|Branding||Univision Boston (general)
Noticias Nueva Inglaterra (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 27 (PSIP)
27.3 ZUUS Latino
ZUUS Latino (DT3)
|Owner||Entravision Communications Corporation
(Entravision Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||January 1, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||UNIvision
|Former callsigns||WSMW-TV (1970–1985)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||independent (1970–1992)
|Transmitter power||270 kW|
WUNI, virtual channel 27, is the Univision television affiliate for the Greater Boston market. Licensed to Worcester, Massachusetts, the station runs general Spanish entertainment programs as well as news and information programming. The call letters stand for "Univision Nueva Inglaterra", which is Spanish for New England.
The station signed on January 1, 1970 as English-language WSMW-TV, and served Worcester with general entertainment programming that included old movies (including the whole series of Abbott and Costello movies and the Bowery Boys/Dead-End Kids movies starring Huntz Hall), cartoons, religious shows (including the Jacob Brothers and the PTL Club), a cooking show (Cooking with Bernard), science fiction shows (Gerry Anderson's UFO), dramas (including Maverick and Thriller, sitcoms (including The Phil Silvers Show and Petticoat Junction), and a 6 o'clock news-cast. The news-cast included anchor Doug White, who became a long-time news anchor in the Providence, Rhode Island area after WPRI-TV's Walter Cryan liked his work and hired him away from WSMW-TV). Though WSMW-TV was within the Boston market, it was far enough from Boston itself that the station was able to air some of the same shows as Boston stations, in a similar situation to WMUR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire.
WSMW also broadcast sports; from its debut through the end of the 1971–72 NBA season, the station was the television home of the Boston Celtics. In 1970 and 1971, WSMW broadcast (same-weekend taped-delayed coverage of) pre-season games of the New England Patriots. WSMW also offered extensive coverage of college basketball throughout the 1970s, mostly games of the College of the Holy Cross and Assumption College, with some Boston College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Bentley College games included on the schedule. The broadcast team of play-by-play man Bob Fouracre and analyst Bob Cousy worked these games. During the college football season, on Saturday nights at 10:30pm, the station carried a taped two-hour broadcast of a game from earlier in the day. These games were typically Holy Cross home games, and when Holy Cross was on the road, games from UMass. Fouracre worked these games, and the analyst most of the time was Gino Cappelletti. Finally, WSMW broadcast Bay State Bowling, a weekly candlepin bowling program on Sunday evenings for most of the 1970s; Fouracre was also host of the bowling show.
From 1970-1974, the station produced Bozo's Big Top, a franchised version of the Bozo the Clown series. Tom Matzell played the starring role as Bozo, along with Gene Sanocki as Bozo's sidekick Professor Tweetyfoofer. Local children were featured on the program daily, with many waiting up to one year or more for their chance to be on the show.
Beginning in the fall of 1980, channel 27 began running a subscription TV service called Preview at night after 7:00 p.m. Early in 1983, the station dropped all of its free entertainment programming and began running Preview 21 hours a day, with a couple hours in the morning devoted to religious and public affairs programming.
In the spring of 1985, WSMW cut Preview back to 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays and after 3 p.m. on weekends., and brought back some general entertainment programs. Hill Broadcasting bought the station at the end of 1985, and renamed the station WHLL. At that time, WHLL ceased to broadcast Preview and reverted to being a full-time general-entertainment independent television station.
Initially, WHLL's schedule consisted of B-grade movies, drama shows, cartoons and a few sitcoms, as well as religious shows. While initially the station again shared some of its programming with Boston stations, by the fall of 1986 the duplication had largely been eliminated, and WHLL began to market itself as a Boston station. By 1987, the cartoons and sitcoms were gone, and the station began running preempted network programming from NBC, ABC, and CBS, which had previously aired on Boston's WQTV. WHLL also began running some first-run syndicated shows by 1988, as well as a good amount of religious programming.
In 1992, the station began to focus on Spanish-language programming with the addition of Telemundo programming from 4 or 5 p.m. until about 1 a.m. By 1993, when the Jasas Corporation acquired the Hill Broadcasting stations, it ran Spanish-language shows after noon; much of the remaining English-language programming was preempted network programming and religious programs. That year, the station switched affiliations to Univision and changed its call letters to WUNI. In 1995, the station went Spanish full-time. Entravision bought the station in 2000.
On February 18, 2011, Full Channel TV, Inc., a cable provider in Rhode Island, announced that Entravision had made a demand for "a 33% increase in retransmission fees" as a cash payment. As a result of a negotiations breakdown over this issue, WUNI was dropped by Full Channel; instead, the national Univision feed is carried on the cable company's digital tier.
On April 1, 2003, WUNI launched its first and only live local newscast, Noticias Univision Nueva Inglaterra (Univision News New England), at 6 p.m. Sara Suarez was brought from KCEC, Univision's affiliate in Colorado, to serve as anchorwoman and news director. Angel Salcedo, who hosted Enfoque Latino (a local public affairs program on WUNI) for years, was chosen as the anchorman. However, Salcedo left the station shortly afterwards, leaving Suarez as the sole anchor until Carlos Ruben Zapata was hired to replace Salcedo. In early-to-mid-2005, Zapata left the station and Suarez anchored the news by herself once again. In late 2005, the station hired a new anchorman, Eduardo Guerrero.
Before the newscast went on the air, the station signed an agreement with regional cable television network NECN, in which NECN provided news footage. In addition, several commercial spots were featured on WUNI, as well as Telefutura affiliate WUTF-TV (which is owned by Univision but operated by Entravision), encouraging Hispanics to tune in during the day to watch NECN. However, the agreement with NECN expired in mid-2005, and as a result WUNI signed a new agreement with WBZ-TV. Instead of featuring commercial spots on WUNI and WUTF encouraging Hispanics to tune into channel 4, its newscast (WBZ News) is credited while the images are shown on the air, as well as at the end of the broadcast, right before the copyright graphic title.
In April 2007, the station launched Despierta Boston, a local morning news update segment during Univision's Despierta América at 7:25, 8:25, and 9:25. The station used Despierta America's logo, replacing "américa" with "boston", while using a version of the graphics and music package used on the 6 p.m. newscast. Despierta Boston was anchored by reporter Maria Gonzalez. While Despierta Boston saw some success, economic problems led to Entravision canceling it in early 2009. The station also laid off Eduardo Guerrero (once again resulting in Sara Suarez becoming the solo anchor) and 10-year veteran sports journalist Omar Cabrera.
- Sara Suarez, Anchorwoman and News Director
- Zully Ramirez, Reporter
Notable former on-air staff
- Upton Bell - college football color commentator (1978–1982)
- Doug Brown - sports anchor (1982–1983)
- Gino Cappelletti - college football color commentator
- Bob Cousy - college basketball color commentator
- Cy Follmer - sports anchor, Boston Celtics play-by-play announcer, New England Patriots play-by-play announcer (1970–1971)
- Bob Fouracre - sports anchor, Bay State Bowling host, Boston Celtics play-by-play announcer, college football and basketball play-by-play announcer (1971–1982)
- Stephen Guptill - elderly affairs reporter, The Elder American host (1971–1975)
- Togo Palazzi - college basketball color commentator
- Doug White - news anchor (1970–1972)
- Tom Matzell - portrayed Bozo the Clown (1970-1974)
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WUNI
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WUNI-TV