Chronology data should be put on the appropriate chronology page ("Chronology of call letters WBZ") .
Other material must be reorganized into appropriate categories of articles.
WBZ-TV, virtual channel 4, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station, located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. WBZ-TV's studios and office facilities, shared with sister station WSBK-TV (channel 38), are located in the Allston-Brighton section of Boston, and its transmitter is located in Needham, Massachusetts.
WBZ News (newscasts)
|Channels||Digital: 30 (UHF)|
(CBS Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||June 9, 1948|
|Call letters' meaning||named after radio station WBZ|
|Sister station(s)||WBZ, WBZ-FM, WBMX-FM, WODS, WZLX, WSBK-TV|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1948-2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1948-1995)|
|Transmitter power||825 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°18′37″N 71°14′14″W / 42.31028°N 71.23722°W / 42.31028; -71.23722|
 As an NBC affiliate
WBZ-TV began operations on June 9, 1948, as the first commercial television station in Boston and New England. The station was founded by Westinghouse Radio Stations (later to become Westinghouse Broadcasting, also known as Group W), a subsidiary of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, along with WBZ radio (1030 AM). The station immediately joined NBC owing to WBZ radio's long affiliation with NBC Radio. It is the only television station to have been built from the ground up by Westinghouse.
The station was knocked off the air August 31, 1954, when Hurricane Carol toppled the station's self-supporting tower over its studios. A temporary transmitter was installed on a nearby tower and later on the original tower of WNAC-TV (channel 7, now WHDH-TV). In 1957, WBZ-TV began broadcasting from a 1200-foot (366 m) tower in Needham. The tower site is now known as the CBS Digital Television Broadcasting Facility, and is used by several Boston-area television stations, including WGBH-TV (channel 2) and WCVB-TV (channel 5).
Channel 4 nearly lost its NBC affiliation in 1955 when Westinghouse balked at NBC's initial offer to trade sister stations KYW radio and WPTZ-TV (now KYW-TV) in Philadelphia in exchange for the network's radio and television combination in Cleveland, Ohio. In response, NBC threatened to yank its programming from both WBZ-TV and WPTZ unless Westinghouse agreed to the trade. The swap was made in 1956, but Westinghouse immediately complained to the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Justice Department about NBC's extortion. In 1965, the FCC ordered the swap reversed without NBC realizing any profit on the deal.
WBZ-TV (sometimes informally referred to as "BZ" both on- and off-air) was a pioneer in Boston television. In 1948, it began live broadcasts of Boston's two Major League Baseball teams, the Red Sox and the Braves, broadcasts that at first were split with WNAC. It was also the first Boston station to have daily newscasts, starting with the station's very first night on the air.
In the mid-1960s, it adopted the Eyewitness News format that had been pioneered at KYW-TV.
The station also broadcast many locally-produced programs over the years. One of the most beloved was the long-running Big Brother Bob Emery show, hosted by veteran radio performer Emery, who first did the show on Boston-area radio in 1921 and who in 1947 hosted the first five-times-a-week children's show on network television on DuMont. For nearly two decades, from 1956 until 1974, Rex Trailer hosted a popular weekend-morning children's show called Boomtown. For part of that time, Boomtown originated from an outdoor "western town" set built next to WBZ-TV's studios. In 2005, WBZ aired a special documentary film directed by Michael Bavaro titled "Rex Trailer's Boomtown" featuring old clips and interviews with childhood fans like Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Tom Bergeron, Jimmy Tingle, and many others. The broadcast master in now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City.
People Are Talking, (1980–1993) a live early-afternoon talk show aired on WBZ, as it did on some other Westinghouse stations. In Boston, it was originally hosted by Nancy Merrill and later by Buzz Luttrell, but the best-known host was the program's last, Tom Bergeron.
Screengrab of WBZ-TV 4 promo from 1989.As an NBC affiliate, the station was known to preempt several hours of network programming a day — a common practice among Group W stations. This was significant, since WBZ-TV was NBC's second-largest affiliate in the Eastern Time Zone. It primarily preempted several daytime morning programs. On January 3, 1983, when People Are Talking expanded to one hour, WBZ-TV dropped NBC's Another World, which would move to WQTV (now WBPX) until the fall of 1987, when the show moved to WHLL (now WUNI-TV) and later to WMFP in the early 1990s. The station also dropped many Saturday morning cartoons in 1990, even though NBC later abandoned such programming in favor of live-action, teen-oriented shows, such as Saved by the Bell.
NBC has traditionally been less tolerant of preemptions than the other networks and had to find alternate independent stations to air whatever programs that BZ did not air. Despite this, NBC was generally satisfied with WBZ-TV, which was one of NBC's strongest affiliates. As a sidebar, sister station KYW-TV in Philadelphia (then NBC's largest affiliate) also heavily preempted NBC programming, but it spent most of the 1980s and 1990s as NBC's weakest major-market affiliate.
In the early 1980s, WBZ-TV lost its longtime spot as Boston's highest-rated news station to WCVB, but even then was a strong second for more than a decade. Its evening news team — anchors Liz Walker and Jack Williams, meteorologist Bruce Schwoegler and sportscaster Bob Lobel — was the longest-running news team in New England from 1980 until Walker moved to the noon newscasts in 2000. Other personalities who came to channel 4 during this time were entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik and political reporter John Henning. Williams is still at channel 4 today; Walker gave up anchoring duties in 2005 and hosted a Sunday morning talk show for several years before leaving the station in October 2008.
In 1994, sister station WJZ-TV in Baltimore lost its affiliation with ABC after that network announced a deal with the E.W. Scripps Company to switch all but two of Scripps' television stations (including its Baltimore outlet, WMAR-TV) to ABC. Westinghouse felt betrayed by ABC's decision, and as a safeguard began shopping for affiliation deals for the entire Group W television unit. Group W eventually struck an agreement to switch WBZ-TV, KYW-TV, and WJZ-TV to CBS (Westinghouse's two other stations, in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, were already CBS affiliates).
The Boston market's third network affiliation switch took place on January 2, 1995. After a 47-year relationship with NBC, channel 4 became the third station in Boston to align with CBS. The network had originally affiliated with WNAC-TV in 1948, then moved to channel 5 (then known as WHDH-TV) in 1961. It then returned to WNAC-TV (the current WHDH-TV) in 1972 and stayed there until the switch. As a CBS affiliate, WBZ-TV airs the entire CBS schedule with no pre-emptions except for local news emergencies, as per Westinghouse's agreement with CBS.
When Westinghouse purchased CBS outright in early 1996, WBZ-TV became a CBS-owned and operated station. As a condition of the merger, CBS had to sell recently-acquired WPRI-TV (channel 12) in Providence, Rhode Island. Channel 4 provides at least grade B coverage of all of Rhode Island, and city-grade coverage of Providence itself as well as Fall River and New Bedford. At the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of two stations with overlapping signals, and wouldn't even consider a waiver for stations with overlapping city-grade signals.
In 1996, WBZ-TV became the first former Group W station to drop the classic Group W font.
 As a CBS-owned station
Although the station tends to rank #1 in daytime and primetime ratings, Channel 4's local news ratings have suffered since the switch in network affiliations. This is partly because at the time of the switch, CBS was well behind NBC in the network ratings. Taken as a whole, its local news is the lowest rated of Boston's "Big 3" affiliates, having dipped behind a resurgent WHDH-TV as well. In January 2006, attempting to bolster its local news ratings, Channel 4 reinstated its 5 pm news and dismissed its former lead anchor Josh Binswanger, leading to the return of long-time anchor Jack Williams to the prime-time newscasts. In addition, Ed Carroll's contract was not renewed and in October 2005 the station hired Ken Barlow from KARE-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to replace him as chief meteorologist.
In late August 2006, WBZ-TV ended its 4 pm weekday newscast and hired anchor Chris May from WHDH-TV. May, along with Sara Underwood, anchored the 5 p.m. weekday news on WBZ-TV. May has since moved to sister station KYW-TV in Philadelphia, and Underwood's contract with the station was not renewed. She left the station on March 4, 2008. As of September 18, 2006, WHDH now airs the only 4 p.m. weekday newscast in the Boston area.
In January 2007, the station launched Project Mass, a commitment to cover the community's top concerns in government, transit, healthcare, education, finance, and the environment. The initiative kicked-off with an online town meeting.
Channel 4 has changed its news and station branding continuously since the affiliation switch, from "Eyewitness News" to "WBZ News 4" to "News 4 New England" to "WBZ 4 News". On February 1, 2004, WBZ rebranded itself as "CBS4," as per the CBS Mandate.
The "CBS4" branding was phased-out during the first quarter of 2007 and, as of February 2007, the station's newscast title was reverted from "CBS 4 News" to "WBZ News". The return of "WBZ-TV" and "WBZ News" took place Sunday, February 4, 2007, during the station's coverage of the Super Bowl. This makes the station the first station owned by CBS to depart from the CBS Mandate standardization since. It joins sister stations KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, WCCO-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul, WWJ-TV in Detroit and WJZ-TV in Baltimore in not following the Mandate currently. General manager Ed Piette told The Boston Globe that he decided to ditch the "CBS4" branding when he arrived in Boston for his first day of work and a cabbie asked him, "Whatever happened to WBZ?" Piette hopes to reemphasize WBZ-TV's local identity--a strategy that worked well when he was general manager at WCCO-TV, ironically another station that doesn't follow the CBS Mandate. 
After the 2000 acquisition of CBS by its former subsidiary, Viacom, WBZ-TV's operations were merged with that of Boston's UPN affiliate, WSBK-TV, and later with WLWC-TV, the UPN affiliate in nearby Providence. Today, the operations of WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV are co-located at WBZ's studios in Brighton. WLWC was sold in 2006 to the Four Points Media Group, a broadcaster controlled by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
WBZ's on-air staff continued to change in late 2007, when longtime morning anchor Scott Wahle was re-assigned and replaced by former WFXT anchor David Wade. In January 2008, longtime morning and midday meteorologist Barry Burbank was re-assigned to the weekend programs. He was replaced by meteorologist Todd Gutner.
On February 29, 2008, it was reported that the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike caused a significant loss in viewers during the late news. WBZ-TV finished with an average of 157,800 total viewers, down from 177,800 viewers in 2007.
On April 1, 2008, CBS' owned-and-operated television stations division ordered widespread budget cuts and staff layoffs from its stations. As a result of the budget cuts, roughly 30 staffers were released from WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV, including longtime sports director Bob Lobel, entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik, and WSBK anchor Scott Wahle. Lobel left channel 4 on May 16, while Kulhawik and Wahle left on May 29 and 30, respectively. Steve Burton is now the new sports director, while the position that Kulhawik held was eliminated. Jack Williams filled in for the 9 p.m. spot in the interim. It was announced on June 6 that reporter and now former-weekend anchor Kate Merrill will anchor the news, along with general assignment duty weekdays at 5 and 6 p.m. Lobel recently became "Guest" Co-Host of the morning show on CBS Radio owned WODS "Oldies 103.3", though whether this position is to be a permanent one has yet to be known. Even with the budget cuts at CBS, WBZ-TV's 11 p.m. newscast has been number one in its time slot in the last three ratings periods.
 Coverage area
WBZ-TV's transmitter and antenna are located in Needham, Massachusetts on the same tower as WCVB-TV, WGBH-TV, WGBX-TV and WSBK-TV's HDTV transmitter. In fact, the tower and site are owned by CBS itself. Its signal covers Greater Boston, southern New Hampshire, northern Rhode Island and northeastern Connecticut. WBZ-TV is also one of six local Boston TV stations seen in Canada to subscribers of the Bell TV satellite service, and is also seen on most cable systems in Atlantic Canada.
