WFXT is a television station owned and operated (O&O) by the News Corporation-owned Fox Broadcasting Company, located in Boston, Massachusetts. The station's studio and office facility is in Dedham, Massachusetts, and its transmitter is located in Needham, Massachusetts. WFXT is one of six Boston television stations seen in Canada by subscribers of the Bell TV satellite service.
|Branding||Fox 25 (general)|
25 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Whatever it Takes|
|Channels||Digital: 31 (UHF)Virtual: 25 (PSIP)|
|Owner||Cox Media Group|
(Cox Media Group Northeast, LLC)
|First air date||October 10, 1977|
|Call letters' meaning||We're FoX Television|
|Former callsigns||WXNE-TV (1977–1987)|
|Former channel number(s)||25 (UHF analog, 1977–2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1977–1986)|
|Transmitter power||780 kW|
Channel 25 signed on as WXNE-TV (for "Christ (X) in New England") on October 10, 1977. The station was originally owned by the Christian Broadcasting Network. The early format consisted of older syndicated reruns which were deemed to be "family-friendly", a healthy dose of religious programming (including CBN's own The 700 Club), and programs of many other televangelists. Religious programming ran for about six hours a day during the week, and all day on Sundays. The station also picked up the daily and Sunday Mass from the Boston Catholic Television Center.
Secular programming consisted of westerns, old movies, family type drama shows, old film shorts, and classic TV shows. By 1980, the religious programming was cut back on Sundays to 6 to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight, and about four to five hours a day during the week.
The station began adding more cartoons, made-for-TV movies, and off network sitcoms and family dramas in the early 1980s. At the same time, the station rebranded itself "Boston 25", in the conversion to being a true independent. While the station was only on cable systems in the Greater Boston market, WXNE was a solid third among independent stations, behind the longer-established WSBK-TV and WLVI-TV, and sixth among commercial television stations.
In 1986, WXNE was put up for sale along with other CBN stations. That October, News Corporation purchased WXNE, with plans to make the station Boston's affiliate for its new network, Fox, which had been unable to secure affiliation with WSBK or WLVI. Until the sale was completed, channel 25 did not air what was then the network's lone offering, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, Fox's inaugural program and a weeknight show which aired opposite Johnny Carson's Tonight Show on NBC. The outgoing CBN ownership believed that the program did not fit its strict content guidelines. Fox instead contracted Boston radio station WMRE (1510 AM, now WWZN) to carry the audio portion of the Late Show in the interim.
When the sale to Murdoch was completed on January 19, 1987, Fox renamed the station WFXT and made a complete overhaul of the station's presentation. Besides adding The Late Show to the schedule, The 700 Club was demoted to a once-a-day airing, and the daily broadcast of a Roman Catholic Mass was moved to an earlier timeslot. The station changed its graphics to the then-Fox O&O model in Friz Quadrata font. WXNE staff announcer Chris Clausen was let go in favor of the services of Fox affiliate voiceover Beau Weaver, who would remain with both the station and Fox Television Stations for over a decade (Clausen would eventually land on WNEV-TV, now WHDH, as principal announcer that September). The schedule, however, was largely unchanged at the outset, outside of the removal of several older sitcoms that soon resurfaced at WQTV (now WBPX-TV). On April 5, 1987, the Sunday evening religious programming block was finally discontinued, when the Fox network began programming a Sunday primetime lineup.
Over the next few years, WFXT was unable to acquire the better programming and continued to only get shows that WSBK, WLVI, and the network affiliates passed on. Most of the shows added to WFXT were low-budget, first-run syndicated shows, cartoons and additional Fox programming.
In purchasing channel 25, Fox was granted a temporary waiver of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule prohibiting the common ownership of a television station and a newspaper in the same market. Fox's parent company, News Corporation, also published the Boston Herald. In 1989, Fox placed WFXT in a trust company; the next year it sold the station outright to the Boston Celtics, who maintained the network affiliation while making WFXT the basketball team's flagship. The station also gained a radio sister station, as the Celtics also purchased WEEI (then at 590 AM, now WEZE; now at 850 AM) at the same time. The Celtics, however, did not have the financial means to compete as a broadcaster. Still, under the Celtics, WFXT finally began to acquire stronger programming.
