
- Joe Pellegrino - sports anchor
- Randy Price - anchor (1997–2009; now at WCVB-TV)
- Lauren Przybyl - reporter/anchor (2004–2009; now at KDFW in Dallas-Ft. Worth)
- Paul Reece - reporter (circa 1977-82)
- Scot Reese - former co-host of RTG: Ready To Go
- Margie Reedy - anchor (1990–1993; recently at NECN)
- Mary Richardson - anchor (1978–1980; now at WCVB)
- Angela Rippon - arts & entertainment (1984–1985; returned to the BBC in England)
- Dave Rodman - reporter (1970–1977)
- Brandon Rudat - weekend anchor (2007–2009; now at KTLA in Los Angeles)
- R.D. Sahl - anchor (1983–1994; now at NECN)
- Ron Sanders - reporter (1979–1998; now at WBZ-TV)
- Chuck Scarborough - anchor (1972–1974; now at WNBC in New York)
- David Shelby - reporter (1979–1982)
- Steve Sheppard - reporter (1971–1978; later at ABC News)
- Samantha Stevenson - anchor/reporter (1971–1973)
- Lester Strong - anchor/Urban Update host (1984–2000)
- Kate Sullivan - anchor (1984–1990)
- Mike Taibbi - investigative reporter (1977–1983; now at NBC News)
- Edye Tarbox - anchor/reporter (1990–1992; now E.D. Hill at Fox News Channel)
- Garvin Thomas - reporter (1997–2002; now at KNTV in San Francisco/San Jose, CA)
- Jilda Unruh - investigative reporter (1994–1997)
- Lyn Vaughn - anchor/reporter (1979–1983)
- Dr. Fred Ward - weather (1971–1979)
- Ken Wayne - reporter (1971–1979)
- Mark Wile - Weekend anchor/reporter (1985–1989)
- Diana Williams - anchor (1987–1990; now at WABC-TV in New York)
- Diane Willis - anchor (1983–1986; now in Missouri)
- Chikage Windler - meteorologist (2000–2006; now at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul)
- Dave Wright - anchor (1986–1988; later at CTV Atlantic in Atlantic Canada, now retired)
- Robin Young - anchor (1982–1987; now at WBUR-FM)
- Jay Scott - anchor (1978)
- Stuart Soroka - weather (1972–1979; deceased)
- Craig Stevens - weekend anchor/reporter (1997–1999; now anchor at sister station WSVN-TV in Miami)
- Cynthia Vega - freelance reporter (1998–1999; now at WFAA-TV in Dallas)
- Paula Zahn - anchor/reporter (1983–1985)
WHDH is one of six local Boston television stations seen in Canada on the Bell TV satellite provider. It is also carried via the Anik F1 satellite to several Canadian cable companies, particularly in Atlantic Canada. Other cable systems also carry WHDH, such as Citizens Cable Television in the Thousand Islands region of New York State and Bermuda CableVision.
- ^ "TV High Spots". Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA): pp. 54. 1951-07-29.
- ^ "Weekend Television Programs". Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, NH): pp. 9. 1951-01-06.
- ^ "Television Programs". Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME): pp. 9. 1951-04-07.
- ^ "Daily Guide: Radio & Television". Fitchburg Sentiel (Fitchburg, MA): pp. 19. 1949-09-21.
- ^ http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/jehobden/tvgene.html&date=2009-10-26+00:46:16
- ^ Shneyder, Mark (September 5, 1992). "Re : Infinity buys a another Boston station (fwd)". rec.radio.broadcasting/Google Groups. Retrieved July 8, 2010. "Atlantic Ventures also agreed to buy WHDH(TalkRadio 850AM) which is owned by NewEngland Television Corp(they own a CBS affil,WHDH ch.7 and are having major financial troubles)."
- ^ http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/boston_magazine_breaking_news_1/
- ^ http://web.archive.org/web/19961027015325/nbc.com/entertainment/shows/real/index.html
- ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/09-14-2006/0004433235&EDATE=
- ^ http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/BO109339/
- ^ http://www.tvweek.com/news/2009/04/lenos_hometown_station_whdh_pu.php
- ^ http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2009_04_02_NBC_threatens_WHDH_s_network_affiliation/srvc=home&position=4
- ^ Diaz, Johnny (April 2, 2009). "Channel 7 says no to Leno". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- ^ http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/191207-WHDH_Says_It_Won_t_Run_Leno_.php?rssid=20065
- ^ a b Schneider, Michael (April 3, 2009). "Is WHDH reconsidering Jay Leno?". Variety.com. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- ^ Heslam, Jessica (April 13, 2009). "Channel 7 to broadcast Jay Leno show this fall". Boston Herald. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- ^ http://news.bostonherald.com/jobfind/news/media/view/20100109jay_leno_lead-in_a_joke_whdh_ratings_sink_with_funny_guys_show/srvc=home&position=also
- ^ "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- ^ http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=atscmph
- ^ http://www.mdtvsignalmap.com/
- ^ Krukowski, Andrew (January 26, 2009). "THIS TV Cleared in 60% of U.S.". TelevisionWeek. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ FCC DTV status report for WHDH
- ^ http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/dtvconversion/BO116478/
- ^ http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2009/06/channel_7_has_a.html Channel 7 has a rocky transition
- ^ http://www.hmtech.info/av/dtv-channels.php Tentative Digital Television (DTV) Channel assignment
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-2057A1.pdf
- ^ https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101334941&formid=301&fac_num=72145
- ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/prefill_and_display.pl?Application_id=1370910&Service=DT&Form_id=301&Facility_id=72145
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ Columbia Journalism Review
- ^ Diaz, Johnny (February 29, 2008). "Strike took viewers from late local news". The Boston Globe.
- Gallant, Joseph. WNAC-TV/WNEV-TV/WHDH-TV: The Colorful History of Boston's Channel 7 (February 1998).TheProvidenceChannel.com (now a parked domain).
- LaBrecque, Ron. Can Glitz be Good? - Shaking up news in Boston (July/August 1996). Columbia Journalism Review.
- WHDH-TV (3-27-2005). The Boston TV Dial.