WNBC-TV, channel 4, is the flagship station of the NBC television network, located in New York City. WNBC's studios are co-located with NBC corporate headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan. WNBC is the sister station to Linden, New Jersey-based WNJU (flagship of the co-owned Telemundo network), and SportsNet New York, which NBCUniversal acquired a minority stake in as part of its purchase by Comcast. WNBC is the United States' oldest television station in continuous operation.
|New York, New York|
|Branding||NBC 4 New York (general) News 4 New York (newscasts)|
|Slogan||We're 4 New York (general) We are New York (promos)|
|Channels||Digital: 28 (UHF)Virtual: 4 (PSIP)|
2.1 - NBC
2.2 - Cozi TV
(NBCUniversal Media, LLC)
|First air date||July 1, 1941 (originally experimental as W2XBS 1928-1941)|
|Call letters' meaning||W
National Broadcasting Company
|Former callsigns||WNBT (1941–1954)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
|Transmitter power||200.2 kW|
|Height||397 m (1,302 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||40°44′54″N 73°59′10″W|
In the few areas of the eastern United States where viewers cannot receive NBC programs over-the-air, WNBC is available on satellite via C band, and to subscribers of DirecTV, which also provides coverage of the station to Latin America, the Caribbean and JetBlue Airways's LiveTV inflight entertainment system. DirecTV also allows subscribers in the Greater Los Angeles Area to receive the channel for an additional monthly fee. The station is also seen on certain cable providers in markets where there is no local NBC affiliate. As of March 4, 2009, WNBC is once again available on Dish Network as part of All American Direct's distant network package and is broadcast on Delta Air Lines through Dish Network.
What is now WNBC-TV traces its history to experimental station W2XBS, founded by the Radio Corporation of America (a co-founder of the National Broadcasting Company), in 1928, just two years after NBC was founded as the first nationwide radio network. Originally a test bed for the experimental RCA Photophone theater television system, W2XBS used the low-definition mechanical television scanning system, and later was used mostly for reception and interference tests. The call letters W2XBS meant W2XB-south, with W2XB being the call letters of the first experimental station, started a few months earlier at General Electric's main factory in Schenectady, NY. GE was the parent company of both RCA and NBC, and technical research was done at the Schenectady plant.
The station left the air sometime in 1933 as RCA turned its attention to all-electronic cathode ray tube (CRT) television research at itsCamden, New Jersey facility, under the leadership of Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin. The station originally broadcast on the frequencies of 2.0 to 2.1 megahertz. In 1929, W2XBS upgraded its transmitter and broadcast facilities to handle transmissions of sixty vertical lines at twenty frames per second, on the frequencies of 2.75 to 2.85 megahertz. In 1928, Felix the Cat was one of the first images ever broadcast by television when RCA chose a papier-mâché (later Bakelite) Felix doll for an experimental broadcast on W2XBS. The doll was chosen for its tonal contrast and its ability to withstand the intense lights needed in early television and was placed on a rotating phonograph turntable and televised for about two hours each day. The doll remained on the turntable for nearly a decade as RCA fine-tuned the picture's definition, and converted to electronic television. (Photo of Felix doll)
In 1935, the all-electronic CRT system was authorized as a "field test" project and NBC converted a radio studio in the RCA Building—now the GE Building — in New York City's Rockefeller Center for television use. In mid-1936, small-scale programming began to air to an audience of some 75 receivers in the homes of high-level RCA staff, and a dozen or so sets in a closed circuit viewing room in 52nd-floor offices of the RCA Building. The viewing room often hosted visiting organizations or corporate guests, who saw a live program produced in the studios many floors below.
