Boston and ABC Radio

Scott Fybush
Mon May 17 09:45:23 EDT 2010

On 5/17/2010 2:03 AM, A. Joseph Ross wrote:

> As I recall, WHDH-TV 5 was already a CBS affiliate when the WNAC-TV
> swap was being discussed, which would have put ABC on channel 4.
> Presumably, after the changeover to WCVB in 1972, CBS would still
> have wanted to change its affiliation to a more established station.

It was more complicated than that. WHDH-TV came on in 1957 with ABC, 
which left WNAC-TV (which had been dual CBS/ABC) with just CBS. The two 
stations swapped affiliations on January 1, 1961, which may apparently 
have been a side effect of WNAC's attempted sale - CBS wanted the 
stability of a big-market affiliate that wasn't being sold, and 
especially to a rival network.

In any event, it seems safe to say that the field was wide open at that 
point, and if Westinghouse had sought a deal with CBS for channel 4, it 
probably could have arranged one.

At the same time, Westinghouse circa 1960 was a questionable prize for 
any of the big 3 networks. This was the pre-Group W era when it was 
"WBC," the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, and they thought of 
themselves as practically a fourth network, with no compunction about 
preempting a network offering for something local or generated from 
elsewhere in the Westinghouse empire. So the same desire for a stable, 
full-clearance affiliate that drove CBS from channel 5 to channel 7 in 
1972 might well have driven CBS *to* channel 5 in 1961.

>> And NBC wouldn't have owned WJIB if it already had WNAC-FM, either.
> NBC owned WJIB?

Yes, if briefly - when GE bought NBC in 1986, what was left of General 
Electric Broadcasting was merged into NBC, and that included WJIB. It 
didn't last all that long; WJIB was sold to Emmis in 1988 along with 
most of the rest of NBC Radio.

But if NBC had acquired WNAC radio/TV in 1960, and if it had hung on to 
the radio/TV combo into the eighties, there would have to have been a 
divestiture of either WJIB or of WNAC-FM (which probably wouldn't have 
become WROR!) when GE bought NBC.


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