WTNH, channel 8, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly withMyNetworkTV affiliate WCTX (channel 59). The two stations share studios on Elm Street in downtown New Haven, and WTNH broadcasts from a transmitter located inHamden, Connecticut.
|New Haven/Hartford/New London, Connecticut|
|City of license||New Haven, Connecticut|
|Branding||Channel 8 (general) News 8 (newscasts)|
|Slogan||Connecticut's News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)Virtual: 8 (PSIP)|
8.1 - ABC
8.2 - Bounce TV
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group
(WTNH Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||June 15, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||Welcome To New Haven|
|Sister station(s)||WCTX, WWLP/WFXQ-CD,WPRI-TV, WNAC-TV|
|Former callsigns||WNHC-TV (1948-1971)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
6 (VHF, 1948-1953) 8 (VHF, 1953-2009)
|Transmitter power||20.5 kW|
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). The station is Connecticut's oldest television outlet and the second-oldest in the New England region (WBZ-TV in Boston signed on less than a week earlier).
WNHC-TV was originally an affiliate of the DuMont Television Network, and claims to have been the first full-time station of that short-lived network. 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). In October 1948 the station added CBS programming to its schedule, and additional secondary affiliations with NBC and ABC followed a year later. The station was the first station in the country to use videotape for local programming and one of the first to broadcast in color.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Sixth Report and Order ended the four-year freeze on television construction permit awards in 1952, it also reorganized channel allocations to alleviate interference issues. As a result, WNHC-TV changed frequencies and moved to channel 8 in December 1953. The next year, the FCC combined New Haven and Hartford 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. 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 the original WTIC-TV (channel 3, now WFSB) signed on from Hartford 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 WFIL-AM-FM-TV in Philadelphia and KFRE-AM-FM-TV in Fresno, California. However, Capital Cities could not keep the radio stations because it already owned the maximum number allowed at the time. As a result, WNHC-TV changed its call letters to the current WTNH-TV soon after Capital Cities 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. However, the FCC would not allow the merged company to keep WTNH due to a significant signal overlap with ABC's flagship station, WABC-TV in New York City. This is because the station provides city-grade coverage of Fairfield County which is part of the New York City market. It also provides at least Grade B coverage to most of Long Island and has been carried on several cable systems in that area for many years alongside WABC. 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 when the overlap involved two city-grade signals. As a result, WTNH was spun off to a minority-controlled firm called Cook Inlet Communications. During the mid-1980s, syndicated talk show Sally originated from 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 in New Haven, WTVU (later WBNE and 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.  It was the first station in the country to use videotape for local programming and one of the first to broadcast in color. On June 12, 2009, WTNH left channel 8 and moved to channel 10 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire the Meredith Corporation for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General if the sale had been finalized. Because Meredith already owned WFSB, and the two stations ranked among the four highest-rated stations in the Hartford-New Haven market in total day viewership, the companies would been required to sell either WTNH or WFSB to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as recent changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations that restrict sharing agreements; WCTX would have been the only one of the three stations affected by the merger thatr could legally be acquired by Meredith Media General, as its total day viewership ranked below the top-four ratings threshold. However, on January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General (which was approved on January 17, 2017), resulting in the termination of Meredith's acquisition by Media General.
On December 3, 2018, Nexstar announced it would acquire the assets of Chicago-based Tribune Media-which owned Fox affiliate WTIC-TV (channel 61) since 1996 and CW affiliate WCCT-TV (channel 20) since 2001-for $6.4 billion in cash and debt. Nexstar was required to sell two of the stations (including one ranking in the top four in ratings) to a separate, unrelated company to comply with FCC ownership rules. On March 20, 2019, it was announced that Nexstar would keep the WTNH/WCTX duopoly and sell the WTIC/WCCT duopoly to McLean, Virginia-based Tegna inc. as part of the company's sale of nineteen Nexstar- and Tribune-operated stations to Tegna and the E. W. Scripps Company in separate deals worth $1.32 billion; this would mae the WTIC/WCCT duopoly the first television properties in Connecticut and Southern New England for Tegna.
|8.1||WTNH-DT1||Main WTNH-TV Programming / ABC (HD)|
For over a quarter century, the station used the Action News format made famous at former Philadelphia sister station WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV) and even used the same "Move Closer" music and graphics packages as that counterpart. It re-branded to the NewsChannel title in 1996. For many years, 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 Nielson'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/Merrit Parkway to serve commuters heading towards New York City.
Since the start of the LMA with WCTX in 2000, WTNH has been producing a nightly prime time newscast at 10 on that channel. It has competed right from the start with WTIC-TV's 10 o'clock broadcast which established itself as a viewer favorite since going on-the-air in 1989. As of the February 2008 ratings period, that channel's weeknight newscast is actually the most watched 10 or 11 p.m. broadcast in the market even gathering more viewership that the big three stations in Connecticut. In 2005, WCTX began simulcasting the second hour of WTNH's weekday morning show (at 6) followed by a third hour from 7 until 8 seen exclusively on WCTX except for simulcasted 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 made its initial weekday morning show launch.
