|Hartford, Vermont -
Hanover/Lebanon, New Hampshire
NBC 5 News
|Slogan||Covering the Champlain Valley and Beyond|
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)
Virtual: 31 (PSIP)
(Hearst Stations, Inc.)
|First air date||September 27, 1978|
|Call letters' meaning||We're Northern
|Sister station(s)||WCVB-TV, WMUR-TV, WMTW|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
31 (UHF, 1978–2009)
65 W65AM Lebanon, NH (repeater)
|Transmitter power||117 kW|
|Public license information:||
(satellite of WPTZ
Plattsburgh, New York -
Burlington, Vermont) Profile
(satellite of WPTZ
Plattsburgh, New York -
Burlington, Vermont) CDBS
WNNE is the NBC-affiliated television station for the Upper Connecticut River Valley of East-Central Vermont and West-Central New Hampshire. Licensed to Hartford, Vermont, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 25 (or virtual channel 31.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter, shared with Vermont PBS outlet WVTA, on Mount Ascutney in Windsor, Vermont. Owned by Hearst Television, WNNE maintains an advertising sales office in the basement of American Legion Post 26 on Dewitt Drive in White River Junction, Vermont (a village of Hartford).
Originally established as a separate station in its own right, WNNE serves as a full-time satellite of WPTZ, the NBC affiliate for Plattsburgh, New York and Burlington, Vermont. WNNE airs the same broadcast schedule as its parent station, but airs some limited advertising specific to the Upper Valley that is added to WPTZ's programming. Master control and most internal operations are based at the WPTZ studios on Television Drive in Plattsburgh.
WNNE primarily serves the southern and eastern portions of the Plattsburgh/Burlington market including Sullivan and Grafton counties in West-Central New Hampshire. Additional viewership comes from surrounding counties in the Southern New Hampshire sub-market which is actually part of the Greater Boston designated market area. As a result, WNNE is within reach of the home territories of sister stations WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire, WMTW in Portland, Maine as well as Hearst's New England flagship, WCVB-TV in Boston, Massachusetts.
The analog channel 31 allocation in the Upper Valley was first occupied by WRLH, which signed-on July 26, 1966. It was a low-powered black-and-white NBC affiliate operating out of studios in, and licensed to, Lebanon, New Hampshire. WRLH brought NBC programming to much of the region for the first time. Although this area is part of the Burlington/Plattsburgh market, WPTZ was the only station in the region that did not operate any translators.
Despite providing the best access to NBC, WRLH failed to make any decent headway in the ratings in part because it could not air programming in color, which NBC was instrumental in making the norm for broadcasting. It finally succumbed to low viewership, went dark from August 23, 1968 to August 3, 1971, and finally went dark permanently in 1976. The calls currently reside on a Fox affiliate in Richmond, Virginia owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The Taft Broadcasting Corporation, the same company who founded KGUL-TV in Galveston, Texas (now KHOU in Houston) but unrelated to the larger Taft Broadcasting Company of Cincinnati, obtained a permit for a new channel 31 that was by then reallocated to Hartford in 1977. Initially, this new television station was assigned the call letters WMVW but went on-the-air September 25, 1978 as WNNE-TV from its current facility in White River Junction. The station was granted a waiver by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to identify as "Hartford/Hanover" in 1980 and the -TV suffix was subsequently dropped at a later time.
For its first twelve years, WNNE was a full-fledged station running its own syndicated lineup as well as network programming from NBC. In 1990, Heritage Media (then-owner of WPTZ) bought WNNE and turned it into a semi-satellite of WPTZ. For a time, most programming still originated out of WNNE, but certain shows were relayed from Plattsburgh through a new microwave relay system. In 2000, WPTZ moved WNNE's master control to its studios in Plattsburgh. This move would be followed by WNNE's website being integrated into a separate section of WPTZ's website in July 2001.
