WBZ-TV

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WBZ-TV
WBZ-TV logo.png
Boston, Massachusetts
United States
Branding WBZ-TV (general)
WBZ News (newscasts)
Channels Digital: 30 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels 4.1 CBS
Affiliations CBS (O&O)
Owner CBS Corporation
(CBS Television Licenses LLC)
First air date June 9, 1948; 65 years ago (1948-06-09)
Call letters' meaning derived from sister station WBZ radio
Sister station(s) WBMX, WBZ, WBZ-FM, WODS, WSBK-TV, WZLX
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (VHF, 1948–2009)
Former affiliations NBC (1948–1995)
Transmitter power 825 kW
Height 390 m (1,280 ft)
Facility ID 25456
Transmitter coordinates 42°18′37″N 71°14′14″W / 42.31028°N 71.23722°W / 42.31028; -71.23722
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website boston.cbslocal.com

WBZ-TV, channel 4, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station located in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation, and is part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WSBK-TV (channel 38), The two stations share studios and office facilities located in the Allston-Brighton section of Boston; WBZ-TV's transmitter is located in Needham, Massachusetts on a tower site that is owned by CBS (which is shared with transmitters belonging to WCVB-TV, WGBH-TV, WGBX-TV and WSBK-TV).

WBZ-TV is also one of six local Boston television stations seen in Canada by subscribers to satellite provider Bell TV, and is also seen on most cable systems in Atlantic Canada.

History[edit]

As an NBC affiliate[edit]

As the only television station that was built from the ground up by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, WBZ-TV began operations on June 9, 1948 and immediately joined the NBC television network, owing to WBZ radio (1030 AM)'s longtime affiliation with the NBC Red Network. At its sign-on, WBZ-TV became the first commercial television station to begin operations in the New England region. The station originally operated from inside the Hotel Bradford, which also housed WBZ radio; its current home was not completed at the time, although master control and its self-supporting tower over the building were in use at sign-on. WBZ-TV and WBZ radio would not move into what was then known as the Westinghouse Broadcasting Center until June 17, 1948, when the building was finished.

The station was knocked off the air on August 31, 1954, when Hurricane Carol destroyed its transmitter tower. A temporary transmitter was installed using a short, makeshift tower at the studio site and later on the original tower of WEEI-FM, (now WODS) in Malden. In 1957, WBZ-TV began broadcasting from a 1200-foot (366 m) tower in Needham, along with the original WBZ-FM at 106.7 FM (now WMJX). The tower site is now known as the CBS Digital Television Broadcasting Facility, and is used by several Boston-area television stations, including WGBH-TV (channel 2) and WCVB-TV (channel 5).

Channel 4 nearly lost its NBC affiliation in 1955 when Westinghouse balked at NBC's initial offer to trade sister stations KYW radio and WPTZ television (now KYW-TV) in Philadelphia in exchange for the network's radio and television combination in Cleveland, Ohio. In response, NBC threatened to yank its programming from both WBZ-TV and WPTZ unless Westinghouse agreed to the trade. The swap was made in 1956, but Westinghouse immediately complained to the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice about NBC's extortion. In 1965, the FCC ordered the swap reversed without NBC realizing any profit on the deal.

WBZ-TV (sometimes informally referred to as "BZ" both on- and off-air) was a pioneer in Boston television. In 1948, it began live broadcasts of Boston's two Major League Baseball teams, the Red Sox and the Braves, broadcasts that at first were split with WNAC. It was also the first Boston station to have daily newscasts, starting with the station's very first night on the air. On October 12, 1957, WBZ-TV broadcast a half-hour special program on Sputnik 1, featuring a motion picture of the final stage of its rocket crossing the pre-dawn sky of Baltimore, shot by sister station WJZ-TV.[1]

Screengrab of WBZ-TV 4 promo from 1989.

As an NBC affiliate, the station was known to preempt several hours of network programming a day – a common practice among Group W television stations affiliated with NBC and CBS. This was significant, since WBZ-TV was NBC's second-largest affiliate in the Eastern Time Zone. It primarily preempted several of the network's morning programs, with most preempted programs appearing on independent stations WSBK-TV and WQTV (now WBPX). In January 1983, when People Are Talking expanded to one hour, WBZ-TV dropped the NBC soap opera Another World, which moved first to WQTV, then to Worcester-based WHLL-TV (now WUNI-TV) and later with Lawrence-licensed WMFP in the early 1990s. The station also dropped a couple Saturday morning cartoons in 1990 (which also aired on WHLL), even though NBC later abandoned such programming in favor of a Saturday edition of the morning news show Today and live-action series aimed at teenagers such as Saved by the Bell.

