WNBC

WNBC, virtual channel 4 (digital channel 36 (sharing with WNJU)), is the flagship station of the NBC television network, licensed to New York City and serving the New York metropolitan area. It is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal and operates as part of a television duopoly with WNJU (channel 47). WNBC's studios are co-located with NBC's corporate headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan and its transmitter is located at One World Trade Center. WNBC holds the distinction as the oldest continuously operating commercial television station in the United States.

In the few areas of the eastern United States where an NBC station is not receivable over-the-air, WNBC is available on satellite via DirecTV. It is also carried on Dish Network and certain cable providers in markets where an NBC affiliate is unavailable. The station is also carried via WKAQ-DT3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. DirecTV also allows subscribers in Greater Los Angeles to receive WNBC for an additional monthly fee.[2]

WNBC
WNBC 4 NY
New York, New York
United States
BrandingNBC 4 New York or NBC 4 NY (general)
NBC 4 or 4 New York (secondary)
News 4 New York (newscasts)
News 4 (newscasts, secondary)
SloganTogether, We're 4 New York (general)
We Are New York (secondary)
The Now (Is Here) (news)
ChannelsDigital: 36 (UHF)
(sharing with WNJU; later move to 35 (UHF))
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
SubchannelsSee § Digital channels
AffiliationsNBC (O&O)[1]
OwnerNBCUniversal
(NBC Telemundo Licensing LLC)
FoundedJuly 1, 1928
(as experimental station W2XBS)
First air dateJuly 1, 1941
Call letters' meaningW National Broadcasting Company
Sister station(s)WNJU
Former callsignsWNBT (1941–1954)
WRCA-TV (1954–1960)
WNBC-TV (1960–1992)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
1 (VHF (1938–1946)
4 (VHF, 1946–2009)
Digital:
28 (UHF, 1999–2018)
Transmitter power200.2 kW
Height397 m (1,302 ft)
Facility ID47535
Transmitter coordinates40°44′54.4″N 73°59′8.4″W / 40.748444°N 73.985667°WCoordinates: 40°44′54.4″N 73°59′8.4″W / 40.748444°N 73.985667°W
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile
CDBS
Websitewww.nbcnewyork.com

History

Experimental operations

First television broadcast NBC
The Felix the Cat doll used by NBC in early television experiments.

What is now WNBC traces its history to experimental station W2XBS, founded by the Radio Corporation of America (a co-founder of the National Broadcasting Company), in 1928, just two years after NBC was founded as the first nationwide radio network. Originally a test bed for the experimental RCA Photophone theater television system, W2XBS used the low-definition mechanical television scanning system, and later was used mostly for reception and interference tests. The call letters W2XBS meant W2XB-south, with W2XB being the call letters of the first experimental station, started a few months earlier at General Electric's main factory in Schenectady, New York, which evolved into today's WRGB. GE was the parent company of both RCA and NBC, and technical research was done at the Schenectady plant.

The station originally broadcast on the frequencies of 2.0 to 2.1 megahertz. In 1929, W2XBS upgraded its transmitter and broadcast facilities to handle transmissions of sixty vertical lines at twenty frames per second, on the frequencies of 2.75 to 2.85 megahertz. In 1928, Felix the Cat was one of the first images ever broadcast by television when RCA chose a papier-mâché (later Bakelite) Felix doll for an experimental broadcast on W2XBS. The doll was chosen for its tonal contrast and its ability to withstand the intense lights needed in early television and was placed on a rotating phonograph turntable and televised for about two hours each day. The doll remained on the turntable for nearly a decade as RCA fine-tuned the picture's definition, and converted to electronic television.[3]

First television play NBC 1936
Eddie Albert and Grace Brandt apply makeup for the first television broadcast of a play (November 1936).

The station left the air sometime in 1933 as RCA turned its attention to all-electronic cathode ray tube (CRT) television research at its Camden, New Jersey facility, under the leadership of Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin.

In 1935, the all-electronic CRT system was authorized as a "field test" project and NBC converted a radio studio in the RCA Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center for television use. In mid-1936, small-scale, irregularly scheduled programming began to air to an audience of some 75 receivers in the homes of high-level RCA staff, and a dozen or so sets in a closed circuit viewing room in 52nd-floor offices of the RCA Building. The viewing room often hosted visiting organizations or corporate guests, who saw a live program produced in the studios many floors below.

Viewership of early NBC broadcasts was tightly restricted to those authorized by the company, whose installed set base eventually reached about 200. Technical standards for television broadcasting were in flux as well. Between the time experimental transmissions began in 1935 and the beginning of commercial television service in 1941, picture definition increased from 343 to 441 lines, and finally (in 1941) to the 525-line standard used for analog television from the start of full commercial service until the end of analog broadcasts in mid-2009. The sound signal also was changed from AM to FM, and the spacing of sound and vision carriers was also changed several times. Shortly after NBC began a semi-regular television transmission schedule in 1938, DuMont Laboratories announced TV sets for sale to the public, a move that RCA was saving for the opening of the World's Fair on April 30, 1939, the day that regularly scheduled television programming was to begin in New York on NBC with much fanfare. In response, NBC ceased all TV broadcasting for several weeks until RCA sets went on sale and regular NBC telecasts commenced the day the fair opened.

