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WLBZ is the NBC-affiliated television station for Central and Eastern Maine that is licensed to Bangor. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 2 from a transmitter on Rider Bluff in Holden. The station can also be seen on Time Warner channel 3 and in high definition on digital channel 702. Owned by Gannett, the station has studios on Mount Hope Avenue in Bangor.

WLBZ (semi-satellite of WCSH Portland, Maine)
[1]

[2]

Bangor, Maine
Branding WLBZ 2 (general)

News Center (newsasts)

Slogan Maine's Information Center
Channels Digital: 2 (VHF)
Subchannels 2.1 NBC HD

2.2 local news and weather 2.3 NBC SD

Translators WGCI-LP 4 (VHF) Skowhegan
Affiliations NBC
Owner Gannett Company

(Pacific and Southern Company, Inc.)

First air date September 12, 1954
Call letters' meaning taken from former sister station WLBZ
Sister station(s) WCSH
Former callsigns WTWO (1954-1958)

WLBZ-TV (1958-1997)

Former channel number(s) 2 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)

25 (UHF digital) 57 (UHF) W57AQ Calais

Former affiliations CBS (primary 1954-1955, secondary 1955-1959)

NBC (secondary, 1954-1955) ABC (secondary, 1954-1965) NBC Weather Plus (on DT2, 2005-2008)

Transmitter power 3 kW
Height 192 m
Facility ID 39644
Transmitter coordinates 44°44′10″N 68°40′15″W / 44.73611°N 68.67083°W / 44.73611; -68.67083
Website wlbz2.com

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[edit] Overview

Although identifying as a separate station in its own right, it has been considered a semi-satellite of sister station WCSH in Portland since the late-1990s. It clears some of that channel's syndicated programming with some of it airing at different times. There are also some shows that only air on WLBZ while others can be seen on WCSH. WLBZ airs separate identifications and commercials. Although WCSH and WLBZ are based in different locations and serve different markets, they essentially operate as one station. With the combined resources, the two stations provide statewide coverage not offered by any other channel in the state.

On Time Warner and Dish Network, WLBZ serves as the default NBC affiliate for the Presque Isle market which does not have an affiliate of its own. In addition to its main signal, WLBZ operates low-powered digital repeater WGCI-LP on VHF channel 4 that is licensed to Skowhegan with a transmitter in the Larone section of Norridgewock. The main signal is used for transmitting WGCI and is the main feed for Time Warner systems in Skowhegan, Millinocket, and Lincoln.

[edit] Digital programming

In October 2005, WLBZ began offering NBC Weather Plus on a second digital subchannel. It was also seen on Time Warner digital channel 166 and via live streaming video on its website. Along with WLBZ's lone meteorologist Steve McKay, the entire WCSH weather team was featured on "News Center Weather Plus". In late-December of 2008 after NBC Weather Plus shut down, WLBZ-DT2 and WCSH-DT2 shifted to a format featuring a loop of news headlines and weather forecasts while retaining the "News Center Weather Plus" branding and the service's digital cable carriage. However, the website live video feed was dropped.


Channel Programming
2.1 main WLBZ programming / NBC HD
2.2 "NewsCenter Weather Plus" (loop of news headlines and weather)

[edit] History

[3][4]The station's logo as WTWO featuring its "Mitey Two" mascot.The station began broadcasting on September 12, 1954 as WTWO (sometimes rendered as "W-TWO") owned by Murray Carpenter. It aired programming from all three networks but was a primary CBS affiliate. It switched its primary affiliation to NBC in 1955. In 1958, WTWO was sold to the Rines family's Maine Broadcasting System, owner of WLBZ-AM 620 as well as WCSH-AM-TV in Portland. [1] The new ownership changed the station's call letters to WLBZ-TV to match its new radio sister. The following year, it dropped all remaining CBS programming. It continued to share ABC with WABI-TV until WEMT-TV (now WVII-TV) signed-on in 1965.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, WLBZ was best known as the home of Eddie Driscoll. He hosted many programs on the station, including Weird, Dialing for Dollars, The Great Money Movie, and My Backyard, and was known for his improvisation skills and sense of humor. Driscoll died on September 24, 2006 after suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Also in the 1970s the station added a repeater in Calais, W57AQ, with a transmitter in Meddybemps that was shared with W61AO (which repeated WABI-TV). W57AQ allowed cable systems in Atlantic Canada to distribute WLBZ by a microwave link from the border which doubling or even tripling the station's coverage area and viewership. Most Canadian cable systems dropped WLBZ after 1996 once American television signals became available to them by satellite with the second to last one doing so in 2004.