By 1992, WFXT was on many more cable systems in areas of New England where Fox programming was not available. Locally, however, the station was still third (though not as distant as the CBN or early Fox days), behind WSBK and WLVI. Still, for a while under the Celtics' watch, WFXT was perceived to be in danger of losing its Fox affiliation. One of the instances was in the summer of 1994, when Westinghouse Broadcasting signed a deal to affiliate all of its stations with CBS, which caused WBZ-TV to drop NBC for CBS at the beginning of 1995. Existing CBS affiliate WHDH-TV was thus deciding between NBC and Fox, the latter of which its sister station, WSVN in Miami had been affiliated with since 1989. However, the Celtics soon began dropping hints about its intention to sell the station, including the shifting of the team's over-the-air telecasts to WSBK in 1993 (though WFXT officially stated that this was due to the difficulty of scheduling telecasts around the Fox lineup); furthermore, that October, Fox, as part of a larger deal, obtained an option to repurchase the station. News Corporation sold the Boston Herald in February 1994, opening the door for Fox to exercise the option in mid-1995. (WHDH ultimately signed with NBC.)
As the 1990s progressed, WFXT began phasing in more talk and reality programs. It continued running weekday cartoons and evening sitcoms. It was the last station running a morning kids block. WFXT was the television flagship of the Boston Red Sox for the baseball team's 2000 through 2002 seasons. WFXT is the only Boston television station that has never changed its network affiliation, having always been a Fox affiliate since the network's inception. The station launched a new website based on the Fox Television Stations internet division's new My Fox interface as of May 23, 2006. It became standard on all Fox owned-and-operated station websites in the next few months. However, the new site did not become WFXT's official web address until July 12.
At one point, the station was "tentatively planning" to air News Corporation-owned and Fox sister network MyNetworkTV from 1 to 3 p.m. on the weekdays if the new network could not find an affiliate in the Boston market. On July 21, 2006, Derry, New Hampshire-based WZMY-TV was announced as Boston's affiliate of MyNetworkTV (which began operations on September 5). Although MyNetworkTV does not air on WFXT, the station has promoted programming for the network during its newscasts.
On October 12, 2007, Providence, Rhode Island's Fox affiliate, WNAC-TV, invoked the FCC's network non-duplication rule. This resulted in Comcast blacking out Fox primetime and sports programming from WFXT on its cable systems in Bristol County, Massachusetts. This change did not affect the airing of channel 25's syndicated lineup or newscasts. On July 31, 2008, the Charter system in Westport also became subject to the blackouts; this contributed to its eventual removal from that system on September 23. WFXT is also not available on the Verizon FiOS cable system in the area.
WFXT's analog signal began malfunctioning on November 1, 2008 as a result of a power surge forcing the station to reduce its power. By December 9, the antenna deteriorated to the point that the station reduced its power to the point that in most areas, viewers could then only receive the station via cable, satellite, and its digital signal. The station then began to state that the possibility existed that channel 25 could have to cease its analog broadcast ahead of the DTV conversion date, at that time February 17, 2009. In the end, the station's analog service remained on the air even after that date (a result of the transition being delayed to June 12); however, after the antenna continued to fail (to the extent that the station estimated the signal was only reaching three percent of its former coverage, with no signal at all at the station's studio), the analog signal was finally shut off on February 27, 2009.
WFXT ceased broadcasting in analog on February 27, 2009, becoming the second English-language station from the six major networks in Boston to do so after WZMY-TV ceased analog broadcasting in December 2008, and the only Fox Television station not to terminate on the new June 12 transition date.
Many Boston-area residents had complained about poor reception of WFXT-DT compared to other major local broadcasters. This was due to the transmitter previously operating under a reduced power output of 78–kW from a side-mounted antenna. Bill Holbrook, Chief Engineer for WFXT, stated publicly that the full power broadcast would not be reached until August 2009, when construction of a new antenna and transmitter would be complete. However completion of the signal upgrades were completed in April 2009, when the new high power transmitter was turned on for the first time, giving WFXT a signal considered to be at par with the other high power stations licensed to Boston. The new antenna and transmission feedline had been replaced two weeks earlier. The license to cover, BLCDT-20090422ABH, was filed April 23, 2009.
