||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Branding||Fox 25 (general)
Fox 25 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||So Fox 25|
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
|Owner||Fox Television Stations
(Fox Television Stations, Inc.)
|First air date||October 10, 1977|
|Call letters' meaning||W FOX Television|
|Former callsigns||WXNE-TV (1977–1987)|
|Former channel number(s)||25 (UHF analog, 1977–2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1977–1986)|
|Transmitter power||780 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WFXT is a television station owned and operated (O&O) by the News Corporation-owned Fox Broadcasting Company, located in Boston, Massachusetts. The station's studio and office facility is in Dedham, Massachusetts, and its transmitter is located in Needham, Massachusetts. WFXT is one of six Boston television stations seen in Canada by subscribers of the Bell TV satellite service.
Channel 25 signed on as WXNE-TV (for "Christ (X) in New England") on October 10, 1977. The station was originally owned by the Christian Broadcasting Network. The early format consisted of older syndicated reruns which were deemed to be "family-friendly", a healthy dose of religious programming (including CBN's own The 700 Club), and programs of many other televangelists. Religious programming ran for about six hours a day during the week, and all day on Sundays. The station also picked up the daily and Sunday Mass from the Boston Catholic Television Center. Secular programming consisted of westerns, old movies, family type drama shows, old film shorts, and classic TV shows. By 1980, the religious programming was cut back on Sundays to 6 to 11 am and 7 pm to midnight, and about four to five hours a day during the week. For several years during the WXNE era of Channel 25, CBN founder Pat Robertson installed his son, Tim Robertson, as program director.
The station began adding more cartoons, made-for-TV movies, and off network sitcoms and family dramas in the early 1980s. Most notably, in 1980, WXNE was able to take over production of Candlepins For Cash, the weekday bowling show which had just been canceled by Boston CBS affiliate WNAC-TV after seven seasons. With new host Rico Petrocelli, the show now aired out of the now-defunct Wal-Lex Lanes in Waltham, MA (the show had been aired from bowling lanes built in the basement of WNAC's studios). After only a few months as host, Petrocelli was ousted in favor of returning original WNAC host Bob Gamere, who carried on until Candlepins ended its run on WXNE in 1983. During this time, the station rebranded itself "Boston 25", in the conversion to being a true independent. While the station was only on cable systems in the Greater Boston market, WXNE was a solid third among independent stations, behind the longer-established WSBK-TV and WLVI-TV, and sixth among commercial television stations. The station also implemented two significant advertising campaigns, in a bid to compete with the other independents: Boston turn, New England turn, Everybody turn 25 today/tonight! (1983–85), which was followed by You Should See Us Now! (1985–87, later revived in a rearranged form during the Boston Celtics-ownership era of WFXT, as Watch What Happens..Now!).
In 1986, WXNE was put up for sale along with other CBN stations. That October, News Corporation purchased WXNE, with plans to make the station Boston's affiliate for its new network, Fox, which had been unable to secure affiliation with WSBK or WLVI. Until the sale was completed, channel 25 did not air what was then the network's lone offering, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, Fox's inaugural program and a weeknight show which aired opposite Johnny Carson's Tonight Show on NBC. The outgoing CBN ownership believed that the program did not fit its strict content guidelines. Fox instead contracted Boston radio station WMRE (1510 AM, now WUFC) to carry the audio portion of the Late Show in the interim.
When the sale to Murdoch was completed on January 19, 1987, Fox renamed the station WFXT and made a complete overhaul of the station's presentation. At the time this happened, WFXT became the seventh Fox-owned property and the first one not a part of the 1986 Metromedia purchase of television stations which set the foundation for the new network at the time. Also, the new WFXT became the first network owned and operated television station in New England. Besides adding The Late Show to the schedule, The 700 Club was demoted to a once-a-day airing, and the daily broadcast of a Roman Catholic Mass was moved to an earlier timeslot. The station changed its graphics to the then-Fox O&O model in Friz Quadrata font. WXNE staff announcer Chris Clausen was let go in favor of the services of Fox affiliate voiceover Beau Weaver, who would remain with both the station and Fox Television Stations for over a decade (Clausen would eventually land on WNEV-TV, now WHDH, as principal announcer that September). The schedule, however, was largely unchanged at the outset, outside of the removal of several older sitcoms that soon resurfaced at WQTV (now WBPX-TV). On April 5, 1987, the Sunday evening religious programming block was finally discontinued, when the Fox network began programming a Sunday primetime lineup.