Viewership of early NBC broadcasts was tightly restricted to those authorized by the company, whose installed set base eventually reached about 200. Technical standards for TV broadcasting were in flux as well. Between the time experimental transmissions began in 1935 and the beginning of commercial TV service in 1941, picture definition increased from 343 to 441 lines, and finally (in 1941) to the 525 line standard used for analog TV from the start of full commercial service until the end of analog broadcasts in mid-2009. The sound signal also was changed from AM to FM, and the spacing of sound and vision carriers was also changed several times. Shortly after NBC began a semi-regular television transmission schedule in 1938, DuMont Laboratories announced TV sets for sale to the public, a move RCA was not yet contemplating because of the ongoing shift in technical parameters. In response, NBC ceased all TV broadcasting for several months.
Firsts for W2XBS
As W2XBS, the station scored numerous "firsts", including the first televised Broadway drama (June 1938), live news event covered by mobile unit (a fire in an abandoned building in November 1938), live telecast of a Presidential speech (Franklin D. Roosevelt opening the 1939 New York World's Fair), the first live telecasts of college and Major League Baseball (both in 1939), the first telecast of a National Football League game (also in 1939), the first telecast of a National Hockey League game (early 1940), and the first network telecast of a political convention (the 1940 Republican National Convention, held June 24–28 in Convention Hall in Philadelphia). Bu t in the fall of 1940, W2XBS transmissions were put on hold once again, as the TV industry's leaders continued deliberations on technical standards through the National Committee on Television Standards before reaching consensus on several major issues, including 525-line picture definition, FM audio, a 6-megahertz wide channel, asymmetrical-sideband AM video, and 4.5-mHz spacing between the video carrier (nominally 1.25 mHz from the bottom of each channel) and audio carrier (at 5.75 mHz above the lower limit of the channel). Those parameters became standard for TV from the spring of 1941 to June 2009 and the adoption of today's all-digital system, and it was that system that W2XBS used when it resumed test operation in the spring of 1941 in preparation for the start of regular commercial TV.
First commercial TV station
On June 24, 1941; W2XBS received a commercial license under the calls WNBT (NBC Television). It was one of the first two fully licensed commercial television stations in the United States, along with CBS' WCBW (now WCBS-TV). The NBC and CBS stations were licensed and instructed to sign on simultaneously on July 1 so that neither of the major broadcast companies could claim exclusively to be "first." However WCBW did not manage to sign on the air until 2:30 p.m., one full hour after WNBT. Thus, WNBC inadvertently holds the distinction as the oldest continuously operating station in the United States, and also the only one ready to accept sponsors from its beginning.
WNBT originally broadcast on channel 1. On its first day on the air, WNBT broadcast the world's first television commercial before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers andPhiladelphia Phillies. The ten-second spot for Bulova watches, for which the company paid $9.00, displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over "America runs on Bulova time." The Voice of Firestone, a mainstay on NBC radio since 1928, became the first regularly scheduled TV program not featuring news or sports, when it began on WNBT on November 29, 1943 (though a trial episode of Truth or Consequences aired on WNBT's first week of programming two years earlier; it eventually returned to TV in the 1950s).
During World War II, RCA diverted key technical TV staff to the U.S. Navy, who were interested in developing a television-guided bomb. WNBT's studio and program staff were placed at the disposal of the New York City Police Department and used for Civil Defense training, with only a limited number of weekly programs for general audiences airing during much of the war. Programming began to grow on a small scale during 1944. During that period, WNBT began feeding The Voice of Firestone Televues, a pioneering news and information magazine show, each week to a small network of stations including General Electric-owned WRGB in Schenectady, New York and Philco's WPTZ-TV (now KYW-TV) in Philadelphia. This program is considered to be the NBC television network's first regularly scheduled program in its history.
On May 8, 1945, WNBT broadcast hours of news coverage on the end of World War II in Europe, and remotes from around New York City. This event was pre-promoted by NBC with a direct-mail card sent to television set owners in the New York City area. At one point, a WNBT camera placed atop the marquee of the Astor Hotel in New York City panned the crowd below celebrating the end of the war in Europe. The vivid coverage was a prelude to television's rapid growth after the war ended.
In the spring of 1946, the station changed its frequency from channel 1 to channel 4 after VHF channel 1 was removed from use for television broadcasting. From 1946 to 2009 it occupied the 66-72 mHz band of frequencies which had been designated as "channel 3" in the pre-1946 FCC allocation table but was renumbered Channel 4 in the postwar system. (WABD (nowWNYW) had been designated as "Channel 4" before that station moved to the current channel 5 but was only required to retune its video and audio carriers downward by 2 mHz under the new system.) In October 1948, WNBT's operations were integrated with those of sister station WNBC radio (660 AM, frequency now occupied by WFAN).
The station changed its call letters on October 18, 1954, to WRCA-TV (for NBC's then-parent company, RCA) and on May 22, 1960, channel 4 became WNBC-TV. NBC had previously used the callsign on its television station in New Britain, Connecticut, from 1957 until it was sold earlier in 1960. That station is now WVIT, and is once again an NBC-owned station.
WNBC-TV also earned a place in broadcasting history as the birthplace of The Tonight Show. It began on the station in 1953 as a local late-night program, The Steve Allen Show and NBC executive Sylvester "Pat" Weaver brought it to the network in 1954. Studio 6B, the show's former home under Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, would become the news studio for WNBC after Tonight departed for Los Angeles.
On June 1, 1992, channel 4 dropped the -TV suffix from its call letters and became simply WNBC, with the new branding slogan 4 New York. The accompanying station image campaign was titled We're 4 New York and featured a musical theme composed by Edd Kalehoff. WNBC was rebranded again as NBC 4 on September 5, 1995, with its newscasts being renamedNewschannel 4.
During the September 11, 2001, attacks, the transmitter facilities of WNBC, as well as eight other local television stations and several radio stations, were destroyed when two hijacked airplanes crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City. WNBC broadcast engineer Bill Steckman died in the tragedy, along with six other engineers from other television stations. After resuming over-the-air transmissions, the station broadcast from the Armstrong Tower in Alpine, New Jersey. Since 2005, WNBC is broadcasting its signal from the Empire State Building in New York City.
In 2004, WNBC served as the model station for NBC Weather Plus, a twenty-four-hour digital weather channel that airs on its second digital subchannel (4.2) and on several local cable television systems. Other NBC-owned stations launched their own Weather Plus channels in 2005, although Weather Plus was phased out at the end of 2008.
The station vacated Studio 6B in November 2008 and moved into its present-day "content center" at Studio 7E. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon now occupies 6B.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|4.1||WNBC-DT1||Main WNBC-TV Programming / NBC (HD)|
WNBC will also add the transmitter on top of the new 1 World Trade Center, will be setting in 2013.
On June 12, 2009, WNBC discontinued regular analog programming on channel 4. The station remained on its pre-transition channel 28, using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as 4. WNBC was one of two stations in New York City participating in the "Analog Nightlight" program, and did so through June 26, 2009.
Many of WNBC's personalities have been at the station for over 20 years. Chuck Scarborough has been the station's main anchor since 1974. Since 1980, he has been teamed with Sue Simmons at 11 p.m., and the two have been together longer than any anchor team in New York City television history, until she retired in 2012. Senior correspondent Gabe Pressman has been at the station since 1956, except for a seven-year stint (from 1972 to 1979) at WNEW-TV (now WNYW), until his death in 2017. Over its history, channel 4 has enjoyed success with its news department, in terms of ratings and critical acclaim. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, WNBC was involved in a fierce three-way battle with WCBS-TV and WABC-TV for the top spot in the New York television ratings. This continued during a lean period for NBC as a whole. WNBC's hallmark over the years has been strong coverage of breaking stories and a straight news product that feaures entertainment elements as well as information. Prime examples of this are Live at Five and Today in New York, which provide a mix of news, features and interviews.
