|Channels||Digital: 27 (UHF)
Virtual: 66 (PSIP)
(UniMas Boston LLC)
|First air date||February 12, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||Univision TeleFutura|
|Former channel number(s)||
|Transmitter power||100 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WUTF-DT, virtual channel 66 (UHF digital channel 27), is an UniMás owned-and-operated television station serving Boston, Massachusetts, United States that is licensed to Marlborough. The station is owned by Univision Communications; Entravision Communications Corporation, which owns Univision affiliate WUNI (channel 27), operates WUTF under a management agreement. The two stations share studio facilities located on 4th Avenue in Needham, and its transmitter is located west of Sudbury.
The station first signed on the air on February 12, 1985 as WVJV-TV (branded as "V-66, the Beat of Boston"), maintaining a music video format at a time when they were a major part of the American culture (this was just four years after MTV launched in August 1981). The station was originally owned by longtime New England radio broadcasters John Garabedian (current host of the nationally syndicated radio show Open House Party) and Arnie "Woo-Woo" Ginsburg. Garabedian also owned WGTR (1060 AM, now WQOM); both WVJV and WGTR operated from studios in Natick. The music format combined videos from progressive rock (as heard on WBCN) and pop contemporary (as heard on WXKS-FM). Irrespective of the must-carry rule requiring cable systems to carry the station, many cable systems freely chose to carry WVJV instead of VH1. WVJV was also the first station in the Boston area to transmit in stereo.
Change from music videos to home shopping
Garabedian had hoped to launch a national over-the-air music video network (predating the existence of The Box) to compete against MTV, if WVJV had succeeded. However, although channel 66 received a sizable amount of viewers, the station struggled to retain them for long periods of time, and by mid-1986, the station's advertising sales were insufficient to ensure the station's long-term viability; additionally, attempts to broaden the station's programming to include shows on sports and other topics proved unsuccessful. Consequently, WVJV was sold to the HSN later that year, with the station transitioning to HSN's shopping programs soon afterwards on September 21, 1986; a callsign change to WHSH followed the next year. For the next thirteen years, WHSH continued to run HSN programming, with some local feature segments in-between.
A documentary film about V66 titled Life on the V: The story of V66, produced by Christian de Rezendes and Eric Green, premiered at the Independent Film Festival of Boston on April 29, 2014.
Short-lived independent format
In the late 1990s, Barry Diller, who was the owner of HSN and its broadcast television arm (USA Broadcasting, formerly Silver King Television), began plans to turn his stations into true independents. On August 1, 2000, this format was implemented on channel 66 as WHUB-TV (from Boston's nickname "The Hub"), branding as "Hub 66", and airing primarily syndicated programs (both reruns, including Cheers, Taxi and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and first-run programs); the station also obtained the rights to Boston University ice hockey games (previously held by WABU/WBPX), as well as the annual Beanpot tournament. However, at the end of 2000, USA Broadcasting was preparing to sell its stations. Disney/ABC was in the running to become the owner of WHUB (which would have created a partnership with Hearst Television-owned ABC affiliate WCVB-TV channel 5), however Univision Communications outbid them in a close race. Plans were immediately announced to make the station a charter station of what would become Telefutura (at that time referred to as Univision Duo); in the meantime, WHUB reverted to HSN programming on January 31, 2001 in an attempt by USA to cut costs, making it the shortest-ran independent-formatted station in the country. AT&T Broadband then obtained some of WHUB's programming for its AT&T 3 channel (including the 2001 Beanpot, which WHUB never telecast due to returning to HSN; the tournament has since moved to NESN; AT&T 3 would be replaced by CN8 New England in 2003, which itself would shut down in January 2009).
Channel 66 today
To reflect the pending affiliation with Telefutura, channel 66 changed its call letters to WFUB (likely standing for "TeleFUtura Boston") in November 2001. However, for unknown reasons, the station changed the callsign again just one month later, to WUTF – both changes occurred while the station was still running HSN programming. It was not until January 14, 2002 that channel 66 finally joined Telefutura, offering a general entertainment format with Spanish movies, serials, sports and children's programs (the network rebranded as UniMás on January 7, 2013).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|66.1||1080i||16:9||WUTF-DT||Main WUTF-DT programming / UniMás|
WUTF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 66, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station moved its digital signal from its pre-transition UHF channel 23 to channel 27. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 66, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
- Rudavsky, Shari (February 26, 1985). "Debut of Free Video Channel May Steal Time From Radio, MTV". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Hilliard, John (June 12, 2008). "The short, eventful life of a local music video station". The Framingham Tab. Community Newspaper Company. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (August 7, 2000). "So Long, Charles...". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- "USA Broadcasting Announces WHUB Channel 66, Boston" (Press release). USA Broadcasting. March 8, 2000. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- "WHUB-TV, A USA Broadcasting Station". WHUB-TV. Archived from the original on December 6, 2000. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (December 11, 2000). "Adios, WHUB!". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Brown, Joel (January 24, 2001). "Cubic zirconia return to WHUB". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on February 7, 2001. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (February 5, 2001). "River Flows to New Home". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (March 5, 2001). "More on Lydon/WBUR Dis-"Connect"". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (November 5, 2001). "Doing the Albany Shuffle". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (December 17, 2001). "CBC Expands French Network". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Fybush, Scott (December 24, 2001). "WHTR Makes Its Move". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WUTF
- http://www.escapetv.com/find-us/#boston_ ma
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.