Over the next few years, WFXT was unable to acquire the better programming and continued to only get shows that WSBK, WLVI, and the network affiliates passed on. Most of the shows added to WFXT were low-budget, first-run syndicated shows, cartoons and additional Fox programming.
In purchasing channel 25, Fox was granted a temporary waiver of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule prohibiting the common ownership of a television station and a newspaper in the same market. Fox's parent company, News Corporation, also published the Boston Herald. In 1989, Fox placed WFXT in a trust company; the next year it sold the station outright to the Boston Celtics, who maintained the network affiliation while making WFXT the basketball team's flagship. The station also gained a radio sister station, as the Celtics also purchased WEEI (then at 590 AM, now WEZE; now at 850 AM) at the same time. The Celtics, however, did not have the financial means to compete as a broadcaster. Still, under the Celtics, WFXT finally began to acquire stronger programming.
By 1992, WFXT was on many more cable systems in areas of New England where Fox programming was not available. Locally, however, the station was still third (though not as distant as the CBN or early Fox days), behind WSBK and WLVI. Still, for a while under the Celtics' watch, WFXT was perceived to be in danger of losing its Fox affiliation. One of the instances was in the summer of 1994, when Westinghouse Broadcasting signed a deal to affiliate all of its stations with CBS, which caused WBZ-TV to drop NBC for CBS at the beginning of 1995. Existing CBS affiliate WHDH-TV was thus deciding between NBC and Fox, the latter of which its sister station, WSVN in Miami had been affiliated with since 1989. However, the Celtics soon began dropping hints about its intention to sell the station, including the shifting of the team's over-the-air telecasts to WSBK in 1993 (though WFXT officially stated that this was due to the difficulty of scheduling telecasts around the Fox lineup); furthermore, that October, Fox, as part of a larger deal, obtained an option to repurchase the station. News Corporation sold the Boston Herald in February 1994, opening the door for Fox to exercise the option in mid-1995. WHDH ultimately signed with NBC (if WHDH had joined Fox, they would have only been allowed to carry up to two New England Patriots football games each year, as they are part of the AFC, while Fox has rights to the NFC; WHDH's affiliation with NBC allowed them to carry most Patriots games from 1995–97).
As the 1990s progressed, WFXT began phasing in more talk and reality programs. It continued running weekday cartoons, such as Garfield and Friends, and evening sitcoms. It was the last station running a morning kids block. WFXT was the television flagship of the Boston Red Sox for the baseball team's 2000 through 2002 seasons (before and after that, WFXT would only carry the Red Sox if the game was being televised by Fox). WFXT is the only Boston television station that has never changed its network affiliation, having always been a Fox affiliate since the network's inception. The station launched a new website based on the Fox Television Stations internet division's new My Fox interface as of May 23, 2006. It became standard on all Fox owned-and-operated station websites in the next few months. However, the new site did not become WFXT's official web address until July 12.
At one point, the station was "tentatively planning" to air News Corporation-owned and Fox sister network MyNetworkTV from 1 to 3 pm on the weekdays if the new network could not find an affiliate in the Boston market. On July 21, 2006, Derry, New Hampshire-based WZMY (now WBIN-TV) was announced as Boston's affiliate of MyNetworkTV (which began operations on September 5). WBIN's affiliation with MyNetworkTV ended in September 2011, and WSBK (a CBS-owned station that had shunned the network at its formation, and sister to WBZ-TV) took over the affiliation at that time. Although MyNetworkTV does not air on WFXT, the station has promoted programming for the network during its newscasts.