It was also alleged that one reason for the previous low power broadcasts may be due to requirements to avoid interference with WTIC-TV, a Fox affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut which also broadcasts on the same digital channel (31) from less than 100 miles away. However, this allegation was false; other Fox-owned stations including Philadelphia's WTXF declined to build out full-powered facilities prior to the transition date due to insufficient space in the transmitter building, on the tower, or both.
One of the few productive moves WFXT made under the Boston Celtics' ownership tenure was commissioning the regional cable channel New England Cable News (NECN) to produce a 10 p.m. newscast, which was launched on September 7, 1993. Fox 25 News at 10 aired for a half-hour, and was initially anchored by Heather Kahn, with Tim Kelley on weather. Kahn lasted a year and a half in this role before transferring to ABC affiliate WCVB-TV; Lila Orbach replaced her on the newscast.WFXT broadcasts a total of 40 hours of local news a week (seven and a half hours on weekdays, one hour on Saturdays and an hour and a half on Sundays). During weather segments, the station uses live National Weather Service radar data, which originates from the Local Forecast Office in Taunton.
WFXT opted not to renew its contract with NECN in September 1995, with the final broadcast airing October 1; the next day, NECN moved the newscast to WSBK. For the next year, there was no local news on WFXT, and news programming consisted primarily of national Fox News updates that aired during the day. During this time, the station built an in-house news department from scratch, culminating in the September 9, 1996 launch of a new 10 p.m. broadcast, initially branded as Fox News Bostonbefore reviving the Fox 25 News title. It was the second-to-last Fox-owned station to make such a launch.
Over the next decade, channel 25 expanded its news operation gradually. On June 4, 2001, WFXT added a 4:30 p.m., female-targeted newscast anchored by Jodi Applegate. By fall 2002, the program was moved to 5 p.m., and on September 22, 2003, it was expanded to an hour and began using the same anchors and a similar format as the 10 p.m. broadcast, as Applegate became co-anchor, along with former WHDH-TV sports director Gene Lavanchy, of a three-hour weekday morning newscast from 6 to 9 a.m., which launched the same day. A year later, Applegate left WFXT for sister station WNYW's Good Day New York and was replaced by former WHDH and WBZ-TV anchor Kim Carrigan. The station added an hour-long Sunday morning newscast at 9 a.m. on September 12, 2004; it was dropped in July 2009. A Sunday-Friday night 11 p.m. newscast, which immediately follows the 10 p.m. news, was added on November 5, 2007; the weekday morning newscast has also expanded since its launch, and has aired from 4:30 to 10 a.m. since September 20, 2010. The 5 p.m. newscast, which consistently placed fourth in its timeslot, was discontinued in favor of a half-hour 6 p.m. newscast on September 14, 2009. As such, WFXT is the only Fox O&O with a 6 p.m. newscast, but no 5 p.m. newscast. WFXT is also one of only three Fox O&Os without a midday newscast (along with WNYW in New York City and WOFL in Orlando).
Concurrent with the debut of the morning newscast, WFXT unveiled a 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) newsroom similar to that of WHDH, which also serves as the station's news set; it remains in use to this day. Channel 25 also opened a news bureau on Beacon Hill near the state house in downtown Boston, which serves as an interview location for Massachusettslawmakers as well as a home base for weekday morning commentator Doug "V.B." Goudie.
The station claims its 10 p.m. news is currently the top-rated late newscast in the Boston market. WFXT began using new music, graphics, and "Fox 25" logos (all based on that of its sister cable network, Fox News Channel) in all newscasts on September 3, 2006; these elements have also been used on the other Fox-owned stations.
On May 19, 2009, WFXT and CBS duopoly WBZ-TV/WSBK-TV announced a content sharing agreement between them. The stations will share video for general market news, along with a helicopter for traffic reports and breaking news. On June 14, 2009, starting with its 10 p.m. newscast, WFXT became the last station in the Boston market to launch news in high definition. The station also adopted a new graphics package, also used by the other Fox-owned stations.
