NBC is about to be a lot harder to get in Boston for antenna users. NBC announced that they are ending their affiliate relationship with WHDHTV at the end of 2016.
Station owner Ed Ansin says he’s fighting to keep that from happening.
“We intend to contest NBC’s plans,” said Ansin.
NBC plans to move over to WNEU, based in Merrimack, New Hampshire, but the new station only covers half of Boston and leaves many suburbs, such as Norweel and Natck, without NBC.
“They have the right to buy a station, change affiliation. That’s their privilege. They don’t have a right to violate the agreement between Comcast and NBC and the affiliates, and the government,” Ansin said. “This is clearly not in the public interest. They will have half the coverage area of Channel 7. They will reach less than half of the population.”
The loss of NBC even has the attention of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “One of my concerns is that it’s unclear of what the future of NBC will be in the city of Boston,” Walsh said. “If it’s going to be part of a package where people have to pay for it. Right now it’s free.”
The office of Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, released this statement: “As a long-time supporter of universal service and free, over-the-air local broadcasting, Senator Markey intends to closely scrutinize the impacts any deal could have on viewers in Massachusetts.”
“We don’t want to see a day when there’s a kid in Brockton, a poor kid, that wants to watch the Patriots on a Sunday night, and they don’t have access to NBC for free on their local television station and they don’t subscribe to cable,” Markey said. “We have to make sure that that kid and every adult in our region has access to free over-the-air television, universal.”
Have no fear about losing WHDH. Ansin says if NBC succeeds in separating again, viewers can be sure WHDH and 7News will more than survive.
“I continue to believe that our agreement’s going to get extended but in the event it does not, Channel 7 News is still going to flourish, still going to be the News Station in Boston, still going to have outstanding coverage,” Ansin said. “We’re going to continue to innovate, going to have exciting newscasts.”
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