Although a flash-cut to a digital facility on VHF channel 8 was considered, it was instead decided to return the W57AQ license to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which deleted it on April 29, 2010. [2] In 1981, WLBZ radio was sold-off and renamed WACZ. It is now WZON and owned by author Stephen King. The Maine Broadcasting System sold WLBZ-TV and WCSH to current owner Gannett in 1997. That same year, WLBZ dropped the -TV suffix from its call sign. On June 12, 2009, the station terminated its analog operations on VHF channel 2. However, the station kept its digital operations on UHF channel 25 until September 10 when it was moved back to the station's analog allotment on channel 2.

[edit] News operation

[5][6]WLBZ's news open.For many years, WLBZ operated its own news department and produced local broadcasts from its Bangor studios. The station was a very distant second in the ratings behind long-dominant WABI. Starting in 1989, the channel began to reduce its personnel and simulcast some of WCSH's newscasts which were prepared with a statewide view. This has progressed to the current arrangement where only the weeknight 5 and 6 o'clock shows are locally produced from WLBZ's facilities. Otherwise, all other broadcasts originate from WCSH with statewide coverage. These newscasts tend to take on a regional feel with coverage from Portland, Bangor, or wherever news occurs from around the state.

Weeknights at 5:30 and 11, WLBZ airs separate weather segments with meteorologist Steve McKay. WLBZ and WCSH use the NewsCenter branding that dates to the 1970s before the aforementioned consolidation. Additionally, both stations used Frank Gari's "Good News" music package from 1986 until October 22, 2008 when it was dropped (except during winter "Storm Center" coverage) in favor of standardized music and graphics that are also used by other Gannett stations.

In late-2002 through a news share agreement, WLBZ began to co-produce with WCSH a nightly prime time newscast on Portland's WB affiliate WPXT. Originally called NewsCenter at 10 on Maine's WB 51, this came about after that channel ended its own news operation. On weeknights, WCSH produced the news and sports segments while weather forecasts came from Steve McKay at WLBZ. On weekends, the program aired entirely from Portland. Otherwise, the newscast was formatted in a similar manner to the statewide shows simulcasted on WLBZ and WCSH except for a slight Portland focus. In September 2006, the production became known as NewsCenter at 10 on The CW Portland after WPXT switched to The CW. WLBZ's role in that newscast was eliminated on November 6, 2008 when WCSH moved the prime time news to its "News Center Weather Plus" feed and entirely reoriented the newscast to the Portland market (with Steve McKay no longer doing the weather forecast). It was replaced on WLBZ-DT2 and the online feed with the national Weather Plus service. The newscast was later canceled altogether.

An outdoors and human-interest program called Bill Green's Maine airs Saturday nights at 7 on WLBZ and WCSH. Both channels share two additional newsrooms in Maine. This includes the Midcoast Bureau on Camden Street (U.S. 1) in Rockport and the Lewsison Bureau on Main Street (ME 11/ME 100/U.S. 202). The statewide weekday morning and noon shows are streamed live on WLBZ's website.

[edit] Newscast titles

  • NewsCenter 2 (1970s-2001)
  • NewsCenter (1990s-present, primarily used during simulcasts with WCSH)
  • WLBZ NewsCenter 2 (2001-present)

[edit] Station slogans

  • "Live. Local. Latebreaking." (early 2000s)
  • "People You Know, News You Can Trust" (mid 2000s-2008)
  • "Maine's Information Center" (2008-present)

[edit] News team

+ denotes news personnel based at WLBZ

Anchors

  • Lee Nelson - weekday mornings and rotating at noon
  • Sharon Rose - weekday mornings and rotating at noon
  • + Chris Facchini - weeknights at 5 and 6
  • Cindy Williams - weeknights at 5:30
    • home and family reporter
  • Rob Caldwell - weeknights at 5:30
  • Pat Callaghan - weeknights at 11 and "In the Arena" segment producer
  • Kathleen Shannon - weeknights at 11
  • Brian Yocono - weekend mornings and Lewiston Bureau
  • Caroline Cornish - weekend evenings and reporter
  • Alan Hinsey - Mainebiz Sunday host

NewsCenter Meteorologists

  • + Steve McKay (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval) - weeknights
  • Kevin Mannix - weekday mornings and noon
  • Kelly LaBrecque - weekend mornings
  • Keith Carson - weekend evenings
  • Joe Cupo - seen on "NewsCenter Weather Plus"

Sports (all are seen on 5th Quarter)

  • Bruce Glasier - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Lee Goldberg - weekend evenings and sports reporter
  • + Melissa Kim - sports multimedia journalist

Reporters

  • Don Carrigan - Midcoast Bureau and general assignment
  • Bill Green - features and Bill Green's Maine host
    • "Green Outdoors" and "My Hometown" segments producer
  • Peter Panagore - "Daily Devotions" segment producer
  • + Dan Frye - photographer
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Chris Rose

Multimedia journalists

  • + Mike DeSumma
  • + Sarah Delage
  • + Audry Amann
  • + Jackie Ward
  • Amanda Hill
  • Tim Goff