WNBC-TV was the first major-market station in the country to have success with a 5 p.m. newscast, adding that program to its Sixth Hourshow at 6 p.m. in 1974 and renaming all its local newscasts NewsCenter 4. (Three of NBC's other owned-and-operated stations, in Chicago,Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, also adopted the NewsCenter name.) The moniker remained until October 1980, when they were renamed News 4 New York. Shortly before then the 5 p.m. time slot was renamed Live at Five, and the hour was reformatted from a straight news program into a mix of news and celebrity interviews. Live at Five eventually became the most-successful local program in New York City, a feat that resulted in landing the show's cast on the cover of New York magazine. For most of the time from 1980 to 1990, it used various themes written by Jim McAllister. His theme for News 4 New York was based on a synthesized version of the NBC chimes, with a graphics package featuring a lightning bolt striking its logo from 1980 to 1990, a fancy die-cut "4". In 1992, the station began calling itself 4 New York and the campaign song, written by Edd Kalehoff, was quickly adopted as the theme for the newscast. The theme was briefly brought back after the September 11, 2001, attacks. In 1995, after the station rebranded itself as NBC 4 and its newscasts asNewschannel 4, Kalehoff wrote a new theme called "NBC Stations" featuring the NBC chimes, the chime sequence is the musical notes G-E-C. It remained in use for eight years, along with a graphics package using a simple red line for the lower thirds.
The 2003 graphics package was created by Emmy Award-winner Randy Pyburn of Pyburn Films. Pyburn has produced several promotions for the station and the now-defunct Jane's New York specials hosted by former WNBC reporter Jane Hanson. The graphics package was also used on other NBC stations. The music was written by Rampage Music and featured a brassy version of the NBC chimes, and lower thirds featured a shimmering peacock. (It is noted that fellow NBC O&O KNTV currently has used this music theme since 2007, and remains so today.) In March 2008, the 4 New York branding was revived.
Many WNBC personalities have appeared, and have also moved up to the NBC network, including: Marv Albert, Len Berman, Chris Cimino, Darlene Rodriguez, Maurice DuBois, Tony Guida, Jim Hartz, Janice Huff, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Scarborough and Tom Snyder. In the past, Albert, Berman, DuBois, Guida, Roker, Lauer, Scarborough and Snyder have worked on channel 4 and at the NBC network at the same time. Huff , Rodriguez and Cimino currently does both.
One popular monthly feature is Berman's "Spanning the World", a reel of odd and interesting sports highlights from the past month, including a recorded introduction and closing by legendary NBC staff announcer Don Pardo. This segment also airs on NBC's Today on a monthly basis.
When Simmons joined the station in early 1980, she was paired with Scarborough on both the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. However, for most of the time until 2005, WNBC-TV's weeknight anchor rotation had Simmons and another male anchor (including Jack Cafferty, Guida, Lauer, and briefly Scarborough) at 5 p.m.; Scarborough and various anchors (John Hambrick, Pat Harper, and Michele Marsh among them) at 6 p.m.; and Scarborough and Simmons together at 11 p.m.. That changed in 2005 as Live at Five anchor Jim Rosenfieldjumped back to WCBS-TV, where he had once been the noon and 5 p.m. anchor and took on the role as lead anchor for their 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.
Former reporter Perri Peltz returned to WNBC to co-anchor Live at Five with Simmons, making New York City one of the few large markets with two female anchors on an evening newscast. The move harkened back to three decades earlier, when the station paired Pia Lindström with Melba Tolliver on its 5 p.m. news hour, creating one of the first all-female anchor teams on a major-market American television station.
Although a notable event, it was short-lived as Simmons and Peltz were both displaced from Live at Five because of changes in the station's early evening news line-up that went into effect on March 12, 2007: David Ushery and Lynda Baquero became co-anchors of a truncated, thirty-minute-long Live at Five broadcast, followed by Peltz with a thirty-minute, soft-news program, News 4 You. Simmons was moved to co-anchor at 6 p.m. with Scarborough.
On September 13, 2006, WNBC-TV became the first New York City television station to broadcast its newscasts in high definition.
In early May 2007, WNBC brought back its popular campaign song "We're 4 New York", composed by Kalehoff, after nearly six years off air (after the September 11, 2001, attacks).
In early Autumn 2007, this brought additional changes to WNBC's early-evening lineup. On September 10, the station moved the newsmagazine series Extra to 5 p.m., and cancelledLive at Five. News 4 You remained at 5:30 p.m., but was replaced on October 15 with a traditional newscast, anchored by Simmons and Michael Gargiulo. The 6 p.m. newscast is now anchored by Ushery and Baquero, and New York Nightly News, a new half-hour newscast with Scarborough as sole anchor, debuted at 7 p.m..
Unfortunately, these changes didn't result to an increase in WNBC's ratings in the November 2007 sweeps period. The most shocking of WNBC's ratings decrease is their 11 p.m. newscast as it fell to third place, behind WCBS and WABC. WNBC altered their 5 p.m.-6:00 p.m. hour on January 2, 2008, swapping the half-hour news at 5:30 with Extra. On March 9, 2009, with the launch of New York Nonstop on digital subchannel 4.2, New York Nightly News was moved to the subchannel and expanded to one hour, while Extra was moved back to 7 p.m. and the 5 p.m.-6 p.m. hour returned to a full hour of news. Still, WNBC's ratings have struggled: In the March 2009 sweeps period, its newscasts were a distant third in all time slots except weekday mornings. On May 7, 2008, NBC Universal announced plans for a major restructuring of WNBC-TV's news department. The centerpiece of the restructuring is the creation of a twenty-four-hour all-news channel, which operates on WNBC's second digital subchannel (4.2). Channel 4's current news operations were revamped and melded into the all-news channel, which serve as a "content center" for the station's various local distribution platforms.
The digital news channel was launched on March 9, 2009.
In the fall of 2008, WNBC started beta-testing a new website which is apparently poised to be one of the major platforms for their content center. On November 17, 2008, WNBC moved its news studio from Studio 6B to 7E and rolled out a new set design, graphics package and theme song written by veteran TV composer Frank Gari. This move comes after months of planning of the new content newsroom with its twenty-four-hour-news digital sub-channel. It was also their debut of WNBC's updated "4 New York" logo, using letters that was used in KNTV's branding when KNTV debuted its logo a few months earlier.
On June 16, 2009, WNBC announced that its 5 p.m. newscast would be replaced in September by a one-hour daily lifestyle and entertainment show by LX.TV entitled LX New York. After this change, WNBC will, with only three hours per day of local news, have the shortest airtime devoted to local news of any station owned and operated by a "big 3" network. On July 30, 2009, WNBC introduced a new look to its websites. In the fall of 2009, WNBC began sharing its news helicopter with Fox owned-and-operated WNYW (channel 5). The SkyFox HD helicopter operated by WNYW on-air is now called "Chopper 4", when used by WNBC.
In June 2012, after Sue Simmons retired, Chuck Scarborough had anchored the 11 P.M. weeknight newscasts with Shiba Russell, but not for long, then co-anchored with Sibila Vargas on the 6 P.M. & 11 P.M. weeknight newscasts from 2013 to 2016. On June 11, 2016, with the beginning with the 11 P.M. newscast, WNBC news graphics did changed and its began using "Look N" graphics from NBC artworks, becoming the first NBC-owned station to use the new graphics that were rolled out to other NBC-owned stations around that time. 2 days later, the station debuted its 4 P.M. weekday newscast, anchored by Stefan Holt and Natalie Pasquarella, in which WNBC became only the 2nd New York television station to expand its newscasts to that time period after WABC-TV (who would begin their 4 P.M. weekday newscasts in May 2011).
Late 2016 to July 2017, Scarborough co-anchored with Natalie Pasquarella on the 6 P.M. & 11 P.M. weeknight newscasts. On December 21, 2016, the station announced that they would move its midday newscast to 11 A.M. (which would be the first and only 11 a.m. midday weekday newscast in the New York media market), and its locally-produced lifestyle/entertainmentt program New York Live to 11:30 A.M. beginning January 16, 2017. As part of the changes of the weekday daytime lineup at the station, they would move Days of Our Lives from the network's default Eastern Time Zone slot of 1:00 P.M. to the early time slot of 12 P.M., followed by Access Hollywood Live at 1 p.m.