 Digital television
After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion on June 12, 2009, WBZ-DT continued on channel 30. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers displayed WBZ-DT's virtual channel 4.
WBZ-TV was also the first station to air daily Mass State Lottery drawings in Boston, starting in 1975. Tom Bergeron credits one of his early TV jobs to hosting lottery drawings on Channel 4. The station holds the record for having the rights to the games the longest (12 years), before passing the torch to Channel 7 (then known as WNEV-TV) in 1987. Eleven years later, Lottery Live would return to WBZ with long-time host Dawn Hayes still at the helm. Due to new limited contacts permitting the local stations to carry Lottery Live for only three years at a time, WBZ moved the games to sister station WSBK-TV in 2001.
 Special events
Over the past few years, WBZ-TV and parent CBS have co-produced a live telecast of the annual Boston Pops' July 4 concert at Boston's Hatch Shell along the Charles River. The entire concert is broadcast live locally by WBZ. The CBS network joins the show in progress at 10 p.m. to show the Pops' signature versions of "1812 Overture" and "Stars and Stripes Forever," as well as the fireworks over the Charles. Live coverage of the event was broadcast in high-definition for the first time beginning in 2007. However, in 2008 and 2009 the special returned to standard definition.
For several years, the station has aired exclusive First Night Boston coverage on New Year's Eve, showcasing festivities from Boston, New England, and the world. The station also carries the Boston Marathon (see Sports section below).
WBZ-TV has aired local sporting events over the years. Besides the Braves (1948 until they moved to Milwaukee before the 1953 season) and the Red Sox (1948–1957; 1972–1974, and a handful of games in 2003 and 2004), WBZ-TV also broadcast the Boston Celtics from 1972–73 through 1984–85. In 1980, WBZ-TV was the first Boston television station to broadcast live wire-to-wire coverage of the Boston Marathon; the station has done so every year since, and has been the only Boston station to do so since 2007. Most New England Patriots regular season and playoff games have aired on WBZ since 1965, with NBC holding the rights to the American Football League from 1965 to 1969, and then the American Football Conference from 1970 to 1997. CBS would pick those rights up in 1998, three years after the affiliation switch. Two of the Pats' six Super Bowl appearances have aired on the station--Super Bowl XX in January 1986, which they lost to the Chicago Bears, and Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004, where they defeated the Carolina Panthers.
 Logos and imaging
In the early 1960s, WBZ unveiled a new stylized "4" logo, using a distinctive font that had been designed especially for Group W. The logo became italicized in the late 1980s, but remained the same font. It kept this logo for over 30 years until it unveiled its first "News 4 New England" logo in September 1996. The old logo was the longest-used numeric logo in New England television history until WCVB's stylized "5" crossed the 31-year mark in 2003.
The "Circle-4" logo that replaced the original "News 4" logo in 1998 was often referred to on-air by WBZ sports anchor Bob Lobel as "The Circle 4 Ranch." As of 2007, WBZ has dropped the CBS-mandated "CBS4" logo and branding and now refers to itself simply as "WBZ-TV".
 News operation
WBZ operates a Bell LongRanger 206LIV called "Sky Eye". In addition to its main studios, the station operates two other news bureaus. The "Worcester Bureau" is located on Main Street in that city. The "New Hampshire Bureau" is located on Elm Street in Manchester. The station's weather radar known as "WBZ Doppler Live" is located at Worcester Regional Airport. Along with other CBS-owned stations, WBZ offers a web-only "@ Your Desk" newscast available live and on-demand. WBZ produces a weeknight 9 o'clock newscast for sister station WSBK. On September 15, 2008, the station was in the process of upgrading its news set for high definition broadcasts. During that time, all newscasts originated from the on-air area of the newsroom. The renovations lasted for at least six weeks.