Former staff

  • Fred Nutter - Editorial Director
  • Kara Matuszewski - Anchor, moved to MA to be closer to her husband Scott Sassone
  • John Smist, Sports Anchor, now at WECT, Wilmington, NC
  • Scott Sassone, Reporter, now at ComcastSports Boston
  • Priya Sridhar, Reporter, now a correspondent[1] in Russia Today's Washington, DC bureau
  • Kristin Cullen, Reporter
  • Aaron Roberts, Reporter
  • Eddie Driscoll - host (deceased in September 2006)
  • Jackie Couture - reporter (now with WMTW-TV in Portland, ME)
  • Eloise Daniels - anchor (now a licensed N.C. Realtor with LKN Realty Group; married to former WVII meteorologist, Matt Morano, morning meteorologst at Charlotte News 14)
  • Pete Churney - weather anchor
  • Jill McDonald - medical reporter (now works at Eastern Maine Healthcare in Brewer)
  • Tim Gaier - reporter
  • Donna Gormley - weeknight 5 and 6 PM co-anchor (wife of Maine State Representative Chris Greeley)
  • Mark Finneran - reporter (now out of business)
  • Jan Smith - anchor and reporter (now Assistant News Director at WTOC-TV in Savannah, Georgia)
  • Dale Duff - sports director (now program director and morning host at WZON-AM)
  • Jeff Solari - sports reporter and promotions director (now at Bangor law firm.) *Jennifer McNeil - anchor (now out of business, married to Pete Bouchard, Chief Meteorologist at WHDH-TV in Boston)
  • Rory (Rhori) Johnston - anchor (now at WTVF-TV in Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Dave Ahlers - producer, anchor, and reporter (now the voice of hockey's Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in Nebraska)
  • Christina Hager - reporter (now at WBZ-TV in Boston, daughter of retired NBC News Correspondent Robert Hager)
  • Deborah Feldman - reporter (now at KING-TV in Seattle, Washington)
  • Kevin Kelley - producer and reporter (became reporter at NECN) in Boston, now Communications Director for Senator Susan Collins in Washington, DC
  • Sharon Rose - anchor (now at WLBZ sister station WCSH in Portland)
  • Kimberly Brown - anchor (recently left WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Dan Harris - anchor and reporter (now at ABC News)
  • Julia Bovey - reporter (now at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC)
  • Jennifer Knight - reporter
  • Catherine Pegram- reporter, now anchor at WABI TV in Bangor
  • Ken Barlow - meteorologist (now chief meteorologist at WBZ-TV in Boston)
  • Jeanne Meserve - anchor and reporter (now at CNN)
  • Mollie Halpern- producer, later anchor at WPXT Fox 51 in Portland, now living in Washington, D.C.
  • Matt Fine - sports director and reporter (now teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Vince Bevacqua - anchor and reporter (now Vice President of Media and Public Relations at The Prodigal Media Company in Poland, Ohio)
  • Dave Finger - feature reporter
  • Mike Beaudet - reporter (now investigative reporter at WFXT-TV Boston)
  • Neil Orne - weather anchor (now at WKRN-TV in Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Rob Caldwell - anchor and reporter (now at WCSH)
  • Pat Callaghan - anchor and reporter (now at WCSH)
  • Brian Yocono - reporter (now at WCSH)
  • Roger Griswold - Meteorologist (now at WMTW Portland, Maine)
  • Matt Friedman - weeknight 5 and 6 PM anchor, now at APTV in Washington, DC
  • Todd Gutner - weekdays at Noon and weekend evenings (now at WBZ-TV in Boston)
  • Ric Tyler - former anchor and reporter (now talk show host WVOM, afternoon drive WKSQ, private businessman)
  • Wayne Harvey - sports director and reporter (now Morning Anchor/Reporter at WABI TV5, Bangor also Harness Racing Track Announcer at Bangor Raceway)
  • Kria Sakakeeny - reporter, now with WMUR-TV
  • Gemma Waite - reporter/ fill-in anchor (now VP of Marketing & Public Relations, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, NH)
  • Miranda Grossman - reporter
  • Lori Shamroth - reporter
  • Ben French - reporter
  • Lex Becker - reporter
  • Matt McFarland - reporter
  • Shannon Van Sant - reporter
  • Sarah Darcy - reporter
  • Cherilee Budrick - reporter
  • Melissa Sanford - reporter
  • Sid Whitaker - reporter
  • Julene Brit - reporter
  • Kris Neilsen - reporter
  • Susan Kimball - reporter

References

  1. ^ Thompson, Frederic L. (2005). The Rines Family Legacy. Charleston, TN: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 128 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.. LCCN 2005-926756. ISBN 0-7385-3882-5. OCLC 62522312. http://books.google.com/books?id=hbHBe0VA4IIC.
  2. ^ Hashemzadeh, Hossein (April 29, 2010). "In re: LPTV/TV Translator Station Of...". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/getimportletter_exh.cgi?import_letter_id=18390. Retrieved June 19, 2010.

External links

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