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City of license New Haven, Connecticut
Branding News 8
Slogan Who's Got Your Back? News 8
Channels Digital: 10 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Subchannels 8.1 ABC
8.2 Bounce TV
Affiliations ABC
Owner LIN Media, LLC
(WTNH Broadcasting, Inc.)
First air date June 15, 1948; 66 years ago (1948-06-15)
Call letters' meaning Television for New Haven
Sister station(s) WCTX
Former callsigns WNHC-TV (1948-1971)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
6 (VHF, 1948–1953)
8 (VHF, 1953–2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (1948–1956)
CBS (1948–1956)
NBC (1949–1955)
Transmitter power 20.5 kW
Height 342 m
Facility ID 74109
Transmitter coordinates

41°25′22.7″N 72°57′4.1″W / 41.422972°N 72.951139°W / 41.422972; -72.951139

Licensing authority FCC
Public license information:

WTNH, virtual channel 8 (VHF digital channel 10), is an ABC-affiliated television station located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. The station is owned by LIN Media, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate WCTX (channel 59). The two stations share studios on Elm Street in downtown New Haven, and WTNH broadcasts from a transmitter located in Hamden, Connecticut.


What today is WTNH first went on the air on June 15, 1948, as WNHC-TV, originally broadcasting on channel 6. The station was founded by the Elm City Broadcasting Corporation, the owners of WNHC radio (1340 AM, now WYBC; and 99.1 FM, now WPLR).[1] It is Connecticut's oldest television station and the second-oldest in New England (WBZ-TV in Boston signed on less than a week earlier). It was originally an affiliate of the DuMont Television Network, and claims to have been the first full-time station of that short-lived network.[2] The station broadcast from WNHC radio's building on Chapel Street in downtown New Haven, but with no studio facilities of its own. Without means to produce local programming, WNHC-TV simply rebroadcast the signal of DuMont's New York City flagship, WABD (now WNYW).[3] In October 1948, the station became an affiliate of CBS,[4] and additional secondary affiliations with NBC and ABC followed a year later.[5][6]

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Sixth Report and Order ended the four-year freeze on television license awards in 1952, it also reorganized station allocations to alleviate interference issues. As a result, WNHC-TV changed frequencies and moved to channel 8 in late 1953. The next year, the FCC combined Hartford and New Haven into a single market. WNHC-TV shared some CBS programming with New Britain's WKNB-TV (channel 30, now WVIT) until 1955, since WKNB's signal was not strong enough to cover New Haven at the time.

In 1956, the WNHC stations were bought by Triangle Publications of Philadelphia.[7] Also that same year, WNHC-TV lost its CBS affiliation when that network purchased WGTH-TV in Hartford (channel 18, later WHCT and now WUVN). This left channel 8 as a sole ABC affiliate, although it shared network programming with WATR-TV (channel 20, now WCCT-TV) in nearby Waterbury until 1966.

Until WTIC-TV (channel 3, now WFSB) signed on in September 1957, WNHC-TV was the only station on the VHF dial in Connecticut. Many viewers northeast of Hartford used outdoor antennas to get spotty reception of CBS and NBC programs from Boston, and those southwest of Hartford with outdoor TV antennas got equally spotty reception from their respective New York flagship stations. By contrast, most of Connecticut got a clear picture and pitch-perfect sound from channel 8.

Triangle was forced to sell its television stations in 1971 after then-Pennsylvania Governor Milton J. Shapp complained the company had used its Pennsylvania stations in a smear campaign against him. The WNHC stations were among the first batch to be sold, going to Capital Cities Communications, along with sister stations in Philadelphia and Fresno, California.[8][9] However, Capital Cities could not keep the radio stations because of the FCC's then-restrictions on ownership, resulting in WNHC-AM-FM being spun-off to separate third parties.[10] WNHC-TV changed its call letters to the current WTNH-TV in April 1971, not long after Capital Cities officially took over (the station dropped the -TV suffix from its calls in 1985, but continued to call itself "WTNH-TV" on-air well into the 1990s).

Capital Cities bought ABC in 1986 in a deal that stunned the broadcast industry.[11] However, the merged company chose not to keep WTNH due to a significant signal overlap with ABC's flagship station, WABC-TV in New York City. Like the other major stations in Connecticut, WTNH's city-grade signal reaches Fairfield County, which is part of the New York City market. It also provides at least grade B coverage to most of Long Island.[12] At the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping coverage areas, and would not even consider granting a waiver for a city-grade overlap. As a result, WTNH was spun off to Cook Inlet Television Partners, a subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., an Alaska Native Regional Corporation.[13] During the mid-1980s, the syndicated Sally Jessy Raphael talk show originated from the WTNH studios in New Haven, until the show moved to New York City.

Cook Inlet sold WTNH to current owner LIN Television in 1994. When a new UHF independent station in New Haven, WTVU (channel 59, now WCTX) signed on in 1995, WTNH began operating the station through a local marketing agreement (LMA). In 2001, LIN TV bought WCTX outright. On May 18, 2007, the company announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could have resulted in the sale of the company.[14] It was the first station in the country to use videotape for local programming and one of the first to broadcast in color.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[15]
8.1 720p 16:9 WTNH-DT Main WTNH programming / ABC
8.2 480i 4:3 Bounce Bounce TV
8.3 WTNHSD Standard-definition simulcast of 8.1

Analog-to-digital conversion

WTNH shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, 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's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 10.[16] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.

