New England Cable News
|New England Cable News|
New England Cable News
|Launched||March 2, 1992|
|Owned by||NBC Owned Television Stations
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Slogan||New England's News Station|
|Sister channel(s)||Comcast SportsNet New England, WNEU, WBTS-LD, WVIT|
|Website||New England Cable News|
|Available on select cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
|PlayStation Vue (New England and New York City area)||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 NBC Owned Television Stations division) serving the New England region of the United States. It is very similar to CNN in structure and style, but focuses more on regional news, though in some low priority timeslots, paid programming and programming from WNBC such as Talk Stoop and Open House are seen, along with a late night replay of sister channel Comcast SportsNet New England's SportsNet Central highlights rundown show. The channel is comparable to the recently shutdown Northwest Cable News operation in the Pacific Northwest. Its main studios are located on Wells Avenue in Newton, Massachusetts (near Boston) with sister NBC O&O WBTS-LD (channel 8), but operates several news bureaus in the New England area, including Manchester, New Hampshire; Hartford, Connecticut; Worcester, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; 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 (for a period early in NECN's existence, the network rebroadcast WCVB's 6:00 p.m. newscast at 8:00 p.m.); New Hampshire's ABC affiliate WMUR-TV; ABC affiliate WMTW in Portland (NECN and WMTW both maintain bureaus in the Time and Temperature Building in downtown Portland, though the operations are physically separate and NECN uses its own news vehicles in Maine); and WPTZ and WNNE, Vermont's two NBC affiliates.
NECN is 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. Currently, NECN helps produce Worcester News Tonight and Worcester News Tonight 10:00 p.m. Update on Charter TV3 in Worcester which is shown weeknights at 6:00, 6:30, 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. The 10:00 broadcast is rebroadcast at 11:00, 11:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.
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 it, 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 810. 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. However beginning January 1, 2017, low-power station WBTS-LD became Boston's new NBC O&O replacing WHDH as its affiliate. 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 very first regional cable networks to also be available to PlayStation Vue, coverage that also extends the network's reach with that service into the New York Tri-State region due to how that provider defines each region it serves.
In December 2016, Time Warner Cable/Spectrum dropped NECN from its basic tier, although it remains available on its digital tiers.
Notable on-air staff
- Jackie Bruno - general assignment reporter
- Marisela Marrero - medical correspondent
Notable former on-air staff
- J.C. Monahan - weekend meteorologist; now news anchor at WCVB-TV
- Liz Cho - now main anchor at WABC-TV New York
- Associated Press (August 26, 1993). "New England's CNN — Here To Stay". Times-Union. Warsaw, Indiana. pp. 3C. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- Comcast assumes full ownership of NECN
- Bickelhaupt, Susan (August 4, 1993). "WFXT brings you the news at 10". The Boston Globe. 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.
- "NBC's Owned Stations Reorganize". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- 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