Firsts for W2XBS

As W2XBS broadcasting on "Channel 1" (44-50 MHz), the station scored numerous "firsts", including the first televised Broadway drama (June 1938), live news event covered by mobile unit (a fire in an abandoned building in November 1938), live telecast of a Presidential speech (Franklin D. Roosevelt opening the 1939 New York World's Fair),[4] the first live telecasts of college and Major League Baseball (both in 1939), the first telecast of a National Football League game (also in 1939), the first telecast of a National Hockey League game (early 1940), the first network (multi-city) telecast of a political convention (the 1940 Republican National Convention, held June 24–28 in the Philadelphia Civic Center) seen also on W3XE Philadelphia (now KYW-TV) and W2XB Schenectady, NY (now WRGB), and the broadcast of the feature film The Crooked Circle on June 18, 1940.[5]

But in August 1940, W2XBS transmissions were temporarily put on hold, as "Channel 1" was reassigned by the FCC to 50-56 MHz and technical adjustments needed to be made for the conversion. The station returned to the air in October, just in time to broadcast Franklin D. Roosevelt's second and final appearance on live television, when his speech at Madison Square Garden on October 28, 1940 was telecast over W2XBS.[6]

First commercial television station

On June 24, 1941, W2XBS received a commercial license under the calls WNBT (for "NBC Television"), thus becoming one of the first two fully licensed commercial television stations in the United States, along with CBS' W2XAB on channel 2, which became WCBW. The NBC and CBS stations were licensed and instructed to sign on simultaneously on July 1 so that neither of the major broadcast companies could claim exclusively to be "first." However, WNBT signed on at 1:30 p.m., one full hour before WCBW. As a result, WNBC (and essentially, NBC) inadvertently holds the distinction as the oldest continuously operating commercial television station (and television network, respectively) in the United States, and also the only one ready to accept sponsors from its beginning.[7] The first program broadcast at 1:00 EST by the sign-on/opening ceremony with the national anthem of the United States of America "The Star-Spangled Banner", followed by an announcement of that day's programs and the commencement of NBC television programming.

WNBT originally broadcast on channel 1.[8] On its first day on the air, WNBT broadcast the world's first official television advertisement before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The announcement for Bulova watches, for which the company paid anywhere from $4.00 to $9.00 (reports vary), displayed a WNBT test pattern modified to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase "Bulova Watch Time", was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one minute.[9][10]

Although full commercial telecasting began on July 1, 1941 with the first paid advertisements on WNBT, there had been experimental, non-paid advertising on television as far back as 1930. NBC's earliest non-paid, television commercials may have been those seen during the first Major League Baseball game ever telecast, a game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds, on August 26, 1939 over W2XBS. In order to secure the rights to show the game on television, NBC allowed each of the Dodgers' regular radio sponsors at the time to have one commercial during the telecast, and these were done by Dodger announcer Red Barber. For Ivory Soap, he held up a bar of the product, for Mobil gas he put on a filling station attendant's cap while giving his spiel, and for Wheaties he poured a bowl of the product, added milk and bananas, and took a big spoonful.[11]

The pioneering special interest/documentary show The Voice of Firestone Televues, a television offshoot of The Voice of Firestone, a mainstay on NBC radio since 1928, became the first regularly scheduled TV program not featuring news or sports, when it began on WNBT on November 29, 1943 (though a one-time-only, trial episode of Truth or Consequences aired on WNBT's first week of programming two years earlier; it eventually returned to TV in the 1950s).

During World War II, RCA diverted key technical TV staff to the U.S. Navy, who were interested in developing a television-guided bomb. WNBT's studio and program staff were placed at the disposal of the New York City Police Department and used for civil defense training telecasts, with only a limited number of weekly programs for general audiences airing during much of the war. Programming began to grow on a small scale during 1944. On April 10, 1944, WNBT began feeding The Voice of Firestone Televues each week to a small network of stations including General Electric's Schenectady station (now called WRGB) and Philco-owned WPTZ (now KYW-TV) in Philadelphia,[12] both of which are now affiliated with CBS. This series is considered to be the NBC Television Network's first regularly scheduled program.

On May 8, 1945, WNBT broadcast hours of news coverage on the end of World War II in Europe, and remotes from around New York City. This event was pre-promoted by NBC with a direct-mail card sent to television set owners in the New York City area.[13] At one point, a WNBT camera placed atop the marquee of the Astor Hotel in New York City panned the crowd below celebrating the end of the war in Europe.[14] The vivid coverage was a prelude to television's rapid growth after the war ended. In the spring of 1946, the station changed its frequency from VHF channel 1 to channel 4 after channel 1 was removed from use for television broadcasting. From 1946 to 2009, it occupied the 66–72 MHz band of frequencies which had been designated as "channel 3" in the pre-1946 FCC allocation table but was renumbered Channel 4 in the post-war system (DuMont-owned WABD, now WNYW—had been designated as "Channel 4", before that station moved to the current channel 5 but was only required to retune its video and audio carriers downward by 2 MHz under the new system). In October 1948, WNBT's operations were integrated with those of sister station WNBC radio (660 AM).

The station changed its call letters on October 18, 1954, to WRCA-TV (for NBC's then-parent company, Radio Corporation of America or RCA)[15] and on May 22, 1960, channel 4 became WNBC-TV.[16][17][18] NBC had previously used the callsign on its television station in New Britain, Connecticut, from 1957 until it was sold earlier in 1960 (that station is now WVIT, and is once again an NBC-owned station). WNBC-TV also earned a place in broadcasting history as the birthplace of The Tonight Show. It began on the station in 1953 as a local late night program, The Steve Allen Show and NBC executive Sylvester "Pat" Weaver brought it to the network in 1954. Studio 6B, the show's home under Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and today Jimmy Fallon, was the news studio for WNBC while Tonight was produced in Los Angeles.

On June 1, 1992, channel 4 dropped the -TV suffix from its call letters (following the sale in 1988 of its sister radio station WNBC, which is now WFAN) and became simply WNBC, with the new branding slogan "4 New York". The accompanying station image campaign was titled We're 4 New York and featured a musical theme composed by Edd Kalehoff. WNBC was rebranded again as "NBC 4" on September 5, 1995, with its newscasts being renamed NewsChannel 4. In March 2008, the "4 New York" branding was revived.