On July 20, 2005, this station began broadcasting a standard definition digital signal on UHF channel 25 from a transmitter on WVTA's nearby tower on Mount Ascutney. WNNE, unlike WPTZ, did not add a second digital subchannel when NBC Weather Plus launched on November 15 of the year. Despite this, the two stations featured common weather graphics seen during all newscasts that referred to the 24-hour weather channel as "NewsChannel 5 & 31 Weather Plus". The service could be seen on Comcast digital channel 196 in the Upper Valley. In December 2008, NBC shut down the national Weather Plus service.
WPTZ continued offering a locally derived version of "NewsChannel 5 & 31 Weather Plus" until August 31, 2009 when it was replaced with This TV. As with Weather Plus, the new network offering was not added to a second digital subchannel of WNNE. Comcast systems in the Upper Valley initially relocated WPTZ-DT2 to digital channel 296 before moving it to the current location on channel 302. On January 2, 2013, This TV programming was replaced on 5.2 with its sister network Me-TV (both networks are owned by Weigel Broadcasting).
On March 4, 2013, WPTZ's second digital subchannel assumed the CW affiliation for the Plattsburgh/Burlington market from WFFF-DT2. Programming from Me-TV will remain on WPTZ-DT2 during all time periods outside of the weeknight prime time (8 until 10) slot. Despite adding The CW, there has been no announcement made public if WNNE will add the network in order to increase the broadcasting radius. Currently, access is solely through the digital tier of Comcast systems in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. Even after separating The CW and MeTV onto their own subchannels as of September 15, 2014, WNNE still has not added the two programming services.
During the analog era and some of the digital-only broadcasting period, it operated a repeater, W65AM on channel 65. Licensed to White River Junction, this signal had a transmitter west of Lebanon on Crafts Hill. W65AM had its license cancelled by the FCC on March 19, 2010. This translator was within reach of a former analog repeater operated by sister station WMTW based in Portland, Maine. Also licensed to White River Junction, the translator was established in 2005 after WMTW moved its main transmitter from Mount Washington closer to the Greater Portland area in Maine.
That signal had a transmitter located in Hanover's Mascoma section. FCC regulations do not allow two or more stations from two or more different markets have coverage in the same location (in this case, White River Junction). This rule does not apply to repeaters so WMTW's translator was allowed to operate. Hearst sold the low-powered repeater to New Hampshire Public Television in 2009 after taking it silent following the loss of its lease of the transmitter site. On some cable systems in Central Vermont (such as Charter Communications systems serving Barre, St. Johnsbury and Chelsea; and Comcast in Rutland), both WPTZ and WNNE are carried even though the two station's schedules are identical.
On August 2, 2016 WNNE dropped its "Channel 31" branding and its logo in favor of its new logo and branding; WNNE now uses WPTZ's "NBC 5" branding and logo instead of using the "NBC 31" branding and logo; making WNNE and WPTZ the only NBC affiliated station owned by Hearst Television to include the NBC name to its branding. This eliminated nearly all on-air references to WNNE as a separate station; it is now only mentioned during WPTZ' legal IDs.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1||1080i||16:9||WNNE-HD||Main WNNE programming / NBC|
WNNE discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 31, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 25. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 31.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, WNNE operated a fairly large news department for a station of its size. The original anchor team consisted of Mike Harding with news, John Yacavone providing weather, and sports from Rick Karle. On-air personnel routinely performed multiple tasks often shooting, editing, and producing their entire stories for air. During the week, the station offered local news and weather updates from 7 until 9 at :25 and :55 past the hour during Today on weekday mornings in lieu of a traditional broadcast.
Full newscasts aired weekdays at noon (for thirty minutes) as well as weeknights at 6 and 11. In addition, there were also prime time weather forecast cut-ins provided during network programming. However, it did not produce any weekend news shows. All newscasts aired out of WNNE's studios in the basement of the Pines Motel that is now a former Regency Inn & Suites property.