NBC has traditionally been less tolerant of preemptions than the other networks and had to find alternate independent stations to air whatever programs that WBZ did not air. Despite this, NBC was generally satisfied with WBZ-TV, which was one of NBC's strongest affiliates. As a sidebar, Philadelphia sister station KYW-TV (NBC's largest affiliate at the time) also heavily preempted NBC programming, but it spent most of the 1980s and 1990s as NBC's weakest major-market affiliate.

Switch to CBS[edit]

In 1994, Baltimore sister station WJZ-TV lost its affiliation with ABC after that network announced a deal with the E. W. Scripps Company to switch all but two of Scripps' television stations (including its Baltimore outlet, WMAR-TV) to ABC. Westinghouse felt betrayed by ABC's decision, and as a safeguard began shopping for affiliation deals for the entire Group W television unit. Group W eventually struck an agreement to switch WBZ-TV, KYW-TV and WJZ-TV to CBS (Westinghouse's two other stations, in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, were already CBS affiliates). The Boston market's third network affiliation switch took place on January 2, 1995. After a 47-year relationship with NBC, channel 4 became the third station in Boston to align with CBS. The network had originally affiliated with WNAC-TV in 1948, then moved to channel 5 (then known as WHDH-TV) in 1961; it then returned to WNAC-TV (the current WHDH) in 1972 and remained on channel 7 until the switch. As a CBS affiliate, WBZ-TV airs the entire CBS schedule with no preemptions except for extended breaking news coverage, as per Westinghouse's original agreement with CBS.

When Westinghouse merged with CBS outright on November 24, 1995, WBZ-TV became a CBS-owned-and-operated station. As a condition of the merger, CBS had to sell recently acquired WPRI-TV (channel 12) in Providence, Rhode Island. Channel 4 provides at least grade B signal coverage to all of Rhode Island, and city-grade coverage within Providence itself as well as Fall River and New Bedford. At the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping signals, and would not even consider a waiver for stations with overlapping city-grade signals. In 1996, WBZ-TV became the first former Group W station to drop the classic Group W font.

Although the station tends to rank #1 in daytime and primetime ratings, Channel 4's local news ratings have suffered since the switch in network affiliations. This is partly because at the time of the switch, CBS was well behind NBC in the network ratings. Taken as a whole, its local newscasts are the lowest rated of Boston's "Big 3" affiliates, having dipped behind a resurgent WHDH-TV as well.

Channel 4 has changed its news and station branding continuously since the affiliation switch, from Eyewitness News to WBZ News 4 to News 4 New England to WBZ 4 News. On February 1, 2004, WBZ rebranded itself as "CBS 4"; the move was officially made in an attempt to alleviate lingering confusion from the 1995 affiliation swap,[2] though the branding brought the station in line with other CBS-owned stations. The "CBS 4" branding was phased out during the first quarter of 2007 and in February 2007, the station's newscast title was reverted from CBS 4 News to WBZ News. The rebranding was completed on February 4, 2007, during the station's coverage of the Super Bowl.[3] This makes the station the first station owned by CBS to depart from CBS' standardization since. It joins sister stations KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, WCCO-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul, WJZ-TV in Baltimore, and, from 2008 to 2012, WWJ-TV in Detroit, in using call letters in its branding as opposed to the CBS name. General manager Ed Piette told The Boston Globe that he decided to ditch the "CBS 4" branding when he arrived in Boston for his first day of work and a cabbie asked him, "Whatever happened to WBZ?" The move was done in the hopes of reemphasizing WBZ-TV's local identity – a strategy that worked well when Piette was general manager at WCCO-TV.[4]

After the 2000 acquisition of CBS by its former subsidiary, Viacom, WBZ-TV's operations were merged with that of Boston's UPN affiliate, WSBK-TV, and later with WLWC, the UPN affiliate in nearby Providence. Today, the operations of WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV are co-located at WBZ's studios in Brighton. WLWC was sold in 2006 to the Four Points Media Group, a holding company owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management; it, along with the other Four Points stations, has since been acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group. (WLWC, however has since been acquired by OTA Broadcasting).

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[5]
4.1 1080i 16:9 WBZ-HD Main WBZ-TV programming / CBS

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WBZ-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 30.[6][7] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel its former VHF analog channel 4.

Programming[edit]

Bob Emery and Boomtown[edit]

The station also broadcast many locally-produced programs over the years. One of the most beloved was the long-running Big Brother Bob Emery show, hosted by veteran radio performer Emery, who first did the show on Boston-area radio in 1921 and who in 1947 hosted the first five-times-a-week children's show on network television on DuMont. For nearly two decades, from 1956 to 1974, Rex Trailer hosted a popular weekend morning children's show called Boomtown. For part of that time, Boomtown originated from an outdoor "western town" set built next to WBZ-TV's studios. In 2005, WBZ aired a special documentary film directed by Michael Bavaro titled Rex Trailer's Boomtown featuring old clips and interviews with childhood fans such as Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Tom Bergeron and Jimmy Tingle. The broadcast master is now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City.

Evening Magazine[edit]

In April 1977, Evening Magazine premiered on the station. A weeknight magazine series that originated on San Francisco sister station KPIX, it expanded to Group W's other stations in the late 1970s, before it began to be distributed to stations not owned by Westinghouse as PM Magazine. On WBZ, the original hosting teams were Robin Young and Marty Sender (1977–1980); Sender and Candace Hasey (1980–1981); and Sender and Sara Edwards (1981–1982). Later, Edwards and Barry Nolan became the longest running hosts of the program (1982–1990). Evening enjoyed an over-13-year run, the last nine of which had it compete directly with WCVB's newsmagazine Chronicle. In September 1990, due to a decline in the franchise's popularity and tabloid TV magazines heralding bigger ratings and revenue, Group W canceled Evening/PM, with the last WBZ broadcast airing on December 17 of that year.

The program was originally replaced in the weeknight 7:30 slot by Family Feud from December 18, 1990 through mid-January 1991. With action in the Gulf War reaching a breaking point at that time, the station decided to begin airing expanded coverage of the war at 7:30, in an ongoing series titled Crisis in the Gulf: The 7:30 Report. Anchored by Jack Williams and Liz Walker, it served as a comprehensive update on the war until peace was called on February 27. Station management elected to keep the newscast going, but now as a newsmagazine that specialized in investigative reports. Now with Randy Price as the principal anchor, the title was shortened to The 7:30 Report. The show continued on for another year and a half. Then, from September 1992 until September 2010, WBZ aired Entertainment Tonight – which it had acquired from WHDH-TV – at 7:30 p.m. (that show has been syndicated by CBS since 2006).

People Are Talking[edit]

People Are Talking, which ran from 1980 to 1993, was a live early-afternoon talk show that aired on WBZ, as it did on some other Westinghouse stations. In Boston, it was originally hosted by Nancy Merrill and later by Buzz Luttrell, but the best-known host was the program's last, Tom Bergeron.

Miscellaneous[edit]

WBZ-TV carried The Oprah Winfrey Show during its first nationally syndicated year (1986–1987), airing the show weekdays at 9 a.m. Despite its overnight success, channel 4 had little interest in keeping the show as a part of its schedule, in part because the station had to give priority to the upcoming Group W-distributed talk show, The Wil Shriner Show in the fall of 1987. Oprah moved to a 5 p.m. weekday time slot on WCVB-TV, where it became an institution (later moving to 4 p.m. in 1994) for the balance of its run.

Lottery[edit]

WBZ-TV was a local television pioneer in lottery. It was the first station, in 1975, to air official lottery drawing results from the Massachusetts Lottery. During the station's 6 p.m. newscast, graphic slides featuring the Lottery and The Numbers Game logos would appear with the nightly results from the Boston and Tri-State (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) regions. This would continue in varied forms, usually as the newscast went to commercial break, for almost a decade.

In the spring of 1984, WBZ introduced local live lottery drawings. In response to the Mass Lottery's second major game, Megabuck$, WBZ, in conjunction, created Lottery Live, a series of live and hosted minute-long machine studio drawings. Done in the style of a game show format (albeit truncated), it was not only meant to let viewers see the process of lottery results, but to generate excitement and interest into the Lottery. Hosted initially by Evening Magazine contributor and 4 Today host Tom Bergeron, Lottery Live aired the daily Numbers Game following the last main segment of Evening at 7:55 weeknights. Twice a week, following the conclusion of Evening at 7:58, the Megabuck$ drawings would air. The Numbers Game also aired Saturdays at 7:55. Beginning in July 1987 (two months before Lottery Live ended its original WBZ run), a new state sweepstakes, Mass Millions, was introduced, and was televised on Lottery Live twice a week.