During the September 11, 2001, attacks, the transmitter facilities of WNBC, as well as eight other New York City area television stations and several radio stations, were destroyed when two hijacked airplanes crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center. WNBC broadcast engineer Bill Steckman died in the tragedy, along with six other engineers from other television stations. In the immediate aftermath, the station temporarily fed its signal to three UHF stations that were still broadcasting (PBS member station WLIW and independent stations WMBC and W26CE).[19] After resuming over-the-air transmissions, the station broadcast from the former transmitter site of Channel 68 in West Orange, New Jersey. Since 2005, WNBC has broadcast its signal from the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan, returning to the original transmitter site used from the 1930s to the 1970s. On May 9, 2017, it was announced that WNBC would return broadcasting from the top of the World Trade Center at One World Trade Center by the end of the year.[20]

In 2004, WNBC served as the model station for NBC Weather Plus, a 24-hour digital weather channel that aired on its second digital subchannel (4.2) and on several local cable systems; other NBC-owned stations launched their own Weather Plus channels in 2005, although Weather Plus was phased out at the end of 2008.

In February 2015, WNBC and the other NBC-owned stations offered live, web-based streaming of programming to subscribers of participating cable and satellite television providers, as provided through the TV Everywhere Mobile Apps.[21]

Carriage disputes

Dish Network

On March 15, 2016, NBCUniversal pulled the signals of WNBC and WNJU along with co-owned cable channels USA Network, Bravo, Syfy, MSNBC and CNBC from Dish Network systems in the New York metropolitan area as a result of a dispute between NBC and Dish; despite that, Dish claimed NBCUniversal had demanded that it renew its carriage of ten NBC-owned stations and sixteen Telemundo-owned stations, including those removed due to the dispute.[22] Three days later, Dish announced it would continue to carry WNBC, WNJU and five other cable channels for another ten days while the FCC sought arbitration.[23]

Digital television

NBC NY Nonstop
Former New York Nonstop logo from 2011-2012.

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[1]
4.1 1080i 16:9 WNBC Main WNBC programming / NBC
4.2 480i COZI-TV Cozi TV

On December 20, 2012, WNBC and other NBC-owned stations began carrying Cozi TV. It replaced NBC (New York) Nonstop, which had been carried on digital subchannel 4.2 since 2009.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WNBC discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, at 12:30 p.m. on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television.[24] The station's digital signal remained on its transition period UHF channel 28,[25] using PSIP to display WNBC's virtual channel as 4 on digital television receivers.

As part of the SAFER Act,[26] WNBC kept its analog signal on the air until June 26 to inform viewers of the digital television transition.

Spectrum reallocation

On April 13, 2017, it was revealed that WNBC's over-the-air spectrum had been sold in the FCC's spectrum reallocation auction, fetching $214 million.[27] As a result, WNBC's signal will be co-located with that of sister station WNJU, which re-located their transmitter to the new One World Trade Center in 2017. NBC had won similar spectrum bids using Telemundo stations in Chicago and Philadelphia (which will be in similar arrangements with NBC O&Os WMAQ-TV and WCAU), but stated that in this case, the Telemundo station had a superior signal.[28]

WNBC ceased broadcasting on UHF digital channel 28 from the Empire State Building on April 2, 2018, in favor of the shared broadcast with WNJU on channel 36 from One World Trade Center.[29]

Programming

WNBC has long presented events such as the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (until 2006, when coverage moved to WNYW and currently WABC-TV), the Columbus Day Parade (Until 2010, when coverage moved to WABC-TV), and the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. They have sponsored an annual two-day Health & Fitness Expo Fair at MetLife Stadium every summer. The station has sponsored a Food Drive together with local retailer Stop & Shop named "Feeding Our Families" which has been held on the second Saturday in April since 2017. Beginning in 1995, they were the exclusive local English-language carrier of the annual New York City Marathon until 2013 when WABC-TV took over. From 2010 to 2014, the station was an official local broadcast partner of Discovery Times Square. From 2012 to 2014, the station along with the New York Daily News had partnerships with Mount Sinai Health System, Live Well New York and Popular Community Bank (Popular Tips). The station, along with Maury Povich and Fox owned-and-operated WNYW, co-funded the 1998 PBS documentary NY TV: By the People Who Made It produced by WNET. During the Holiday Season, the station has an annual Holiday Sing-Along. The station also produces Visiones, a weekly segment about Hispanic culture, that also airs in Spanish on sister Telemundo station WNJU, and Positively Black, a weekly segment about Black American culture.

Because of its ownership by the network, WNBC generally carries the entire NBC network schedule, although the station does not clear the entirety of NBC's weekday overnight lineup – opting to air syndicated programming instead. As of September 2016, WNBC is one of five NBC-owned stations that distributes programming either nationally and/or regionally (along with KNTV, KNBC, WCAU, WVIT and WTVJ).

Through NBC's coverage of the National Football League, WNBC has televised the Super Bowl with New York teams which have occurred in the television era; with the Jets' upset victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, and the Giants' win in Super Bowl XLVI. WNBC also serves as the official flagship carrier of Giants pre-season football games and is the New York area station for its national broadcasts of Sunday Night Football on NBC featuring either one of the two teams.

Even as the station became the first to broadcast Major League Baseball games in 1939 as already mentioned (with the pioneer broadcast being that of a August 26 doubleheader at Ebbets Field between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds), it does not have any broadcasts today, since they are currently on WNYW and WPIX during the season, baseball broadcasts are expected to return to the channel in 2020 as part of the network-wide coverage of the baseball events of the 2020 Summer Olympics, with on air news updates during the duration of the event.

News operation

WNBC currently broadcasts 40 hours, 25 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6 hours, 35 minutes on weekdays, 3 hours on Saturdays and 4½ hours on Sundays); in addition, the station produces the half-hour sports highlight program Sports Final, which airs every Sunday after the hour-long 11:00 p.m. newscast.

From the late 1960s through the 1980s, WNBC was involved in a fierce three-way battle with WCBS-TV and WABC-TV for the top spot in the New York television ratings. This continued during a lean period for NBC as a whole. WNBC's hallmark over the years has been strong coverage of breaking stories and straight news products that also feature light-hearted and/or entertainment elements (such as Live at Five and Today in New York). Many of WNBC's personalities have been at the station for over 20 years. Chuck Scarborough has been the station's main anchor since 1974. From 1980-2012, he was teamed with Sue Simmons at 11 p.m., and the two were the longest-serving anchor team in New York City television history. Senior correspondent Gabe Pressman was at the station from 1956 until his death in 2017, except for a seven-year stint (from 1972 -1979) at WNEW-TV (now WNYW).