On October 12, 2007, Providence, Rhode Island's Fox affiliate, WNAC-TV, invoked the FCC's network non-duplication rule. This resulted in Comcast blacking out Fox primetime and sports programming from WFXT on its cable systems in Bristol County, Massachusetts. This change did not affect the airing of channel 25's syndicated lineup or newscasts. On July 31, 2008, the Charter system in Westport also became subject to the blackouts; this contributed to its eventual removal from that system on September 23. WFXT is also not available on the Verizon FiOS cable system in the area.
WFXT's analog signal began malfunctioning on November 1, 2008 as a result of a failing transmission line, forcing the station to reduce its power. By December 9, the transmission line had deteriorated to the point that the station reduced its power to the point that in most areas, viewers could then only receive the station via cable, satellite, and its digital signal. The station then began to state that the possibility existed that channel 25 could have to cease its analog broadcast ahead of the DTV conversion date, at that time February 17, 2009. In the end, the station's analog service remained on the air even after that date (a result of the transition being delayed to June 12); however, after the transmission line continued to fail (to the extent that the station estimated the signal was only reaching three percent of its former coverage, with no signal at all at the station's studio), the analog signal was finally shut off on February 27, 2009.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|25.1||720p||16:9||WFXT DT||Main WFXT programming / Fox|
|25.2||480i||16:9||Movies! (Starting May 27, 2013)|
WFXT ceased broadcasting in analog on February 27, 2009, becoming the second English-language station from the six major networks in Boston to do so after WZMY-TV ceased analog broadcasting in December 2008, and the only Fox Television station not to terminate on the new June 12 transition date.
Many Boston-area residents had complained about poor reception of WFXT-DT compared to other major local broadcasters. This was due to the transmitter previously operating under a reduced power output of 78–kW from an antenna mounted below one of the tines of the Candelabra. Bill Holbrook, V.P. of Engineering for WFXT, stated publicly that the full power broadcast would not be reached until August 2009, when installation of a new antenna and transmitter would be complete. However completion of the signal upgrades were completed in April 2009, when the new high power transmitter was turned on for the first time, giving WFXT a signal considered to be at par with the other high power stations licensed to Boston. The new antenna and transmission feedline had been replaced two weeks earlier. The license to cover, BLCDT-20090422ABH, was filed April 23, 2009.
WFXT broadcasts a total of 48 hours of local news a week (eight and a half hours on weekdays, two hours on Saturdays and three and a half hours on Sundays). During weather segments, the station uses live National Weather Service radar data, which originates from the Local Forecast Office in Taunton.
One of the few productive moves WFXT made under the Boston Celtics' ownership tenure was commissioning the regional cable news channel New England Cable News (NECN) to produce a 10 pm newscast, which was launched on September 7, 1993. Fox 25 News at 10 aired for a half-hour, and was initially anchored by Heather Kahn, with Tim Kelley on weather. Kahn lasted a year and a half in this role before transferring to ABC affiliate WCVB-TV; Lila Orbach replaced her on the newscast. Starting in September 1994, the 10 pm newscast was joined by a 12:30 pm newscast, which was subsequently canceled.
WFXT opted not to renew its contract with NECN in September 1995, with the final broadcast airing October 1; the next day, NECN moved the newscast to WSBK. For the next year, there was no local news on WFXT, and news programming consisted primarily of national Fox News updates that aired during the day. During this time, the station built an in-house news department from scratch, culminating in the September 9, 1996 launch of a new 10 pm broadcast, initially branded as Fox News Boston before reviving the Fox 25 News title. It was the second-to-last Fox-owned station to make such a launch.