The station holds the record for having the longest initial involvement with the Lottery (12 years), culminating in its decision to release the lottery rights to another station in 1987. Both WCVB and WNEV (present-day WHDH) were in the running for picking up the rights; in the end, the torch was passed to WNEV, who saw the acquisition as helping their station revenues and key ratings periods (that station's newscasts were continually in third place). Channel 7 continued the Lottery Live title and format with different hosts, upon its move in September 1987. WNEV/WHDH aired Lottery Live for seven seasons, until new ownership terminated the contract, upon which WCVB had their turn to air the games (from 1994–1998).

Eleven years after leaving its original station, Lottery Live returned to WBZ on May 20, 1998, with longtime host Dawn Hayes (from the WNEV/WHDH era) still at the helm. By this time, in addition to The Numbers Game still airing six nights a week at 7:53, late night airings (during the 11 p.m. newscast) drew Megabuck$, Mass Million$, Mass Ca$h (1991) and The Big Game (1996) on individual nights. Due to new limited contacts permitting the local stations to carry Lottery Live for only three years at a time, WBZ moved the games to sister station WSBK-TV in 2001.

Special events[edit]

Since 2003, WBZ has produced coverage of the Boston Pops Orchestra's annual Fourth of July concert at the Hatch Memorial Shell.[8] In the event's first decade on the station, the 10:00 p.m. ET hour of the show was broadcast nationally by CBS – featuring the Pops' signature performances of the 1812 Overture and "Stars and Stripes Forever," as well as the fireworks over the Charles River.[9] Live coverage of the event was broadcast in high-definition for the first time beginning in 2007.[10] CBS ended its national broadcast of the event following the 2012 concert, leaving only the local WBZ-TV telecast.[11] WBZ also airs coverage of First Night Boston on New Year's Eve.

Sports[edit]

WBZ-TV has aired local sporting events over the years. Besides the Braves (from 1948 until the team moved to Milwaukee before the 1953 season) and the Red Sox (1948–1957; 1972–1974, and a handful of games in 2003 and 2004, along with certain games aired on NBC), WBZ-TV also broadcast the Boston Celtics from 1972 to 1985. In 1981, WBZ-TV was the first Boston television station to broadcast live wire-to-wire coverage of the Boston Marathon; the station has done so every year since, and was the only Boston station to do from 2008 until 2014, when WCVB also carried the race.

WBZ-TV became the official television station of the New England Patriots NFL team in 2009 – airing all pre-season games, and the weekly program Patriots All-Access. As a part of the CBS network's overall coverage of the AFC (of which the Patriots are a member), WBZ-TV also airs all regular season Patriots games that are broadcast by CBS.

Logos and imaging[edit]

In the early 1960s, WBZ unveiled a new stylized "4" logo, using a distinctive font that had been designed especially for Group W. The logo became italicized in the late 1980s, but remained the same font. It kept this logo for over 30 years until it unveiled its first "News 4 New England" logo in September 1996, a year and a half after the switch from NBC to CBS. The old logo was the longest-used numeric logo in New England television history until WCVB's stylized "5" crossed the 31-year mark in 2003.

The "Circle 4" logo that replaced the original "News 4" logo in 1998 was often referred to on-air by WBZ sports anchor Bob Lobel as "The Circle 4 Ranch". In 2004, WBZ began using using CBS's standardized branding, becoming "CBS 4". In 2007, it dropped the standardized logo and reverted to being known as just "WBZ", using a new logo with WBZ lettering and the CBS eye contained within a series of squares. A similar logo would later be adopted by sister radio station WBZ (1030 AM). Alongside the introduction of a new set and the CBS O&O graphics package in 2011, WBZ introduced a logo combining the 2006 "CBS 4" logo with the squared WBZ lettering below it. However, the "squares" logo is still used as a secondary logo including certain promotions and on monitors in the station's news set.

News operation[edit]

Former WBZ newscast title card; seen nightly at 11.