WNBC-TV was the first major-market station in the country to have success with a 5 p.m. newscast, adding that program to its Sixth Hour show at 6 p.m. in 1974 and renaming all of its local newscasts NewsCenter 4 (three other NBC owned-and-operated stations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, also adopted the NewsCenter name). The moniker remained until September 1, 1980, when the newscasts were renamed News 4 New York. Shortly before then the 5 p.m. program was renamed Live at Five, and the hour was reformatted from a straight news program into a mix of news and celebrity interviews. Live at Five eventually became the most-successful local program in New York City, a feat that resulted in landing the show's hosts on the cover of New York magazine.

For most of the time from 1980-1990, WNBC-TV used various themes written by Scott Schreer.[30] His theme for News 4 New York was based on a synthesized version of the NBC chimes, with a graphics package featuring a lightning bolt striking its logo from 1980 to 1990, a fancy die-cut "4". In 1992, the station began calling itself 4 New York and the campaign song, written by Edd Kalehoff, was quickly adopted as the theme for the newscast. The theme was briefly brought back after the September 11 attacks in 2001. In 1995, after the station rebranded itself as "NBC 4" and its newscasts as Newschannel 4, Kalehoff wrote a new theme called "NBC Stations" featuring the NBC chimes, the chime sequence being the musical notes G-E-C. It remained in use for eight years, along with a graphics package using a simple red line for the lower thirds.

The 2003 graphics package was created by Emmy Award-winner Randy Pyburn of Pyburn Films. Pyburn has produced several promotions for the station and the now-defunct Jane's New York specials hosted by former WNBC reporter Jane Hanson. The graphics package was also used on other NBC stations. The music was written by Rampage Music and featured a brassy version of the NBC chimes, and lower thirds featured a shimmering peacock (fellow NBC O&O KNTV adopted the theme in 2007 and currently uses the same four tone variant of LA Groove used by WNBC). In March 2008, concurrent with the restoration of the 4 New York branding, the newscasts began to be called News 4 New York once more.[31]

Many WNBC personalities have appeared, and have also moved up to the NBC network, including: Marv Albert, Len Berman, Contessa Brewer, Chris Cimino, Fran Charles, Darlene Rodriguez, Maurice DuBois, Joelle Garguilo, Michael Gargiulo, Tony Guida, Jim Hartz, Janice Huff, Matt Lauer, Tom Llamas, Al Roker, Shiba Russell, Scarborough and Tom Snyder. In the past, Albert, Berman, Brewer, Charles, DuBois, Guida, Hartz, Roker, Lauer, Llamas, Russell, Scarborough and Snyder have worked at WNBC 4 New York and at NBC at the same time. Rodriguez, Cimino, Huff, Garguilo and Gargiulo currently do them both. One popular monthly feature is Berman's "Spanning the World", a reel of odd and interesting sports highlights from the past month, including a recorded introduction and closing by legendary NBC staff announcer Don Pardo. This segment airs on Today on a monthly basis.

When Simmons joined the station in early 1980, she was paired with Scarborough on both the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. However, for most of the time until 2005, WNBC's weeknight anchor rotation had Simmons and another male anchor (including Jack Cafferty, Guida, Lauer, and briefly Scarborough) at 5 p.m.; Scarborough and various anchors (John Hambrick, Pat Harper, and Michele Marsh among them) at 6 p.m.; and Scarborough and Simmons together at 11 p.m. That changed in 2005 as Live at Five anchor Jim Rosenfield jumped back to WCBS-TV, where he had once been the noon and 5 p.m. anchor and took on the role as lead anchor for their 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Former reporter Perri Peltz returned to WNBC to co-anchor Live at Five with Simmons, making New York City one of the few large markets with two female anchors on an evening newscast. The move harkened back to three decades earlier, when the station paired Pia Lindström with Melba Tolliver on its 5 p.m. news hour, creating one of the first all-female anchor teams on a major-market American television station.[32] It was short-lived as Simmons and Peltz were both displaced from Live at Five because of changes in the station's early evening news lineup that went into effect on March 12, 2007: David Ushery and Lynda Baquero became co-anchors of a truncated, 30-minute-long Live at Five broadcast, followed by Peltz with a 30-minute, soft-news program, News 4 You. Simmons was moved to co-anchor at 6 p.m. with Scarborough. On September 13, 2006, WNBC became the first New York City television station to broadcast its newscasts in high definition. On May 5, 2007, WNBC brought back its popular campaign song "We're 4 New York", composed by Kalehoff, after nearly six years off air (after the September 11, 2001, attacks).[33]

In early autumn 2007, additional changes were brought to WNBC's early-evening lineup. On September 10, the station moved the newsmagazine series Extra to 5 p.m., and cancelled Live at Five. News 4 You remained at 5:30 p.m., but was replaced on October 15, 2007 with a traditional newscast, anchored by Simmons and Michael Gargiulo. The 6 p.m. newscast became anchored by Ushery and Baquero, and New York Nightly News, a new half-hour newscast with Scarborough as sole anchor, debuted at 7 p.m.

These changes did not result to an increase in WNBC's ratings in the November 2007 sweeps period, partially because of the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. The most shocking of WNBC's ratings decreases was its 11 p.m. newscast, which fell to third place, behind WCBS and WABC.[34] WNBC altered its 5:00-6:00 p.m. hour on January 2, 2008, swapping the half-hour news at 5:30 with Extra. On March 9, 2009, with the launch of New York Nonstop on digital subchannel 4.2, New York Nightly News was moved to the subchannel and expanded to one hour, while Extra was moved back to 7 p.m. and a full hour of news returned to the 5 p.m. hour. Still, WNBC's ratings struggled: during the March 2009 sweeps period, its newscasts were a distant third in all time slots, except during the weekday mornings, where it remained in second.