Its weekday noon newscast was originally an hour long but was reduced to thirty minutes on February 23, 2009 when a new lifestyle/entertainment magazine show known as Connecticut Style was added at 12:30. On April 26, 2010; WTNH re-branded from News Channel 8 to News 8. In addition, WTNH began broadcasting newscasts in 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition, with WCTX's newscasts and Connecticut Style being included in the upgrade. On October 4, 2010; WTNH began broadcasting newscasts in high definition, becoming the third station in the market to do so. WCTX's newscasts also made the transition, and Connecticut Style made the transition in late 2010 and early 2011.
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.
On January 2, 2017, Good Morning Connecticut was expanded to start at 4:30 a.m. while the noon newscast was shorten to 30 minutes. Connecticut Style was also cut to a half hour.
On March 30, 2020, WTNH planned to launch an expansion of WCTX's primetime newscast to the three-hour entirely of primetime on weeknights and 90 minutes on weekends. This quickly shifted to launching on March 16 instead to provide continuing coverage of the local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The WNHC-TV Newsreel (1948-1952)
- Your Esso Reporter (1952-1957)
- World News Today (1953-1957)
- Television 8 News (1957–1960)
- Channel 8 News (1960–1970)
- Newswire (1965-1970)
- Action News (1970–1996)
- NewsChannel 8 (1996–2010)
- News 8 (2010–present)
- "Meet Us In September on Channel 8" (1969-1970; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Let's Get Together on Channel 8" (1970-1971; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "This Is The Place to Be on Channel 8" (1971-1974; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Hello Connecticut, Hello Channel 8" (1974-1975; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Welcome to the Bright New World on Channel 8" (1975-1976; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Let Us Be The One on Channel 8" (1976-1977; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "You're Still Having Fun, Channel 8's The One" (1977-1978 and 1979-1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Channel 8's The One You Can Turn To" (1978-1979; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "You and Me and Channel 8" (1980-1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Now is the Time, Channel 8 is the Place" (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Come on Along with Channel 8" (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "That Special Feeling on Channel 8" (1983-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "We`re With You on Channel 8" (1984-1985; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "You'll Love It on Channel 8" (1985–1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Together on Channel 8" (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Something`s Happening on Channel 8" (1987-1990; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Make It Great, Make It 8" (1988-1990)
- "Connecticut`s Watching WTNH" (1990-1992; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "If It's Connecticut, It Must Be Channel 8" (1992-1993; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Connecticut's News Leader" (1992–1996)
- "Watched By More Connecticut, Channel 8, ABC" (1993-1996; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Nobody Does It Like Newschannel 8" (1996-1997; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Working For You" (1996–2003)
- "TV is Good, on NewsChannel 8" (1997-1998; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "We Love TV, on NewsChannel 8" (1998-1999; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Coverage You Can Count On" (2003-2010)
- "Only On NewsChannel 8" (2005-2007; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "NewsChannel 8, Start Here" (2007-2013; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "NewsChannel 8, Start Fresh" (Spring 2008; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "The Fun Starts Here on NewsChannel 8" (Summer 2008; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
- "Count on 8" (2009–2010)
- "Who's Got Your Back? News 8" (2010-2018)
- "Connecticut's News Leader" (2018-present)
- Kristen Cusato - weekday mornings
- Chris Velardi - weekday mornings
- Keith Kountz - weekdays at noon and 6
- Sonia Baghdady - weeknights at 5, 5:30, and 11
- Darren Kramer - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 10, and 11
- Ann Nyberg - weeknights at 6 and 10
- Annie Rourke - weekend mornings mornings and reporter
- Don Lark - weekend evenings
- Sara Welch - weekend evenings and reporter
Storm Team 8 Meteorologists
- Dr. Mel Goldstein - Chief seen weekdays at noon
- Gil Simmons (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekday mornings
- Steve Villaneuva - weekend mornings
- Steve MacLaughlin - weeknights
- Sid Starks - weekend evenings
- Noah Finz - Director seen weeknights at 6, 10, and 11
- John Pierson - weekend evenings
- Marc Robbins - reporter
- Teresa LaBarbera - weekday morning traffic and Connecticut Style Co-host
- Mark Davis - Chief Political Correspondent based at Hartford Bureau
- Jocelyn Maminta - health and medical correspondent and Connecticut Style Co-host
- Ted Koppy - "Wednesday's Child" segment producer
- Erin Cox - investigative and general assignment
- Tina Detelj - New London Bureau
- Crystal Haynes
- Jamie Muro
- Bob Wilson
- Kent Pierce
Notable former staff
- SallyAnn Mosey
- Sue Simmons - now at WNBC-TV
- Al Terzi - now at WFSB
- Cathy Marshall - Afterwards worked for CNN as Anchor and later Fox Sports
- Harry Martin - Now with WNYW FOX
- Pat Sheehan
- Kent Bennett
- Bob Picozzi
- Skip Church
- Dennis Buckman
- Diane Smith
- Geoff Fox
- ^ DuMont TV historical website, Chapter 3: Stations, C. Ingram
- ^ LIN TV Corp. Exploring Strategic Alternatives, LIN TV, May 18, 2007
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf