Ed Ansin, owner of WHDH, is going after Comcast and NBCUniversal after the announcement yesterday that WHDH’s NBC affiliation would not be renewed at the end of the year and NBC Owned Stations will, instead, launch an owned station called NBC Boston.
One of Ansin’s arguments against the move relies on speculation that NBC will use the broadcast signal of Telemundo station WNEU in New Hampshire to reach the market, forcing viewers to pay to watch. “Under NBC’s plan to use WNEU-TV in New Hampshire to serve the Boston market,” reads the WHDH press release about the move. “More than 50% of the people who currently receive NBC programming free over-the-air will not be able to watch NBC programming, unless they pay for cable or satellite.”
“One of my concerns is that it’s unclear of what the future of NBC will be in the city of Boston,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “If it’s going to be part of a package where people have to pay for it, right now it’s free.”
However, NBC has not said how it would broadcast the new station’s signal and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations president Valari Staab told staffers in an email yesterday, “To be clear, the new NBC-owned station will be a broadcast channel available to over-the-air viewers like our other NBC and Telemundo stations, not a cable-only channel as has been publicly speculated. Additionally, we are committed to expanding our over-the-air coverage of the market and are currently looking at a variety of options to accomplish that.”
Ansin is also targeting an agreement he says was struck between Comcast, NBC and NBC Television affiliates regarding what WHDH is calling “excessive concentration of media control” since WHDH says NBC owns 22 media properties in the Boston area.