New England Cable News
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Owner||NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations|
|Sister channels||NBC Sports Boston, WNEU, WBTS-CD, WVIT|
|Launched||March 2, 1992|
|Website||New England Cable News|
|Available on select cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
|FuboTV||Internet Protocol television|
|YouTube TV (Select areas)||Internet Protocol television|
New England Cable News (NECN) is a regional 24-hour cable news television network owned and operated by NBCUniversal (as part of the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division, both ultimately owned by Comcast) serving the New England region of the United States. It focuses on regional news, though in some low priority timeslots, paid programming and programming from WNBC such as Talk Stoop and Open House are seen.
NECN, along with NBC owned and operated WBTS-CD (channel 15), Telemundo O&O WNEU (channel 60), and NBC Sports Boston, are based at the NBCU Boston Media Center on B Street in Needham, Massachusetts. NECN also operates several news bureaus in the New England area, including Manchester, New Hampshire; Hartford, Connecticut; Worcester, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; and Burlington, Vermont.
New England Cable News maintains a remote camera in the television studio of Suffolk University in downtown Boston. New England Cable News is available across New England in 3.7 million homes and produces several original programs.
NECN was launched March 2, 1992, as a joint partnership between Continental Cablevision (now part of Comcast) and the Hearst Corporation. On June 18, 2009, Hearst sold its stake in NECN to Comcast, which began to operate it as a division of the Comcast Sports Group and Comcast SportsNet.
When Hearst owned a stake in NECN, it used the resources of several New England stations owned and operated by Hearst Television to assist in news coverage of the region. The Hearst stations include Boston ABC affiliate WCVB-TV (early in NECN's existence, the network rebroadcast WCVB's 6:00 p.m. newscast at 8:00 p.m., an arrangement discontinued in 1998); New Hampshire's ABC affiliate WMUR-TV; ABC affiliate WMTW in Portland (NECN and WMTW both maintained bureaus in the Time and Temperature Building in downtown Portland, though the operations were physically separate and NECN used its own news vehicles in Maine); and WPTZ and WNNE, Vermont's two NBC affiliates. Other partnerships NECN maintained in its early years included WGGB-TV in Springfield, Massachusetts, WGME-TV in Portland (prior to Hearst's 2004 purchase of WMTW), WTNH in New Haven, Connecticut, WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island, and The Boston Globe.
Before its merger into the NBC Owned Television Stations, NECN was a training ground for local news reporters. Some of the better-known reporters who got their start at NECN include ABC's Dan Harris, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, and CNBC's Maya Kulycky. Several of Boston's current television reporters and anchors also began at NECN. Conversely, NECN has also employed some of the long-lived veterans of the Boston television market, including R. D. Sahl, Tom Ellis and Chet Curtis.
In addition to its cable production operations, NECN began to produce a 10:00 p.m. newscast for Boston Fox affiliate WFXT, known as Fox 25 News at 10:00 on September 7, 1993. Shortly after Fox Television Stations bought WFXT from the Boston Celtics, it chose not to renew the contract with NECN upon its expiration on October 1, 1995 (the station would launch its own news operation a year later); the next day, the newscast moved to UPN affiliate WSBK-TV and was renamed UPN 38 Prime News. The 10:00 p.m. newscast left the air on October 4, 1998, when WSBK canceled it to focus on sports and entertainment programming; WSBK's Boston Bruins telecasts continued to include NECN-produced news inserts during the 1998–99 season. During the 2000s, NECN partnered with Charter Communications to produce Worcester News Tonight for its Charter TV3 channel.
Comcast systems carry NECN as part of its limited basic tier, usually on a low and prime channel position (channel 6 in most Metro Boston communities). It is also seen on Verizon FiOS on channel 13 as part of local Digital, and on RCN on channel 318 as part of its Signature package. Most other cable TV systems in New England carry NECN, with the exception of Cox. The service is not available on satellite.
On January 18, 2010, NECN began broadcasting in high definition. Most Boston-area Comcast subscribers can watch NECN-HD on Channel 840. Verizon carries NECN-HD on channel 513, also as part of local digital, while RCN subscribers can watch NECN-HD on channel 618.
In July 2013, as part of a corporate reorganization resulting from Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal, NECN was moved into the NBC Owned Television Stations division—aligning it with NBC and Telemundo's owned-and-operated stations, although Boston's NBC affiliate WHDH was not owned by the network. On January 1, 2017, low-power station WBTS-LD became Boston's new NBC O&O, replacing WHDH as its affiliate; it shares studios and resources with NECN. WNEU, the Telemundo O&O for Boston, has also shared resources with NECN since launching a news operation in 2015. Under NBCUniversal management, NECN also began sharing resources with the other NBC affiliates in New England: WVIT in New Britain, Connecticut (an O&O), WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts, WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island, and WCSH in Portland, Maine (and its Bangor semi-satellite, WLBZ), along with maintaining its existing relationship with WPTZ.
In December 2013, Time Warner Cable announced that NECN would be dropped from its lineups in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts by the end of the year. The future of the Portland, Maine bureau was called into question. The decision was widely criticized by Time Warner Cable customers, who solicited the intervention of public officials on their behalf. TWC subsequently decided to continue carrying NECN.
In 2016, NECN became one of the first regional cable networks to be available on the now defunct PlayStation Vue (and the first to be on an over-the-top Internet television service). Due to how PlayStation Vue defined each reason it served, it also extended the network's reach into the New York Tri-State area. It would later be added to more streaming television services such as FuboTV, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and Sling TV.
In December 2016, Charter Spectrum dropped NECN from its basic tier, although it remains available on its digital tiers.
Notable on-air staff
- J.C. Monahan - meteorologist, anchor.
- Matt Noyes - meteorologist.
Notable former on-air staff
- Liz Cho - anchor at WABC-TV New York
- Chet Curtis - long-time Boston news anchor at WCVB
- Dan Harris - ABC News anchor
- Suzanne Malveaux - former CNN anchor and correspondent
- Aneesh Raman - former CNN correspondent and speechwriter for President Obama
- "New England's CNN — Here To Stay". Times-Union. Warsaw, Indiana. Associated Press. August 26, 1993. pp. 3C. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- Comcast assumes full ownership of NECN
- Sullivan, Steve (May 8, 2000). "NECN comes into its own". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Bickelhaupt, Susan (August 4, 1993). "WFXT brings you the news at 10". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2011. (subscription content preview)
- "The Boston TV Dial: WFXT(TV)". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. March 27, 2005. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- "The Boston TV Dial: WSBK-TV". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. March 27, 2005. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- Fybush, Scott (October 1, 1998). "WNNZ Sold to Clear Channel". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Doyle, Bill (December 5, 2008). "High school sports has become big news on TV 3". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
TV 3 …teamed up with NECN to produce “Worcester News Tonight.”
- "NBC's Owned Stations Reorganize". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Littleton, Cynthia (December 30, 2016). "NBCUniversal Gambles in Beantown With NBC Boston Launch". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Malone, Michael (June 11, 2015). "Boston Telemundo Station Debuts Local News". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Time Warner to yank NECN from Berkshire cable channel lineup Berkshire Eagle, December 10, 2013
- Loss of NECN angers Time Warner viewers Portland Press Herald, December 12, 2013
- Time Warner reverses decision to drop New England Cable News Berkshire Eagle, December 20, 2013