WBZ-TV presently broadcasts 34 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with five hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and five hours on Sundays). WBZ operates a Bell LongRanger 206LIV helicopter for newsgathering called "Sky Eye". In addition to its main studios, the station operates two other news bureaus. The "Worcester Bureau" is located in the Worcester Plaza office tower at 440-446 Main Street in that city. The "New Hampshire Bureau" is located on Elm Street in Manchester. The station's weather radar known as "WBZ Doppler Live" is located at Worcester Regional Airport. Along with other CBS-owned stations, WBZ offers a web-only "@ Your Desk" newscast available live and on-demand. WBZ produces a weeknight 10 p.m. newscast for sister station WSBK.

In the mid-1960s, it adopted the Eyewitness News format that had been pioneered at Philadelphia sister station KYW-TV. WBZ was the first Boston station to have a regularly-scheduled late afternoon news program. In the 1970s, the station aired First 4 News at 5:30 p.m., anchored by Gail Harris. On July 21, 1979, a new format premiered in this time slot; Live on 4, a more informal program mixing elements of a daytime talk show with those of a traditional newscast, went on to become a trendsetter in the Boston market in the 1980s. First anchored by Gail Harris and Chris Marrou, it later had hosting assumed by many other WBZ staff members, including entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik and news anchor Chris Conangla in the mid-1980s. Live on 4 gave a loose preview of the news to be covered more in depth at 6 and 11, with featuring stories on lifestyle, health and entertainment topics, along with live, in-studio guests.

At one point, WCVB considered launching a competing program that was similarly structured (to be anchored by Peter Mehegan and Mary Richardson, who later became the long-running anchor team on Chronicle), but it was WNEV who made three attempts at a Live on 4-inspired show. First, it premiered the two-hour live talk/magazine show Look in the fall of 1982. After a year of disappointing ratings, Look was trimmed to an hour and retitled New England Afternoon. This, too, failed in the Nielsens, and was canceled in 1984. Three years later, WNEV tried the even more news-oriented copy New England News: Live at Five, which essentially became Boston's first proper 5 p.m. newscast, although it still featured the informal structure of Live on 4. Live at Five was a rare success in the ratings for WNEV's news, but in 1988, the format's creator, anchor Dave Wright (who imported it from ATV in Halifax), left the station following a feud between his news producers. WNEV's 5 p.m. news became a completely regular newscast thereafter, with its talent seated on the regular news set.

In the early 1980s, WBZ-TV lost its longtime spot as Boston's highest-rated news station to WCVB, but even then placed a strong second for more than a decade. Its evening news team – consisting of anchors Liz Walker and Jack Williams, meteorologist Bruce Schwoegler and sportscaster Bob Lobel – was the longest-running news team in New England from 1981 until Walker moved to the noon newscasts in 2000. Other personalities who came to channel 4 during this time were entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik and political reporter John Henning. Williams is still at channel 4 today; Walker gave up anchoring duties in 2005 and hosted a Sunday morning talk show for several years before leaving the station in October 2008.

With syndicated news and tabloid programming becoming more the norm in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Live on 4, like Evening Magazine, was starting to become of lesser importance to Group W. In 1991, after a 12-year-run, Live on 4 bid farewell in favor the station acquiring A Current Affair for the 5:30 time slot (having moved the program from WFXT). WBZ launched a 5 p.m. newscast at that time. When ACA moved to WCVB's late night schedule in the fall of 1993 (later moving to WHDH's daytime lineup in 1994), WBZ switched their late afternoon newscast to 5:30, and began airing the freshman syndicated series American Journal (with WBZ alumnus Nancy Glass as anchor) at its 5 p.m. lead-in. American Journal would then be cast off to WCVB as well starting in its second season.

During the 1994-95 season, WBZ dropped late afternoon news altogether, airing The Maury Povich Show at 5:00 instead. By the summer of 1995, the station's news had fallen to third place for the very first time, thanks in part to WHDH and WCVB's full-hour 5 p.m. news accounting for their ratings dominance. In response, WBZ began airing two hours of news between 5 and 7 p.m. that fall, with the end time of the news block later being scaled back to 6:30 in 1997 (to accommodate the move of the CBS Evening News to 6:30, and the station picking up Extra for 7 p.m.). The 90-minute 5 p.m. news remained originally until September 2005, when WBZ launched a 4 p.m. newscast for the first time (to complete with WHDH's newscast in the same timeslot). The 4 p.m. newscast was an hour long, and since the station agreed to still only produce 90 minutes of news in the late afternoon and early evening, the 5:00 hour was then given to Dr. Phil.