On May 7, 2008, NBC Universal announced plans for a major restructuring of WNBC's news department. The centerpiece of the restructuring was the creation of a 24-hour all-news channel on WNBC's second digital subchannel (4.2). Channel 4's news operations were revamped and melded into the all-news channel, which serve as a "content center" for the station's various local distribution platforms. The digital news channel was launched on March 9, 2009. In the fall of 2008, WNBC started beta-testing a new website which was apparently poised to be one of the major platforms for the content center. On November 17, 2008, WNBC moved its news studio from Studio 6B to 7E and rolled out a new set design, graphics package and theme song written by veteran TV composer Frank Gari. This move came after months of planning of the new content newsroom with its 24-hour news digital subchannel. It was also their debut of the updated "4 New York" logo, using letters in Media Gothic Bold font and the "New York" wording was switched from its script font to All caps font, which is designed by Brit Redden of Modal Pictures.[35]

On June 16, 2009, WNBC announced that its 5 p.m. newscast would be replaced in September by a one-hour daily lifestyle and entertainment show by LXTV entitled LX New York. After this change, WNBC, with only three hours per day of local news, had the shortest airtime devoted to local news of any "big three" network-owned station. In the fall of 2009, WNBC began sharing its news helicopter with Fox owned-and-operated WNYW (channel 5) as part of a Local News Service agreement. The SkyFox HD helicopter operated by WNYW when used by WNBC was called "Chopper 4" on-air. This agreement ended in 2012, with WNBC returning to use its own helicopter upon the expiration of the contract.[36] In the summer of 2010, The Debrief with David Ushery began to air on Sunday at noon on WNBC after launching on New York Nonstop; it now airs Sunday mornings at 5:30 a.m.

WNBC NY Nonstop Logo
Past logo for WNBC's New York Nonstop from 2009-2011.

LX New York was renamed to New York Live on May 26, 2011. The program was set to move to 3 p.m. on September 12, 2011; at that time, WNBC would resume airing a 5 p.m. newscast.[37] However, due to Hurricane Irene, the 5 p.m. newscast's start date was moved up to August 29, 2011, with New York Live moving to its new 3 p.m. slot then.[38] On November 18, 2011, WNBC launched a noon newscast that replaced The Rundown with Russell and Llamas as the anchors.[39]

In December 2011, WNBC struck a news partnership with nonprofit news-reporting organization ProPublica. The organization, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010, has already had partnerships with several media outlets including USA Today, Reader's Digest, HuffPost and Businessweek. However, ProPublica's reports are incorporated across all NBC O&O stations, not just WNBC. This is part of larger efforts for NBCUniversal's television stations to partner with nonprofit news organizations following its acquisition by Comcast.[40]

WNBC relocated from Studio 7E to Studio 3C (the studio previously used by NBC Nightly News, which now originates from Studio 3B) on April 21, 2012. Channel 4 also updated its graphics and switched to the "L.A. Groove" theme that has been in use by sister station KNBC.[41] On June 15, 2012, Sue Simmons left WNBC as her contract with the station had not been renewed.[42] In January 2013, the station expanded its Sunday 11 p.m. newscasts to one hour, possibly to compete with WABC who expanded its late news in January 2012.[43]

On June 6, 2016, WNBC revamped its website. On June 11, 2016, beginning with the 11 p.m. newscast, its news graphics were also changed and it began using "Look N" graphics from NBC Artworks, becoming the first NBC-owned station to use the new graphics that were rolled out to other NBC-owned stations around this time. On June 13 of the same year, the station debuted its 4 p.m. newscast, thus becoming the second New York television station to expand its newscasts to that time period after WABC-TV (which had their 4 p.m. newscasts since May 2011).[44]

On October 10, 2016, WNBC relocated from studio 3C to studio 3K (the studio also used by Dateline NBC and sister cable network MSNBC), which bears similarities to the previous set in 3C, albeit a lot larger in size and with several changes (i.e. a new weather center area, a touchscreen display similar to Today's Orange Room, an LED wall, and a work space and presentation pod).[45] In fall 2016, WNBC entered a content-sharing agreement with WOR (AM) to include news and weather content supplied by the station; WNBC's weather content is also heard on other iHeartMedia radio stations throughout the New York metropolitan area. On December 21, 2016, WNBC announced that it would be launching a new S band radar system, called "Storm Tracker 4", which is planned to launch in winter 2017.[46] On December 27, 2016, the station announced that they would move the midday newscast to 11 a.m. (which would be the first and only 11 a.m. midday newscast in the New York media market), and its locally-produced lifestyle/entertainment program New York Live to 11:30 a.m. beginning January 16, 2017. As part of the changes of the daytime lineup at the station, they would move Days of Our Lives from the network's default Eastern Time Zone slot of 1:00 p.m. to the early time slot of 12 p.m., followed by Access Hollywood Live at 1 p.m.[47][48]

On June 30, 2017, it was announced that Chuck Scarborough will step down as the anchor of the 11:00 p.m. newscast on July 14, but will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. newscast. 4 p.m. anchor Stefan Holt, whose father Lester presides over NBC Nightly News down the hall from Studio 3K, assumed duties for the late newscast beginning July 17.[49]

On July 31, 2017, the station expanded its morning newscast Today in New York by a half an hour, beginning at 4:00 a.m. for a total of three hours; this is the first 4:00 a.m. newscast in the New York media market since WPIX had one from 2010 to 2014. Six days later on August 6, 2017, the Sunday edition of the morning newscast had an extra half-hour added after 9:30 a.m.; the 6:00-8:00 a.m. portion remained unchanged. As part of the changes to the station's Sunday morning lineup, Sunday Today with Willie Geist was moved to the network's recommended time of 8:00 a.m. followed by the LXTV-produced program Open House NYC at 9:00 a.m. Meet the Press remained at 10:30 a.m.[50]

In November 2017, WNBC opened the San Juan news bureau led by bilingual reporter Julio “Gaby” Acevedo; the bureau delivers daily English and Spanish-language news and updates for the station and its sister station WNJU as well as all NBC and Telemundo-owned stations across the country; the new bureau operated through February 2018.[51]

