“NBC 10” Comes to Boston…

Branding aside, I strongly am an proponent of “legacy branding”,  I am an avid watcher of NBC Boston despite not watching SuperStore (although that looks funny) or Chicago Fire or whatever. I do watch TV still, on “traditional” means if X1 is considered to be “traditional”. It looks like a streaming platform to me. I watch CBS and ABC shows too. When the local news comes, I will change the dial to whatever applies to me. Because of the NBC’s license and stick, they actually have covered New Hampshire more often than the competition and since WBIN has gone off the air.

 

Welcome NBC 10, or Channel 10 with a CBS O&O looking typeface from 1980?

On January 1st, exactly a year after the switch from the NBC affiliation on WHDH-TV from the Sunbeam company, to an owned and operated signal owned by the network; NBC finally has added a channel number. 10.

In a very heavily cable market, NBC decided that the SD feed would be on most cable systems on Channel 10 and the HD on x10, where the x would be the one hundred ranges of the digital cable system. In most of the northern Comcast systems, the ones that predate Adelphia is on 710, and the legacy ones (like the ones that go back to TCI and Continental Cable) are on 810.

Also this past year, the TV spectrum in Boston has shank like crazy. Because more people are using the Internet to stream (and log up the bandwidth at the same time), that channel positions aren’t really the problem, it’s finding a strong signal.

The problem when NBC assumed it’s affiliation of it’s own network was the stick in Goffstown, NH was not even close to be strong signal to seen right in Somerville/Boston city lines. This goes back to the WGOT days, when the channel once aired a programming service that claimed to be the “Boston affiliate”  NBC bought I believe the old WMFP that used to be the Shop at Home station, and another low powered signal to extend the signal to Boston and points south. With the magic of PSIP, you can spoof the channel from that old rabbit ear spectrum to a channel number that could be viewer friendly.

However with PSIP, you can have interference of getting your respective station. The interference would be if you scanned your TV tuner once, you may hit Channel 8 in Portland Maine, or rescan it another time and get NBC 10, or WJAR-TV in Providence. Last summer NBC was struggling to settle if Channel 8 would work in some areas, and Channel 10 in others, but systematically decided on 10. For an example, if anyone in Foxboro decided to get NBC 10 from Providence, they may be out of luck if they have the antenna pointed the right direction and continue to do so till they get NBC 10 of their choice.


The branding is ironic, because WJAR was bought by NBC in the mid 1990s with the intent to move the stick closer the Boston proper (and in theory screw southern Rhode Island and Southern New Hampshire, almost reversed of the current NBC Boston setup. As previously stated, Ed Ansin’s Sunbeam Corporation kept NBC from pursuing and as a result they felt the former Outlet Broadcasting Stations was a lost cause, and despite a bad reputation for improper use of automated production, NBC 10 in Providence  still logs high ratings.

What came on my notification on Facebook on New Years. I immediately felt it was throwback to their brother market when they were owned by CBS… Cue the PNP in the news music sense?

The logo in itself is an ode to their sister station in Philadelphia, but not reminiscent of the last 20 years that NBC owned WCAU-TV at all. The logo is pretty identical to the days when CBS owned the station. And if you want to read more about that, I had already did an article last year. I find it ironic that this new station is taking odd directions.


Branding aside, I strongly am an proponent of “legacy branding”, and sorry Double Bee Zee Teee Vee in a high pitched, happy voice doesn’t fit this narrative. Remember TV 4 became WBZ 4 when I was 6 and a half, and WBZ was it’s secondary brand. I am an avid watcher of NBC Boston despite not watching SuperStore (although that looks funny) or Chicago Fire or whatever. I do watch TV still, on “traditional” means if X1 is considered to be “traditional”. It looks like a streaming platform to me. I watch CBS and ABC shows too.

When the local news comes, I will change the dial to whatever applies to me. Because of the NBC’s license and stick, they actually have covered New Hampshire more often than the compeition and since WBIN has gone off the air. This plus NECN, being the parent newsroom no longer has a New Hampshire Bureau at The Union Leader.

During the trip in NYC, I watched WABC’s Channel 7 Eyewitness News and 6:30 went to a walk in town because I don’t stand for my homeboy David Muir on World News. (C’mon I grew up in the Peter Jennings days, the shit that gets aired nightly would never fly twenty years ago!)

Typically, network owned stations had Channel 2 News, Channel 7  Eyewitness News and News 4 or sometimes NewsCenter 4. Fox in it’s inception in 1986 started to demphaize call signs as a brand, however WNYW was a strong secondary brand that you would see or hear during those 5 second promos. In Denver, NBC owned KCNC for about a decade after that infamous Big Switch of ’95 impacted them and Philly (full circle). The interesting thing was the call sign stood for Colorado’s News Channel, that was used as the station’s tagline. CBS took over the ownership and wanted to make 2 dozen mini-mes of KCBS or WCBS for their TV stations, till about 2013 they would throw the Colorado’s News Channel tag in some promos. The case for Colorado, was the reporters tag didn’t say “KCNC News 4” like in the case of Boston.

Call signs or local brands can mean various things. When the network heads felt New York reporters should be pimping the network brand during their signoffs and throwbacks to the studio using their 3 letter initals, it was uniformally dissed by the talent, and by the mid 2000s, only about 5 to 10 years, except for CBS, did you hear Channel 7 Eyewitness News and News 4 New York without a network name slapped on set or on some copy.  It’s not to say that Alex Trebek suggests you to watch his show at 7:30 on “ABC 7″… that never went away.


Boston gets stereotyped for being this hip and progressive market, when so many do not live in that city. So many live in Andovers and Merrimacs and Merrimacks in the world. Those people are still accustomed to a channel number. With mobile broadband being in demand, the consumers need for IP based TV programming, and the unintended consequences of the mandatory cutoff of analog TV; it’s giving NBC a rough start in Boston. However NBC’s management style towards the franchise system was unfair during the Bob Wright era, but for their O&O conversions, some had to take very long time for the very same problem – the signal. But 25 years comes around, and stations like Miami worked and became a success. WCAU in Philadelphia has been stronger and aggressive news product.

And what about WHDH? Well 7 News has done just fine, as they probably thank you. Because Channel 7 is an established local news (or you could air quote that) and a brand that is relatable that doesn’t have to bend over backwards to a Peacock, they have a competitive product. Just like WFXT de-Foxing Fox 25, also WCVB-TV the legendary TV station according to the NYT back in the 1980s, and the gawd awful Double Bee Zee Teee Veee, sans the “4” in the branding.

I like competition, it should be embraced because there are plenty of major Top 50 US markets who have duopolies or worse triopoly-LIKE (where one TV station is airing several networks through their sub channels) and the news product isn’t unique to those stations.

If Boston is the media hub, then maybe my theory should be part of that.

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