In the mid-1980s, NBC wanted satellite truck coverage in the Northeastern United States, particularly New England. Due to WNNE's central location, it was considered a perfect fit and a new satellite vehicle partially funded by the network was stationed at the outlet's White River Junction studios. The station also maintained its own satellite truck that assisted in local news gathering efforts in the Upper Valley and the surrounding areas. In the mid-1990s, both satellite trucks including the network-owned vehicle were acquired by WPTZ. The latter actually remained in service with a WPTZ logo until 2003.
After being acquired by Heritage Media in 1990, WNNE's local operations were significantly cut back. This eventually culminated in the cancellation of the station's newscasts in June 2001. By then, it had eliminated the weekday morning and weekday noon newscasts with the station simulcasting only the 6 a.m. hour of WPTZ's morning show and Today cut-ins. WNNE's noon show would be replaced with an infomercial. After dropping full separate local broadcasts on weeknights, the station began inserting updates originating from its White River Junction studios during the WPTZ newscast simulcasts. There were also separate Upper Valley-specific weather forecasts provided. To further establish a link between WNNE and WPTZ, the microwave link between the two was upgraded in order to allow live news coverage from WNNE to air on WPTZ. This move also allowed WPTZ's reports from Montpelier and New York State to be seen on WNNE.
In 2007, the weeknight news updates were dropped as well. Since then, WNNE has functioned as WPTZ's "Upper Valley Newsroom" and is referred to as such during all newscasts. After this change, there was only a separate title opening that remained indicating WNNE was ever a separate station. Eventually, the news opening was dropped as well. Previously during all local news programming, the station superimposes its channel 31 logo over the channel 5 logo in the right hand corner of the screen. On occasion when WNNE has technical problems, WPTZ's logo will peek through. Contributions by WNNE to WPTZ's newscasts include video footage and a live headline (weeknights at 5:30) from its White River Junction studios (which is staffed with a full-time multimedia journalist). In addition to the Upper Valley and another Vermont bureau in Colchester covering Burlington, WPTZ also airs national news from a Washington, D.C. bureau that is operated by Hearst. It employs several reporters who give live reports to the various company-owned affiliates.
Despite including "HD" in its logo, all newscasts were aired in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition until April 26, 2011 when WPTZ finally upgraded to 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. Although not truly high definition, broadcasts match the aspect ratio of HD television screens. That station was one of six remaining outlets owned by Hearst that had yet to make the upgrade to local news in enhanced definition or full HD-level. For a period of time thereafter, the simulcasts on WNNE remained in pillarboxed 4:3 due to lack of a high definition-capable master control for WNNE at WPTZ's studios in Plattsburgh. This has since been upgraded as well.
On August 2, 2016, following the change to "NBC 5", the newscasts was retitled to NBC 5 News; in addition, the station no longer superimposes the channel 31 logo and it began using the "NBC 5" logo during all of its local news programming.
Notable former on-air staff
- ""A Trail of Bleached Bones" at the Dumont Network History site".
- ""A Trail of Bleached Bones" at the Dumont Network History site".
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1978 (PDF). 1978. p. B-116. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1979 (PDF). 1979. p. B-109. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1981 (PDF). 1981. p. B-117. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- "Application Search Details (1)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- "Application Search Details (2)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- TheChamplainChannel.com - WNNE
- Me-TV Adds WPTZ Burlington, KVLY Fargo, TVNewsCheck, November 14, 2012.
- Per Zap2it, zip codes 05819 (St. Johnsbury) and 05038 (Chelsea).
- Per Zap2it, zip codes 05701.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WNNE
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- WNNE TV 31 - Hanover/Hartford
- TV Hat: WNNE (NBC)
- "News 31". WNNE Online. Archived from the original on October 19, 2000. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
- "WNNE Programming Guide". WNNE Online. Archived from the original on October 26, 2000. Retrieved November 25, 2009.