On March 14, 2011 WFXT will extend its 6 p.m. newscast to one hour with the launch of an additional half-hour newscast at 6:30 p.m.; the new newscast will be the first local newscast in the Boston market in the 6:30 p.m. timeslot.
WFXT's newscasts were commonly seen in a fictional sense within the universe of David E. Kelley's Boston-set shows Ally McBeal, Boston Public, and The Practice. They were all produced by Fox's television production division 20th Century Fox Television. This was despite The Practice airing on ABC.
On February 5, 2017, WFXT renamed the newscast title 25 News.
- Fox 25 News at 10 (1993–1995)
- Fox News Boston (1996–1997)
- Fox 25 News (umbrella title; 1997–February 2017)
- 25 News (umbrella title: February 2017-present)
- 25 Morning News (September 22, 2003–present)
- Fox 25 News at 4:30 (June 4, 2001-2002)
- Fox 25 News at 5 (2002–September 11, 2009)
- 25 News at 6 (September 14, 2009-present)
- 25 News at 6:30 (March 14, 2011-present)
- 25 News at 10 (1997–present)
- 25 News at 11 (November 5, 2007–present)
- So Fox 25 (2008–present; localized version of Fox ad campaign)
- Whatever it Takes (2012-present)
Current on-air staff
- Kim Carrigan – weekday mornings "Fox 25 Morning News" (4:30-10 a.m.)
- Gene Lavanchy – weekday mornings "Fox 25 Morning News" (4:30-10 a.m.)
- Shannon Mulaire – weekends at 10, and Sundays at 11 p.m.; also sports and weekday reporter
- Mark Ockerbloom – weeknights at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Maria Stephanos – weeknights at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- Sara Underwood – weekends at 10, and Sundays at 11 p.m.; also weekday reporter
Fox 25 Weather Team
- Kevin Lemanowicz (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist; Sunday-Thursdays at 6, 10 and 11 p.m.
- A. J. Burnett (AMS Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekends at 10 and 11 p.m., also environmental reporter and weekday fill-in meteorologist
- Cindy Fitzgibbon (AMS Seal of Approval) – meteorologist; weekday mornings "Fox 25 Morning News" (4:30-10 a.m.)
- Sarah Wroblewski – meteorologist; weekend fill-in
- Ryan Asselta – sports anchor; Fridays at 6 and 11, and Friday-Saturdays at 10 p.m.; also sports reporter
- Mike Beaudet – investigative reporter
- Brett Connolly – general assignment reporter
- Ted Daniel – general assignment reporter
- Tyisha Fernandes – general assignment reporter
- Doug "V.B." Goudie – weekday morning commentator
- Jared Hollbrook – general assignment reporter
- Elizabeth Hopkins – general assignment reporter; also weekday morning fill-in anchor
- Nicole Jacobs – general assignment reporter
- Adam Pellerin – general assignment reporter
- Sharman Sacchetti – general assignment reporter
- Bob Ward – fill-in anchor; also "New England's Unsolved" segment producer
Former on-air staff
- Jodi Applegate – anchor (2001–2004)
- Jim Armstrong – weekday morning headlines and weeknight special assignment reporter (2003–2009)
- Keba Arnold – general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor (2007–2010)
- Steve Aveson – anchor (2000–2002)
- Joe Battenfeld - political editor (2003–2010)
- Melissa Bell – weather fill-in (2007–2009)
- Alison Bologna - reporter and fill-in anchor (2006–2010)
- Steve Danehy - reporter (1996–1997)
- Erin Hawksworth - reporter
- Dan Jaehnig - reporter (2003–2008)
- Anqunette Jamison - morning show anchor (2003–2008)
- Frank Mallicoat- weekend anchor and weekday reporter (2007-2011)
- Doug Meehan – reporter, later morning traffic reporter and fill-in anchor (2003–2010), now at WCVB-TV
- Debbi Rodman – reporter (2000–2009)
- Butch Stearns – sports director (1999–2009)
- Angelica Thornton – reporter (2003–2006)
- Susan Tran - reporter (2003–2006)
- David Wade – anchor (2004–2008), now on WBZ-TV
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- ^ FOX 25 to Launch 6:30 PM News
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- ^ http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1209984
- Biographies of WFXT reporters and meteorologists - WFXT website