Is A Miami Sibling The Future Model For WHDH?


On Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, NBC Boston will officially debut.

In an announcement made Tuesday (Nov. 1) from the NBC Owned Television Stations Group, viewers in the Back Bay, Southern New Hampshire and across Northeastern Massachusetts will be seeing the multi-colored peacock fly from Channel 7 to Channel 10 via cable and satellite and Channel 8 or 8.2 via an over-the-air antenna.

That’s the new virtual home for WBTS-LP, the former WTMU-LP 46 — purchased in mid-September for $100,000 by “Station Venture Operations,” which lists NBCUniversal VP/Regulatory Affairs Margaret Tobey as the main contact.

As WBTS prepares for a ramp-up, what does the future hold for WHDH-7, the Sunbeam Television television station that has been Boston’s somewhat cantankerous NBC affiliate since January 1995, swapping its CBS affiliation with WBZ-TV 4?

A look south, to Sunbeam’s WSVN-7 in Miami, may yield many clues.

On New Year’s Day 1989, WSVN lost its NBC affiliation and became a loosely affiliated FOX station with a heavy news brand. Today, WSVN remains one of the market’s dominant stations, never having branded itself as a FOX affiliate while using “The News Station” across its marketing efforts.

Expect WHDH management to use a similar plan for 2017 and beyond.

First up — a 10 p.m. newscast, which WHDH attempted to launch in April 2009. This move would have pre-empted Jay Leno’s unsuccessful prime-time talk and variety show, which NBC vehemently objected to.

WHDH relented. Its 11 p.m. newscast ratings plummeted, while NBC began the legwork for getting an O&O to avoid such high-profile affiliate fights in the future.

Discussion of NBC Boston’s creation first came to light in August 2015.

A visit to WHDH’s website reveals that “7 News Boston” is already downplaying its soon-to-lapse relationship with NBC. NBC News and TODAY show links are on the bottom of the homepage.

The focus is on local news produced by WHDH.

While WSVN has risen to the top of the heap with a sensational, fast-paced newscast that puts the police scanner in the driver’s seat at the assignment desk, free of a 24/7 news source in Miami, the situation is different in Boston.

NBC happens to own NECN, a 24/7 cable news outlet in New England widely available via cable and DBS.

There is also WBZ’s strong news operation on radio and TV.

Sunbeam is helmed by 80-year-old Miami Beach resident Ed Ansin.

A request for comment from WHDH management was not responded to by deadline.

Meanwhile, WBTS is starting on Nov. 10 a “Countdown NBC Boston” channel for viewers using over-the-air antennas.

On New Year’s Eve, “Countdown NBC Boston” will feature a full night of First Night Boston coverage live from Copley Square.

NBC Boston’s local news lineup will look like this:

NBC Boston Today (4:30-7AM)
Nick Emmons, anchor
Melody Mendez, anchor
Matt Noyes, chief meteorologist
Natasha Verma, traffic anchor
Latoyia Edwards, breaking news anchor

NBC Boston Now (Noon)
Brian Shactman, anchor
Latoyia Edwards, anchor
Michael Page, meteorologist

NBC Boston at 4 (4PM)
Joy Lim Nakrin, anchor
Shannon Mulaire, anchor
Pete Bouchard, meteorologist

NBC Boston at 5 (5PM)
Chris Emma, anchor
Audrey Asistio, anchor
Pete Bouchard, meteorologist

NBC Boston at 6 (6PM) and NBC Boston Tonight (11PM)
Phil Lipof, anchor
Shannon Mulaire, anchor
Pete Bouchard, meteorologist
Raul Martinez, sports anchor

NBC Boston at 7 (7PM)
Phil Lipof, anchor
Joy Lim Nakrin, anchor
Pete Bouchard, meteorologist
Raul Martinez, sports anchor

Weekend Morning News Team
Jeff Saperstone, anchor
Desiree Wiley, anchor
Jackie Layer, meteorologist

Weekend Evening News Team
Kristy Lee, anchor
Frank Holland, anchor
Chris Gloninger, meteorologist

NBC Boston will also premiere an all new daily lifestyle program, The Hub Today, which will air weekdays at 12:30 p.m. and focus on the top fashion, food and travel stories of the day.

On Sunday morning, new public affairs program This is New England, will feature a panel of newsmakers from around the region discussing local issues.

Daytime syndicated programming locked in to NBC Boston includes Rachael Ray, Access Hollywood Live, and Harry.