On December 11, 2008, during its 5:00 p.m. newscast, WBZ became the fourth station (behind WCVB, WHDH and WLVI) to broadcast news in high definition. Its sister station, WSBK-TV followed suit later that night.
 News/station presentation
 Newscast titles
- Eyewitness News (1965-1993)
- WBZ News 4 (1993-1996; WBZ used this newscast after the switch from NBC to CBS.)
- News 4 New England (1996-2000)
- WBZ 4 News (2000-2004)
- CBS 4 News (2004-2007)
- WBZ News (2007-present)
 Station slogans
|*We're 4 (1976-1978)
||*Come Home to the Best, Only on Channel 4 (1988-1990; local version of NBC ad campaign)
 News music packages
- The One For All (1979–1982)
- We're 4 (1980–1982)
- Today's 4 (1982–1985)
- Catch 5 (1983–1989)
- WBZ News (1985–1990)
- WBZ 1990 News (1990–1992)
- WBZ-TV News Package (1992–1994)
- WBZ 1994 News (1994–1995)
- WBZ/WSBK 1994 News (1995–1996)
- Newsworks (1996–1998)
- WBZ Channel 4 News (1998–2000)
- CBS Boston News Package (2000–2003)
- Adrenaline (2003–2005)
- Newstime (2005–2007)
- Pride Collection (2007–present)
 Current on-air staff
- Kerry Connolly - weekend mornings
- Paula Ebben – weekday mornings and noon
- Jonathan Elias – weeknights at 5 and 5:30 p.m.; also reporter
- Lisa Hughes – weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.
- Ken MacLeod – Weekends at 6 and 11 p.m.; also reporter
- Kate Merill – weeknights at 9 p.m. (on WSBK); also reporter
- David Wade – weekday mornings and noon
- Jack Williams – weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
- Todd Gutner (AMS Seal of Approval) – Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 (on WSBK) and 11 p.m.
- Barry Burbank (AMS Seal of Approval) – Meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also fill-in
- Joe Joyce (AMS Seal of Approval; NWA Member) – Meteorologist; weekend mornings, also environmental reporter
- Melissa Mack (AMS Seal of Approval) – Meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Sarah Wroblewski – Meteorologist; fill-in freelance
- Steve Burton – Sports Director; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 (on WSBK) and 11 p.m.
- Dan Roche – Sports Anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m., also sports reporter
- Karen Anderson – general assignment reporter
- Paul Burton – weekend assignment reporter
- Sera Congi – general assignment reporter; also fill-in anchor
- Eileen Curran – general assignment reporter
- Kathy Curran – general assignment and I-Team investigative reporter
- Beth Germano – special correspondent
- Alana Gomez – general assignment reporter
- Christina Hager – general assignment correspondent
- Jon Keller – political editor and "Keller @ Large" feature producer; also on WBZ-AM and contributor for the Boston Herald and Boston Magazine)
- Yadires Nova-Salcedo – "Centro" segment producer
- David Robichaud – "Conversation Nation" feature reporter
- Peg Rusconi – general assignment reporter
- Ron Sanders – Worcester bureau reporter
- Bill Shields – Cape Cod reporter
- Joe Shortsleeve – chief correspondent and I-Team investigative reporter
- Jim Smith – general assignment reporter
- Joel Brown – CBS Newspath national correspondent
- Alexis Christoforous – CBS Newspath national correspondent
- Charlie D'Agata – CBS Newspath national correspondent
- Manuel Gallegus – CBS Newspath national correspondent
 Former staff
- WBZ-TV Website
- Evening Magazine tribute
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WBZ-TV
- WBZ Facebook Alumni Group
- ^ wbztv.com - Project Mass
- ^ http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=180554
- ^ Changing the station - The Boston Globe
- ^ Strike took viewers from late local news
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ CDBS Print
- ^ Ch. 4 fireworks go high-def - The Boston Globe
- ^ http://groups.msn.com/BostonTVNews
- ^ http://pod08.prospero.com/n/blogs/blog.aspx?nav=main&webtag=WBZ_Declare&entry=274