Over the next decade, channel 25 expanded its news operation gradually. On June 4, 2001, WFXT added a 4:30 pm, female-targeted newscast anchored by Jodi Applegate. By fall 2002, the program was moved to 5 pm, and on September 22, 2003, it was expanded to an hour and began using the same anchors and a similar format as the 10 pm broadcast, as Applegate became co-anchor, along with former WHDH-TV sports director Gene Lavanchy, of a three-hour weekday morning newscast from 6 to 9 am, which launched the same day. A year later, Applegate left WFXT for sister station WNYW's Good Day New York and was replaced by former WHDH and WBZ-TV anchor Kim Carrigan. The station added an hour-long Sunday morning newscast at 9 am on September 12, 2004; it was dropped in July 2009. A Sunday-Friday night 11 pm newscast, which immediately follows the 10 pm news, was added on November 5, 2007; the weekday morning newscast has also expanded since its launch, and has aired from 4:30 to 10 am since September 20, 2010. The 5 pm newscast, which consistently placed fourth in its timeslot, was discontinued in favor of a half-hour 6 pm newscast on September 14, 2009. The 6 pm newscast was expanded to one hour with the launch of an additional half-hour newscast at 6:30 pm on March 14, 2011; the new newscast is the only local newscast in Boston at 6:30 pm. Due to the shifts in its early evening newscast schedule, WFXT is the only Fox O&O with a 6 pm newscast, but no 5 pm newscast. WFXT is also one of only three Fox O&Os without a midday newscast (along with WNYW in New York City and WOFL in Orlando). On July 07, 2012, WFXT launched an hour-long 6 p.m. newscasts on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and an additional half-hour (at 4 a.m.) added to the weekday morning newscast, starting on July 9, boosting its news total to six hours each weekday. With the expansion, WFXT offers 47 hours of local news a week.
Concurrent with the debut of the morning newscast, WFXT unveiled a 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) newsroom similar to that of WHDH, which also serves as the station's news set; it remains in use to this day. Channel 25 also opened a news bureau on Beacon Hill near the state house in downtown Boston, which serves as an interview location for Massachusetts lawmakers as well as a home base for weekday morning commentator Doug "V.B." Goudie.
The station claims its 10 pm news is currently the top-rated late newscast in the Boston market. WFXT began using new music, graphics, and "Fox 25" logos (all based on that of its sister cable network, Fox News Channel) in all newscasts on September 3, 2006; these elements have also been used on the other Fox-owned stations.
On May 19, 2009, WFXT and CBS duopoly WBZ-TV/WSBK-TV announced a content sharing agreement between them. The stations will share video for general market news, along with a helicopter for traffic reports and breaking news. On June 14, 2009, starting with its 10 pm newscast, WFXT became the last station in the Boston market to launch news in high definition. The station also adopted a new graphics package, also used by the other Fox-owned stations.
WFXT's newscasts were commonly seen in a fictional sense within the universe of David E. Kelley's Boston-set shows Ally McBeal, Boston Public, and The Practice. They were all produced by Fox's television production division 20th Century Fox Television. This was despite The Practice airing on ABC.
- FOX 25 News at 10:00 (1993–1995)
- FOX News Boston (1996–1997)
- FOX 25 News (umbrella title; 1997–present)
- FOX 25 Morning News (2003–present)
- FOX 25 News at 4:30 (2001–2002)
- FOX 25 News at 5:00 (2002–2009)
- FOX 25 News at 6:00 (2009–present)
- FOX 25 News at 6:30 (2011–present)
- FOX 25 News at 10:00 (1997–present)
- FOX 25 News at 11:00 (2007–present)
(In alphabetical order)
Current on-air staff
- Sorboni Banerjee - weekday mornings "FOX 25 Morning News" (4:00–10:00 a.m.)
- Heather Hegedus – weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 + Sundays at 11:00 p.m.
- Gene Lavanchy – weekday mornings "FOX 25 Morning News" (4:00–10:00 a.m.)
- Shannon Mulaire – weekday mornings "FOX 25 Morning News" (4:00–10:00 a.m.)
- Melissa Mahan - weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 + Sundays at 11:00 p.m.
- Mark Ockerbloom – weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Maria Stephanos – weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
FOX 25 Weather Team
- Jon Bellemore - freelance meteorologist; fill in for all shifts
- Kevin Lemanowicz (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
- Shiri Spear - meteorologist; weekday mornings "FOX 25 Morning News" (4:00–10:00 a.m.)
