WHDH owner ED Ansin says that he is giving up the fight to keep the peacock at the Boston station.
New England One reports that Ansin announced that he will no longer be fighting to keep the NBC affiliation on WHDH.
Today, Ansin announced his plans to turn WHDH into an independent news station with a heavy focus on local news coverage.
The announcement comes after an eight month long battle with Comcast/NBCUniversal over the NBC affiliation. Ansin's fight began when NBC announced its plans to pull the NBC affiliation from WHDH and move it to another station called NBC Boston. At the time, New England One reported that NBC was considering WNEU for NBC Boston. Ansin proceeded to go to court over this move, saying WNEU's signal reaches only half the people that WHDH's signal reaches.
However, Judge Richard G. Stearns dismissed Ansin's lawsuit in May, saying WHDH cannot legally demand contract negotiations with NBCUniversal.
Even without the NBC affiliation, Ansin will operate WHDH as a news heavy station. When the NBC affiliation officially moves off of WHDH in 2017, the station will launch a 9pm newscast and expand its morning newscast Today in New England from 5-7am to 5-10am, providing five hours of local news in the morning. The station will also simulcast WLVI-TV CW56's 10pm newscast. On weekends, newscasts will air at 8-11 a.m., 6-7:30 p.m. and 9-11:30 pm.
Ansin plans to hire another 30 staffers to increase the station's news operation. Currently, WHDH has a staff about 300 full-time and part-time employees.
“With our expanded newscasts we continue our commitment to informing our viewers and investing in the community. 7News will be more accessible at the times viewers need,” said Paul Magnes, WHDH VP-GM. “We’re especially excited about our new 9 p.m. newscast, because viewing habits have changed. People are recording traditional primetime programs and watching them later. Now they will be able to watch a live newscast with vital and compelling information they want before they go to bed.”