Notable current on-air staff

Anchors
Weather
Sports team
  • Bruce Beck – sports director; also host of Sports Final with Bruce Beck
  • Harry Cicma – sports anchor and reporter
Reporters

Notable alumni

Cultural references

Controversies and incidents

Chopper 4 helicopter crashes

1998 saw the introduction of a brand-new Chopper 4, a brand new Eurocopter EC135 that the station heavily promoted. But the new chopper ended up crashing into the Passaic River near Harrison and Newark on December 3, 1998; all occupants survived.[53]

Hence, the older model, a Eurocopter AS350, was returned to service, and remained until May 4, 2004, when it crashed while covering a shooting in Brooklyn. Reporter Andrew Torres, pilot Russ Cowry and pilot trainee Hassan Taan survived the crash and were taken to area hospitals. The crash occurred at about 6:30 p.m. as the crew was preparing for a live report from the scene of a shooting in East Flatbush. Before the cut-in, Chopper 4 appeared to begin a steep nosedive. WABC's own helicopter captured the initial nosedive and the chopper's subsequent tailspin until crashing into a rooftop.[54]

2008 weeknight infomercial issue

On March 25, 2008, WNBC carried a paid program leading into NBC's Tuesday night primetime and after the 7:00 p.m. newscast for mortgage lender Lend America, replacing that night's Access Hollywood. Several 'Big Four' stations throughout the United States had carried paid programs leading into primetime in a period during the Great Recession to some varied controversy (and often do to this day during Saturday evenings, a little-trafficked time period with no complaint), but the one airing in New York of the Lend America infomercial, which was hosted by ex-WNBC reporter Joe Avellar, attracted massive criticism from viewers and the local media criticism beat, especially involving Avellar's role as host and Lend America's part in the housing crisis. Earning the station $130,000 for the 28 minute program, it generated low ratings and led to a quick fallout, with general manager Frank Comerford resigning his position from the station based on his approval of the airtime sale.[55] Although Lend America expressed interest in buying more pre-primetime time on the station, WNBC has never again carried a paid program before primetime on weeknights.

Sue Simmons "F-bomb" incident

On May 12, 2008, a primetime promo for that night's 11:00 p.m. newscast was thought by anchor Sue Simmons to be on tape for later broadcast, but was actually going out live. After completing the first portion of the tease, Simmons noticed co-anchor Chuck Scarborough distracted with something on his on-desk laptop, and thinking the take would be trashed and another take would be shot for air, shouted "The fuck are you doing?" towards him in a manner seemingly meant as an inside joke among colleagues, while YouTube b-roll of a cruise ship departing Manhattan continued to roll before the promo's end.

Later during the actual newscast, Simmons profusely apologized for the live outburst, saying, "I have to acknowledge an unfortunate incident. I used a word that many people find offensive. It was a mistake I made and I'm truly sorry." No further comment was made by the station or Simmons about the incident.[56][57]

I-Team Super Bowl promo editing controversy

On February 5, 2012, the station premiered the I-Team promo during NBC Sports' coverage of Super Bowl XLVI featuring former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, but later on the day after the Super Bowl, they edited out Kelly's clip due to some complaints from rival WCBS-TV. However, the spokesman declined to comment, and criticisms arose from WABC-TV, WNYW and WPIX, the station's rivals. Station general manager Michael Jack said in the statement that "our investigative team is among the most experienced in the industry, and to suggest that the station won’t cover the NYPD fairly, accurately and with balance simply because the commissioner appeared in a station promotional spot is simply not true".[58] After the promo was edited out at the station, Lynda Baquero resigned from the investigative team but continued as a reporter for the station. She was replaced by Pei-Sze Cheng and Jonathan Vigliotti (though Vigliotti later left for WCBS-TV).

See also

References

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External links

1941 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1941 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished eighth in the National League with a record of 43 wins and 111 losses.

On July 1, the Phillies played the Dodgers in Brooklyn; the game was televised by WNBT in New York (now WNBC), making the ballgame the first program aired by a commercial TV station in the United States. Although the Phillies finished dead last and the Dodgers later won the pennant, Philadelphia won the game 6-4, in 10 innings.

Cozi TV

Cozi TV (stylized on-air as COZI TV) is an American digital multicast television network that is owned by the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast. The network airs classic television series from the 1950s to the 2000s.The network originated as a local news and lifestyle programming format that was launched between 2009 and 2011 and was seen on digital subchannels operated by nine owned-and-operated television stations of the NBC television network in the United States under the brand NBC Nonstop. The sitcoms and drama series now appearing on Cozi are primarily from the NBCUniversal Television Distribution program library.

Don Imus

John Donald Imus Jr. (born July 23, 1940) is an American former radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He is known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. A former railroad brakeman and miner, Imus attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and secured his first radio job in 1968 at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City before his firing in 1977.

In 1979, Imus returned to WNBC and stayed at the station until 1988 when the show moved to WFAN. Imus gained widespread popularity when the show entered national syndication in 1993. He was labelled a shock jock radio host throughout his later career and his programs have been popular and controversial. After nearly 50 years on the air, Imus retired from broadcasting in March 2018.

Edd Kalehoff

Edward Woodley Kalehoff Jr. (born September 1, 1945) is an American television music composer who specializes in compositions for television.

Howard Stern

Howard Allan Stern (born January 12, 1954) is an American radio and television personality, producer, author, actor, and photographer. He is best known for his radio show The Howard Stern Show, which gained popularity when it was nationally syndicated on terrestrial radio from 1986 to 2005. Stern has broadcast on Sirius XM Satellite Radio since 2006.