- Sarah Wroblewski – meteorologist; weekends at 6:00 and 10:00 + Sundays at 11:00 p.m.
- Brendan Fitzgerald – sports anchor/reporter
- Mike Beaudet – investigative reporter; fill-in anchor
- Brett Connolly – general assignment reporter
- Ted Daniel – general assignment reporter
- Doug "V.B." Goudie – weekday morning commentator (4:00-10:00 a.m.)
- Crystal Haynes – general assignment reporter
- Jarrod Hollbrook – freelance reporter
- Elizabeth Hopkins – weekday morning contributing reporter (4:00-10:00 a.m.); fill-in anchor
- Nicole Jacobs – general assignment reporter
- Catherine Parrotta - general assignment reporter; weekday morning reports
- Sharman Sacchetti – general assignment reporter
- Sara Underwood – freelance reporter; fill-in anchor
- Bob Ward – general assignment reporter; fill-in anchor
Former on-air staff
- Jodi Applegate – anchor (2001–2004)
- Steve Aveson – anchor (2000–2002), now at NECN
- A.J. Burnett – weatherman (2004–2012)
- Pete Bouchard – meteorologist, now at WHDH-TV
- Kim Carrigan – morning anchor (2004–2012)
- Bianca de la Garza – anchor, now at WCVB-TV
- Cindy Fitzgibbon– morning meteorologist; now at WCVB-TV
- Erin Hawksworth – reporter
- Dan Jaehnig - weekend anchor, now at WJAR-TV
- Anqunette Jamison - now at Fox 2 Detroit
- Frank Mallicoat – anchor (2007–2011), now at KPIX-TV
- Doug Meehan - Traffic reporter
- Adam Pellerin - anchor, now at NESN
- Debbi Rodman – reporter (2000–2009)
- Butch Stearns – sports director (1999–2009)
- David Wade – anchor, now at WBZ-TV
- McLean, Robert (October 7, 1997). "Television & Radio: Ch. 25 debut awaits cue from FCC". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- "7th TV Outlet For Murdoch". The New York Times. August 16, 1986. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- "Celtics Plan to Buy a Radio Station". The New York Times. September 28, 1989. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Neff, Andrew (November 5, 1993). "Channel 38 to televise Celts’ home games". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Bailey, Doug (October 5, 1993). "Murdoch won't seek Ch. 25 waiver". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- Boyd, Brian (August 5, 2008). "Charter Communications to cut Fox 25 from Westport lineup". The Standard-Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
- Bray, Hiawatha (December 17, 2008). "Fox outlet may be forced to drop analog early". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
- Alex Pham, Jim Puzzanghera (February 5, 2009). "House votes to delay digital TV transition by four months". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
- "Notification of Suspension of Operations". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 27, 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
- Movies!: Where to Watch
- Bickelhaupt, Susan (August 4, 1993). "WFXT brings you the news at 10". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- Biddle, Frederick M. (September 7, 1994). "Daytime shuffle cuts some talk shows". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 1, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- Biddle, Frederick M. (January 25, 1995). "Fox news turns to other sources". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 1, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- Fybush, Scott (September 6, 1996). "More on WROR and WKLB". New England RadioWatch. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Jurkowitz, Mark (June 5, 2001). "Applegate launches Fox's 4:30 newscast". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- Ryan, Suzzanne C. (September 18, 2003). "The morning jolt". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- "Applegate Polishes Big Apple". Broadcasting & Cable. October 17, 2004. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Jurkowitz, Mark (August 13, 2004). "WFXT sets Sunday news show". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- FOX 25 to Launch 6:30 PM News
- WFXT Expands Morning, Weekend Newscasts
- Malone, Michael, "WFXT, WBZ to Share in Boston: Fox and CBS do a deal in No. 7 DMA", Broadcasting & Cable, May 19, 2009
- Biographies of WFXT reporters and meteorologists – WFXT website