NBC Boston

Scott Fybush scott@fybush.com
Tue Sep 25 13:50:12 EDT 2018

There were reasons, even if they were obscure ones.

For the OTA signal from WBTS-LD, "10.x" was not an option because of WJAR.
13.x was also unavailable because of WGME in Portland, which has a tiny bit
of overlap of its signal into the WBTS coverage area.  I guess WMTW is just
slightly more distant, which is how WBTS got 8.x.

But... Comcast believed (correctly, IMO) that OTA is of only very minor
importance in the Boston market. So the real branding goal was to get a
common identity on cable and satellite across the market.

My recollection is that "8" was not available all across the market on
cable/satellite. But "10" was.

And for all that we freak out about it here, the real world impact of the
Boston/Providence overlap is not so severe. If you live in the Boston TV
market and you're among the 90% or so with cable/satellite, you tune to
"10" and you get NBC Boston. If you get WJAR on your cable at all, it's up
on 96 or 99, not on "10".

If you're in Bristol County, you're not a Boston market viewer. When you
punch in "10" on cable and get WJAR, Comcast doesn't care, because your
viewership doesn't count in the NBC Boston market.

So we're down to the 10% of households that are OTA, and for them Comcast
is buying time until it can finish playing out the long game. WYCN-via-WGBX
and WBTS-LD are stopgap moves until WNEU's full-power signal moves down
from New Hampshire. My assumption is that WBTS will end up channel sharing
on WNEU as 8.x, and that will be the full-power NBC OTA signal, almost at
parity with WBZ/WCVB/WFXT.

Even then, it will still be "NBC10," because the vast majority of its
viewers will see it by punching in "10."

If there's still a bit of confusion among the small percentage of OTA
viewers in the small chunk of the market that gets both WJAR and NBC
Boston, it affects maybe 1-2% of the market's households.  Still not ideal,
but also not very relevant.  If WJAR gets a few eyeballs in Stoughton or
WBTS in Attleboro, neither counts in the ratings anyway... and so nobody's
all that worried.

On Tue, Sep 25, 2018, 1:16 PM Jim Hall <aerie.ma@comcast.net> wrote:

> I wonder if the strange situation of NBC in Boston has happened anywhere
> else in the country? Here we have WBTS-LD operating on Ch 46, with PSIP to
> Ch 8, but sloganing as NBC10, even though a good part of the market can
> pick
> up WJAR-TV. Backed up by WYCN-CD, originally in Nashua and technically
> Class
> A, but now operating at full power by channel sharing with WGBX, from the
> same tower as WBTS-LD. Backed up again by WNEU-DT2 in New Hampshire. Since
> WBTS and WYCN are on the same tower, what's the point of having both of
> them?  And why do they slogan as NBC10 with another Channel 10 forty miles
> away, when they could have used 8 or 13 for their slogan and avoided
> confusion?
> Ditto WYDN from Worcester now channel sharing with WPXG in Concord NH and
> being licensed to Lowell MA.

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