In January 2006, after only four months, the 4 p.m. newscast was cancelled; attempting to bolster its local news ratings, WBZ reinstated its 5 p.m. news (with Dr. Phil moving back to 3 p.m.) – resuming the 90 minute 5:00 news block – and dismissed its former lead anchor Josh Binswanger, leading to the return of longtime anchor Jack Williams to the evening newscasts. In addition, Ed Carroll's contract was not renewed and in October 2005 the station hired Ken Barlow from KARE-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to replace him as chief meteorologist.

In late August 2006, WBZ-TV hired anchor Chris May from WHDH-TV, pairing him with Sara Underwood as anchors of the station's weekday 5 p.m. newscast. May has since moved to Philadelphia sister station KYW-TV, and Underwood's contract with the station was not renewed, she left the station on March 4, 2008. In January 2007, the station launched Project Mass,[12] a commitment to cover the community's top concerns in government, transit, healthcare, education, finance and the environment. The initiative kicked off with an online town meeting. WBZ's on-air staff continued to change in late 2007, when longtime morning anchor Scott Wahle was re-assigned and replaced by former WFXT anchor David Wade. In January 2008, longtime morning and midday meteorologist Barry Burbank was re-assigned to the weekend programs. He was replaced by meteorologist Todd Gutner. On February 29, 2008, it was reported that the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike caused a significant loss in viewers during the late news. WBZ-TV finished with an average of 157,800 total viewers, down from 177,800 viewers in 2007.[13]

On April 1, 2008, CBS' owned-and-operated television stations division ordered widespread budget cuts and staff layoffs from its stations. As a result of the budget cuts, roughly 30 staffers were released from WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV, including longtime sports director Bob Lobel, entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik, and WSBK anchor Scott Wahle. Lobel left channel 4 on May 16, while Kulhawik and Wahle left on May 29 and 30, respectively. Steve Burton is now the new sports director, while the position that Kulhawik held was eliminated. Jack Williams filled in for the 9 p.m. spot in the interim. On June 6, 2008, weekend anchor/reporter Kate Merrill was appointed as 9 p.m. anchor on WSBK, along with general assignment reporting duties for the weekday 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. Lobel subsequently served as a guest co-host on CBS Radio sister station WODS's morning show in late 2008 and a guest sports anchor on WBZ radio in January 2009. Even with the budget cuts at CBS, WBZ-TV's 11 p.m. newscast was number one in its time slot in the 2007-08 season (it has since slipped back to second place).

On September 15, 2008, the station was in the process of upgrading its news set for high definition broadcasts. During that time, all newscasts originated from the on-air area of the newsroom. The renovations lasted for at least six weeks.[14][15] On December 11, 2008, WBZ and sister station WSBK-TV respectively became the fourth and fifth stations in the Boston market (behind WCVB, WHDH and WLVI) to begin broadcasting its newscasts in high definition. On May 19, 2009, WBZ/WSBK and Fox-owned WFXT entered into a Local News Service agreement that allows the stations to share local news video, along with a helicopter for traffic reports and breaking news.[16] The helicopter originally used as part of the sharing agreement (which WFXT and WBZ/WSBK stopped using in 2013) was later involved in a crash that killed two people in Seattle on March 18, 2014, while on loan by Helicopters, Inc. for use by KOMO-TV during technical upgrades to that station's own helicopter.[17][18]

On December 12, 2011, WBZ debuted a new news set that is better optimized for high definition broadcasting; featuring LED lighting, a dedicated weather area, and 16 high definition monitors. Additionally, WBZ also adopted the standardized graphics package used by CBS's O&Os. The new look, plus a greater emphasis on "hard news" coverage, are changes which the station hopes will help regain viewership it had lost to rival station WCVB. The new set replaced one that had been in use for a decade. Susan Walker, a broadcast professor at the Boston University however, criticized the rebranding for putting too much emphasis on WBZ being a CBS station (by using CBS's new standardized look for its owned-and-operated stations) and not branding itself as a local station.[19]


News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast Titles[edit]

  • Eyewitness News (1960s–1993)
  • WBZ News 4 (1993–1996)
  • News 4 New England (1996–2000)
  • WBZ 4 News (2000–2004)
  • CBS 4 News (2004–2007)
  • WBZ News (2007–present)

Station Slogans[edit]