On June 30, 2017, the station announced that Chuck Scarborough would be stepping down as the anchor of the 11 P.M. weeknight newscast on July 14, but still continues to anchor the 6 P.M. weeknight newscast. 3 days later, 4 P.M. weekday anchor Stefan Holf (son of NBC Nightly News weekday anchor Lester Holt) assumed duties replacing Scarborough, for the late weeknight newscast.
- Pat Battle —Today in New York, Weekends; also New Jersey reporter
- Stacey Bell - Weekdays at 11 a.m. & 5 p.m.
- Michael Gargiulo— Weekdays 4-7 a.m. Today in New York
- David Ushery- weekdays at 11 a.m. & 5 p.m; also host of The Debrief with David Ushery
- Darlene Rodriguez — Weekdays 4-7 a.m. Today in New York
- Natalie Pasquerella - weekdays at 4 p.m.; also weeknights at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
- Chuck Scarborough - Weeknights at 6 p.m.
- Gus Rosendale — Weekend Today in New York; also weekday reporter
- Stefan Holt - weekdays at 4 p.m.& 11 p.m.; also son of Lester Holt
- Lynda Baquero
- Kerry Barrett
- Pat Battle - New Jersey reporter; also co-anchor Today In New York, weekends
- Greg Cergol—Long Island reporter
- Kathering Creag
- Pei-Sze Cheng
- Roseanne Colletti —consumer-affairsreporter
- Jonathan Dienst — investigative reporter
- Chris Glorioso
- Cat Greenleaf - feature reporter
- Steve Handelsman - NBC television stations division reporter
- Jen Maxfield
- Gus Rosendale - reporter; also co-anchor Today in New York, weekends
- Melissa Russo — political reporter; also I-Team reporter
- Marc Santia
- Ida Siegal
- Andrew Siff
- Tracie Strahan
- Brian Thompson —New Jersey reporter
- Katy Tur
- Sarah Wallace - I-Team reporter
Storm Team 4
- Chris Cimino — weekday mornings (4-7am)
- Janice Huff — chief meteorologist/weeknights at 5, 6 & 11pm
- Erica Grow — weekend evenings
- Raphael Miranda — weekend mornings Today in New York
- Dave Price - weekdays at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Bruce Beck — sports director; weeknights at 6 & 11 p.m.; also host of Sports Final with Bruce Beck
- Harry Cicma - weekends at 6 & 11 p.m.; also sports reporter
- Lauren Scala— traffic reporter; weekday mornings Today in New York; also correspondent on New York Live
- We're Part of Your Life (1974)
- We're 4 (1975–1981)
- Channel 4, Proud As A Peacock! (1979–1981; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Channel 4, Our Pride Is Showing (1981–1982; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- We're Channel 4, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Channel 4 There, Be There/News 4 New York, Be There (1983–1984; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Channel 4, Let's All Be There (1984–1986; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Is There Any Reason To Watch Anyone Else? (mid 1980s; news slogan)
- Come Home To Channel 4 (1986–1987; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Come on Home To Channel 4 (1987–1988; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Come Home To The Best, Only on Channel 4 (1988–1990; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Channel 4's The Number One Place To Be! (1990–1992; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- It's A Whole New Channel 4 (1992-1993; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- We're 4 New York (1992–1995 and 2007/2008–present)
- The Stars Are Back on Channel 4 (1993–1994; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- It's Channel 4! (1994–1995; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- The Year To Be on WNBC Channel 4 (1995-1996; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- The Tri-State News Channel (1995–2003)
- It's Only 4 New York (1999-2000; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- NBC 4, In The Heart of New York City (2000-2001; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- 4 New York (2007–present)
- (W)NBC 4 New York, Chime In" (2008-2009; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- NBC 4 More Colorful (2009-2012; local version of NBC network advertising campaign)
- Rise Together (2017-present)