Stern landed his first radio jobs while at Boston University. From 1976 to 1982, Stern developed his on-air personality through morning positions at WRNW in Briarcliff Manor, New York, WCCC in Hartford, Connecticut, WWWW in Detroit, Michigan, and WWDC in Washington, D.C. Stern worked afternoons at WNBC in New York City from 1982 until his firing in 1985. In 1985, he began a 20-year run at WXRK in New York City; his morning show entered syndication in 1986 and aired in 60 markets and attracted 20 million listeners at its peak. Stern won numerous industry awards, including Billboard’s Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year eight consecutive times, and is the first to have the number one morning show in New York City and Los Angeles simultaneously. He became the most fined radio host when the Federal Communications Commission issued fines totaling $2.5 million to station owners for content it deemed indecent. Stern became one of the highest paid radio figures after signing a five-year deal with Sirius in 2004 worth $500 million. In recent years, Stern's photography has been featured in Hamptons and WHIRL magazines. From 2012 to 2015, he served as a judge on America's Got Talent.

Stern has described himself as King of All Media since 1992 for his successes outside radio. He hosted and produced numerous late night television shows, pay-per-view events, and home videos. His two books, Private Parts (1993) and Miss America (1995), entered The New York Times Best Seller list at number one and sold over one million copies. The former was made into a biographical comedy film in 1997 that had Stern and his radio show staff star as themselves. It topped the US box office in its opening week and grossed $41.2 million domestically. Stern performs on its soundtrack, which charted the Billboard 200 at number one and was certified platinum for one million copies sold. Stern's third book, Howard Stern Comes Again, was released in 2019.

KC2XAK

KC2XAK was the world's first UHF television station. It was simply a rebroadcast/broadcast translator transmitter of New York City's WNBT (today’s WNBC), and broadcast on 529-535 MHz in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It went on the air on December 29, 1949.

The station's launch was code-named "Operation Bridgeport", as a test by RCA and NBC, to determine if the UHF spectrum was feasible to use for communications and broadcasting.

The station used a 1 kW transmitter with a 20-dB gain antenna on a 210-foot (64 m) tower elevated 450 feet (140 m) above average terrain. This resulted in an Effective Radiated Power of 10 kW.

Operation Bridgeport was apparently a success, but was shut down by RCA and NBC on August 23, 1952, after two and a half years of operation. Empire Coil purchased the KC2XAK transmitter, and the transmitter and support equipment was dismantled in Bridgeport under supervision of RCA. Dismantling began on August 25, and was shipped via truck and fast freight train to Portland, Oregon. It was re-assembled as a 250-foot (76 m) tower on Council Crest, more than 1,000 feet (300 m) above Portland on September 9, 1952. This became a transmitter for Portland's KPTV as well being the first commercial UHF television station in the country.

Although KC2XAK was the first UHF station on the air, it was an experimental station. The first full-fledged UHF commercial television station honor goes to KPTV in Portland, Oregon, which broadcast on UHF Channel 27 in 1952, although it has operated on VHF Channel 12 since 1957.

Bridgeport is now covered over-the-air by WNBC, and the other New York City broadcast stations.

LXTV

LXTV is the brand name of a lifestyle and entertainment programming production unit owned by NBCUniversal that creates lifestyle content . Started in 2006 by former MTV executives Morgan Hertzan and Joseph Varet as a privately owned broadband TV network and website, LXTV was acquired in January 2008 by NBC Owned Television Stations (formerly NBC Local Media), a division of NBCUniversal. LXTV was an early pioneer of original digital web video, which they transitioned into nationally syndicated television shows post NBC acquisition.

Some of LXTV’s programs include 1st Look, Open House, Open House NYC and George to the Rescue, which presents lifestyle programming to a young affluent audience.

LXTV also created and launched New York Live (formerly LX New York), the live, daily lifestyle show on WNBC, broadcast from Studio 3K in 30 Rockefeller Plaza and live from the streets in and around New York.

Len Berman

Leonard Berman (born June 14, 1947) is an American television sportscaster and journalist who is based in New York City. He is currently hosting the morning show on WOR-AM along with Michael Riedel.Berman is widely known for his television career with NBC, specifically his work for the network's flagship station WNBC-TV. Berman spent 27 years as the lead sports anchor for WNBC and also worked for NBC Sports covering Major League Baseball and the National Football League. He was employed by WNBC until 2009, and prior to that he worked for WCBS-TV in New York City from April 1979 through August 1982 and WBZ-TV in Boston.

Live at Five (WNBC TV series)

Live at Five was a local afternoon television news program that aired on WNBC (channel 4), the NBC flagship television station in New York City. The hour-long program was broadcast from Studio 6B at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. Featuring a mix of news, features and interviews, the Live at Five concept was first introduced in 1979 by WNBC news director Ron Kershaw and Bob Davis; its final broadcast aired on September 7, 2007.

Metropolitan Television Alliance

The Metropolitan Television Alliance, LLC (MTVA) is a group organized in the wake of the loss of the transmission facilities atop the World Trade Center in 2001. Its mission is to identify, design and build a facility suitable for the long-term requirements of its member stations to meet their over-the-air digital broadcast requirements. This could include designing facilities for the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, assessing alternative sites and technologies and dealing with local, state and federal authorities on relevant issues.The group, which includes stations WABC-TV 7, WCBS-TV 2, WFUT–TV 68, WNBC–TV 4, WNET–TV 13, WNJU–TV 47, WNYE-TV 25, WNYW–TV 5, WPIX–TV 11, WPXN-TV 31, WWOR-TV 9 and WXTV–TV 41, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2003 with the developer, Larry A. Silverstein, to install antennas atop the Freedom Tower. Broadcasters have used the Empire State Building (and, to a lesser degree, 4 Times Square) since the September 11 attacks. In 2006, control of the project was transferred to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with which further discussions have been ongoing.

The group received a grant from the NTIA to study distributed transmission system (DTS) in New York City. Multiple tests were run from various sites in the New York and Newark region in 2006 and 2007 by MTVA and individual member stations, with the use of distributed transmission on a permanent, non-experimental basis ultimately approved for US stations by the Federal Communications Commission on November 7, 2008.

In 2008, Saul Shapiro was appointed President.

Ron O'Brien (DJ)

"Big" Ron O'Brien (real name: Richard Walls; October 24, 1951 – April 27, 2008) was a disc jockey who worked at many top radio stations during his lifetime.