  • We're 4 (1976–1978)
  • We're 4 You (1978–1979)
  • Today's 4: A Whole Lot More (1981–1982)
  • We're Today's 4 (1982–1985)
  • We're 4 Today (1984–1985)
  • Where Television Comes to Life (1985–1990)
  • Your 24-Hour News Source/New England's Channel 4 (1990–1993)
  • The Most Local News on TV (1996–1998)
  • Boston's Television Station/Boston's Choice for News and Information (2000–2003)
  • Your Local News Station (2003–2007)

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[edit]

Anchors
  • Kerry Connolly - weekend mornings (5:00-8:00 Saturdays and 5:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays)
  • Paula Ebben - weekdays at noon and weeknights at 5:00; also reporter
  • Jonathan Elias - weeknights at 5:00, 10:00 (WSBK), and 11:00 p.m.
  • Lisa Hughes - weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Kate Merrill - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
  • Katie Brace - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.; also reporter
  • Bobby Sisk - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.
  • David Wade - weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and weekdays at noon
  • Jack Williams - weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
WBZ AccuWeather

WBZ chief meteorologist Eric Fisher also provides forecasts for sister stations WODS-FM, WBMX-FM, WXLO-FM, WWFX-FM and WORC-FM; all WBZ AccuWeather meteorologists provide forecasts for sister station WBZ-AM.

  • Eric Fisher - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 (WSBK) and 11:00 p.m., also provides forecasts for the CBS Evening News and Up to the Minute.
  • Todd Gutner - meteorologist; weekday mornings (4:30-7:00 a.m.) and noon
  • Barry Burbank - Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.
  • Danielle Niles - weekend mornings (5:00-8:00 Saturdays and 5:00-9:00 a.m. Sundays)
WBZ SportsHub
  • Steve Burton - sports director; weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 (WSBK), and 11:00 p.m.
  • Dan Roche - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 6:30 and weekends at 11:00 p.m.; also sports reporter
  • Levan Reid - sports reporter and fill-in
General Assignment Reporters
  • Jim Armstrong
  • Paul Burton
  • Sera Congi
  • Beth Germano
  • Christina Hager
  • Lauren Leamanczyk
  • Ken Macleod
  • David Robichaud - weekday morning reporter (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
  • Michelle Roberts - traffic reporter weekday mornings
  • Bill Shields
  • Bree Sison
  • Jim Smith
Specialty reporters
  • Jon Keller - political editor and "Keller @ Large" feature producer (also on WBZ-AM 1030); contributor for the Boston Herald and Boston Magazine
  • Yadires Nova-Salcedo - "Centro" segment producer
  • Joe Shortsleeve - chief correspondent and I-Team investigative reporter

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Molczan, T., "Motion Picture of Sputnik 1 Rocket from Baltimore on October 12, 1957", June 30, 2013.
  2. ^ Ryan, Suzanne C. (December 23, 2003). "WBZ to change its logo to CBS4". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=180554
  4. ^ Gavin, Robert (January 4, 2007). "Changing the station". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WBZ
  6. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  7. ^ CDBS Print<! – Bot generated title – >
  8. ^ Collins, Monica (July 1, 2003). "WBZ creates fireworks, raises local profile by snaring Pops on 4th". Boston Herald. Retrieved June 16, 2013.  (preview of subscription content)
  9. ^ Collins, Monica (January 18, 2003). "Mugar Pops over to CBS with Hub Fourth concert". Boston Herald. Retrieved June 16, 2013.  (preview of subscription content)
  10. ^ "Ch. 4 fireworks go high-def". The Boston Globe. July 3, 2007. 
  11. ^ Powers, Martine; Moskowitz, Eric (June 15, 2013). "Boston Pops fireworks show not airing nationally this year". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 16, 2013.  (preview of subscription content)
  12. ^ wbztv.com - Project Mass<! – Bot generated title – >
  13. ^ Strike took viewers from late local news
  14. ^ http://groups.msn.com/BostonTVNews
  15. ^ http://pod08.prospero.com/n/blogs/blog.aspx?nav=main&webtag=WBZ_Declare&entry=274
  16. ^ Malone, Michael, "WFXT, WBZ to Share in Boston: Fox and CBS do a deal in No. 7 DMA", Broadcasting & Cable, May 19, 2009
  17. ^ "Helicopter Involved In Seattle Crash Was Used By WBZ-TV, FOX25". WBZ-TV. 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  18. ^ "2 Dead After News Helicopter Crashes Outside TV Station". CBSSeattle.com. 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  19. ^ "WBZ-TV unveils new look". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 

External links[edit]