Saturday, January 9, 2016

NBC to Replace WHDH Channel 7: Southeastern Massachusetts Needs to Speak Up

NBC Universal, a subsidiary of Comcast, recently announced it will end its relationship with Boston’s WHDH-TV Channel 7 and substitute a network-owned station beginning in 2017. This change could have a major negative effect on households on Cape Cod and in Southeastern Massachusetts that now receive NBC network programming over the air using antennas, or may desire to in the future. Regional government representatives and community organizations need to understand the potential impact of the NBC change and attempt to influence the outcome.

Sunbeam Television Corp. owns WHDH. President Ed Ansin has said he intends to contest the change with the Federal Communications Commission. Ansin’s argument appears to be that Comcast made commitments as part of its FCC-approved purchase of NBC Universal. He may argue that if Comcast uses NBC-owned WNEU-TV Channel 60 in southern New Hampshire to replace WHDH, with the signal reaching half the audience, this may violate commitments Comcast made before the FCC.