O'Brien grew up in Des Moines, IA, and worked at KBAB in Indianola. He started in 1969 at KUDL (now KMBZ-FM) in Kansas City. During the ensuing years, he worked for many stations, including KTLK in Denver, WCAR in Detroit, WQXI in Atlanta, WCFL (now WMVP) in Chicago, WOKY in Milwaukee, WFIL in Philadelphia, KFI and KIIS in Los Angeles, KWK (now WARH) in St. Louis (where he stayed for nine years), KZDG in Denver, WYXR (which became WLCE during his tenure and is now WRFF) in Philadelphia, WNBC (now WFAN) and WXLO (now WEPN-FM) in New York, WPGC in Washington, D.C., and WRKO in Boston. WOGL, also in Philadelphia, was his employer for the final six years of his life, and he had recently signed a two-year contract extension.

Big Ron had been the host of the syndicated radio program "On the Radio" from 1985 until 1992.

O'Brien also enjoyed singing. He recorded cover versions of "Everybody Knows Matilda" (D. Baxter) and "Take Some Time Out" (T. Kemp and R. Gordy), both of which were released on 45.

In addition to music and radio, Big Ron loved trolley cars and baseball.

O'Brien died of complications from pneumonia after a two-month illness.

Sue Simmons

Sue Simmons (born May 27, 1942) is a retired news anchor who was best known for being the lead female anchor at WNBC in New York City from 1980 to 2012. Her contract with WNBC expired in June 2012 and WNBC announced that it would not renew it. Her final broadcast was on June 15, 2012.

The Howard Stern Show

The Howard Stern Show is an American talk radio show hosted by Howard Stern. It gained wide recognition when it was nationally syndicated on terrestrial radio from 1986 to 2005. The show has been exclusive to Sirius XM Radio, a subscription-based satellite radio service, since 2006. Other prominent staff members include co-host and news anchor Robin Quivers, writer Fred Norris, and executive producer Gary Dell'Abate.

The show developed in 1979 when Stern landed his first morning shift at WCCC in Hartford, Connecticut, four years into his professional radio career. He continued as a morning personality at WWWW in Detroit, Michigan in 1980, and was paired with Quivers in 1981 at WWDC in Washington, D.C. In 1982, Stern's success in Washington led to a spot at WNBC in New York City, where he hosted the city's top afternoon show until his firing in 1985. That year, the show began a 20-year run at WXRK in New York City where it aired on a total of 60 markets across the United States and Canada and gained an audience of 20 million listeners at its peak. In the New York area, the show was the highest-rated morning program consecutively between 1994 and 2001. A total of $2.5 million in fines were issued to station licensees that carried the show by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), for what it considered indecent material. Following Stern's contract with Sirius in 2004, the show left terrestrial radio in December 2005.

Since 1994, the show has been taped and broadcast on several networks, including E! (1994–2005), CBS (1998–2001), and HowardTV (2005–13), an on-demand digital cable service. SiriusXM launched a "360" app in 2018 available to subscribers where video clips of the show can be seen.

WCBS-TV

WCBS-TV, channel 2, is the flagship station of the CBS television network, licensed to New York City. WCBS-TV is owned by the CBS Television Stations division of CBS Corporation, and operates as part of a television duopoly with WLNY-TV (channel 55), Riverhead, New York. WCBS-TV's studios are located within the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in Manhattan and its transmitter is located at One World Trade Center.

In the few areas of the eastern United States where a CBS station is not receivable over-the-air, WCBS is available on Satellite television via DirecTV.

WFAN (AM)

WFAN, (660 AM, also known as Sports Radio 66 AM and 101.9 FM or The FAN) is a radio station licensed to New York City and is owned and operated by Entercom. WFAN's studios are located in the combined Entercom facility in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan and its transmitter is located on High Island in the Bronx. Its 50,000-watt clear channel signal can be heard at night throughout much of the eastern United States and Canada. WFAN is also heard on WFAN-FM.

WFAN was the world’s first radio station to adopt the 24/7 sports radio format.

WNBC (AM)

WNBC (660 kHz) was a commercial AM radio station licensed to New York City from 1922 to 1988. For most of its history, it was the flagship station of the NBC Radio Network. It was a Class A clear-channel station broadcasting at the maximum power for AM radio, 50,000 watts. WNBC left the air on October 7, 1988. Its former frequency has since been occupied by Entercom-owned all-sports WFAN.

WNJU

WNJU, virtual channel 47 (UHF digital channel 36 later move to 35 (UHF)), is the Spanish language Telemundo television station, licensed to Linden, New Jersey and serving the New York metropolitan area. WNJU is owned by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations as part of a duopoly with WNBC (channel 4). WNJU maintains studios and offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey, with transmitter located at One World Trade Center.

WQHT

WQHT (97.1 FM) – also known as "Hot 97" – is an American radio station licensed to New York City under the corporate ownership of Emmis Communications. WQHT primarily plays hip hop-leaning urban contemporary hits and occasionally a pop-leaning rhythmic title. WQHT's studios are located in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan, and its transmitter is located at the Empire State Building. The station broadcasts in the HD format.

WVIT

WVIT, virtual channel 30 (UHF digital channel 35), branded on-air as "NBC Connecticut" or "NBC CT", is an NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to New Britain, Connecticut and serving the Hartford–New Haven television market. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal and is a sister station to Hartford-licensed low-powered, Class A, WRDM-CD (channel 19). The two stations share studios on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford, Connecticut and transmitter facilities on Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington, Connecticut. On cable, the station is carried primarily on channel 4 throughout the Hartford–New Haven television market.

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and Digital
NBCUniversal
International
Networks
Other assets:
Former/Defunct
properties
and predecessors:
Disney–ABC
CBS Corp.
Fox Corp.
NBCU
Univision
Comm.
Related
programs
Related
articles
Commentators
Key figures
Lore
World Series
AL Championship
NL Championship
AL Division Series
NL Division Series
All-Star Game
Seasons

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