Cable and satellite availability

During the 1970s and 1980s through CATV, WTNH once had carriage in portions of northeastern New Jersey in Bergen County and much of Long Island east of New York City.[17]

News operation

WTNH presently broadcasts 28½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition to its main studios, WTNH operates a New London Bureau in The New London Day newsroom on Eugene O'Neill Drive and a Hartford Bureau on Columbus Boulevard. Along with regional NOAA National Weather Service radar data, the station operates its own weather radar near its transmitter site in Hamden. Together, these two sources are called "SkyMax Doppler Network". This can be seen via live video with audio from the National Weather Service on WTNH's website.

For over a quarter century, the station used the Action News format made famous at former Philadelphia sister station WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV), even using the same "Move Closer to Your World" music and graphics packages as WPVI. It rebranded to the NewsChannel title in 1996. For most of the last half-century, WTNH has been a distant runner-up in the market to dominant WFSB. However, in recent times, it has had to fend off a spirited challenge from WVIT. The two stations have spent the last decade trading the runner-up spot.

Historically, WTNH's ratings for news and local programming are far higher in Nielsen's "Metro B" area (New Haven County) than "Metro A" (Hartford County). However, this trend does not hold true for network programming. Of all the stations in Connecticut with news operations, WTNH provides the most coverage of Fairfield County and the Long Island Sound shoreline. On weekdays, there is also a focus on traffic reports on I-95/Connecticut Turnpike and CT 15/Merritt Parkway to serve commuters heading towards New York City.

Since 2000, WTNH has been producing a nightly prime time newscast at 10 on WBNE/WCTX. It has competed right from the start with WTIC-TV's 10 p.m. broadcast, which established itself as a viewer favorite since it debuted in 1989. As of the February 2008 ratings period, WCTX's weeknight newscast is actually the most watched 10 or broadcast in the market even gathering more viewership than the 11 p.m. newscasts on Connecticut's Big Three stations. In 2005, WCTX began simulcasting the second hour of WTNH's weekday morning show (at 6) followed by a third hour from 7 to 8 a.m. that was seen exclusively on WCTX, except for simulcast Good Morning America cut-ins on WTNH. The second hour was eventually dropped for an unknown reason. The 7 a.m. hour received competition on March 3, 2008 when WTIC launched its own weekday morning show.

Its weekday noon newscast was originally an hour long, but was reduced to 30 minutes on February 23, 2009 when a new lifestyle/entertainment magazine show known as Connecticut Style was added at 12:30 p.m. On April 26, 2010, WTNH re-branded from News Channel 8 to News 8. In addition, WTNH began broadcasting its newscasts in 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition, with WCTX's newscasts and Connecticut Style being included in the upgrade. On October 4, 2010, WTNH became the third station in the market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. WCTX's newscasts also made the transition, while Connecticut Style made the transition in 2011.

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • The WNHC-TV Newsreel (1948-1952)
  • Your Esso Reporter (1952-1957)
  • World News Today (1953-1957)
  • Television 8 News (1957–1960)
  • Channel 8 News (1960–1972)
  • Newswire (1965-1972)
  • Action News (1972–1996)
  • NewsChannel 8 (1996–2010)
  • News 8 (2010–present)

Station slogans

  • "Drive Alive in '65" (1965)
  • "Connecticut's News Leader" (1992–1996)
  • "Working For You" (1996–2003)
  • "Coverage You Can Count On" (2003–2010)
  • "Count on 8" (2009–2010)
  • "Who's Got Your Back? News 8" (2010–present)

News team

  • Sonia Baghdady - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Anne Craig - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on WTNH and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WCTX)
  • Darren Kramer - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 10:00 (WCTX) and 11:00 p.m.
  • Keith Kountz - weekdays at noon and weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
  • Don Lark - fill-in anchor
  • Erin Logan - weekends at 6:00, 10:00 (WCTX) and 11:00 p.m.; also reporter
  • Ann Nyberg - weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. (WCTX)
  • Jeff Valin - weekend mornings (6:00-8:00 a.m.); also reporter
  • Chris Velardi - weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on WTNH and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WCTX)

Storm Team 8 Meteorologists
  • Gil Simmons (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval; member, NWA) - chief meteorologist; weekday mornings (5:00-7:00 on WTNH and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WCTX) and weekdays at noon
  • Erika Martin (member, American Meteorological Society) - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 10:00 (WCTX) and 11:00 p.m.
  • Sam Kantrow -(member American Meteorological Society) weekend mornings at 6:00-8:00 a.m also fill-in
  • TBD - weekend evenings at 6:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m., (WCTX) and 11:00 p.m.; also fill-in
  • Quincy Vagell - executive producer of and weekday web producer/web meteorologist

Sports Team 8
  • Noah Finz - sports director; weeknights at 6:00, 10:00 (WCTX) and 11:00 p.m.
  • John Pierson - sports anchor; weekends at 6:00, 10:00 (WCTX) and 11:00 p.m.; also fill-in sports anchor
  • Erik Dobratz - sports producer; weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.

  • Erin Cox
  • Mark Davis - Hartford bureau chief political correspondent
  • Tina Detelj - New London bureau chief and reporter
  • David Iversen - chief investigative reporter
  • Teresa LaBarbera - weekday morning traffic reporter (5:00-7:00 on WTNH and 7:00-8:00 a.m. on WCTX) & Connecticut Style host (weekdays at 12:30 p.m.)
  • Jocelyn Maminta - health and medical correspondent; also Connecticut Style co-host (weekdays at 12:30 p.m.)
  • Nneka Nwosu
  • Kent Pierce -also fill-in anchor
  • Ali Reed - also fill-in anchor
  • Bob Wilson
  • Stephanie Simoni
  • Jay Trelease - weeknight traffic reporter (5:00 and 5:30 p.m.)
  • Noelle Gardner
  • Josh Scheinblum


External links

  • WTNH "News 8"
  • WTNH mobile
  • WCTX "My TV 9"
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WTNH
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