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WMUR-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the state of New Hampshire that is licensed to Manchester. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter on the south peak of Mount Uncanoonuc in Goffstown. Owned by Hearst Television, the station has studios on South Commercial Street in downtown Manchester. During election seasons, they are well-known for organizing and producing candidate debates for ABC News, as well as CNN, before the first United States presidential primary; the debates have been held at Saint Anselm College.

The station is known on-air as WMUR ABC 9, though the ABC logo is often omitted from the station logo, and from time to time the station also brands with simply its call letters. Hearst also owns ABC affiliates WCVB-TV in Boston (both WMUR and WCVB are considered to be part of the same market) and WMTW in Portland, Maine (which is located in the same market as one of WMUR's repeaters), as well as NBC affiliate WNNE in White River Junction, Vermont (a semi-satellite of sister station WPTZ that shares some of its coverage area with WMUR).

WMUR-TV
[1]
Manchester, New Hampshire
Branding WMUR ABC 9 (general)

WMUR News 9 (newscasts)

Slogan No One Covers New Hampshire Like We Do
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Subchannels 9.1 ABC
Translators W27BL 27 Berlin

WMUR-LP 29 Littleton W38CB 38 Littleton

Owner Hearst Television

(Hearst Properties, Inc.)

First air date March 28, 1954
Call letters' meaning Governor Francis P. MURphy (founder)
Sister station(s) WCVB-TV, WMTW, WNNE, WPTZ
Former channel number(s) 9 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)

59 (UHF digital, 1998-2009)

Former affiliations Fox (two repeaters, 1994-2001)
Transmitter power 6.5 kW
Height 314 m
Facility ID 73292
Transmitter coordinates 42°59′1″N 71°35′25″W / 42.98361°N 71.59028°W / 42.98361; -71.59028
Website wmur.com

Repeaters

Since August 22, 1994, WMUR has operated three repeaters in the northern parts of New Hampshire. Until 2001, two of the stations aired programming from Fox but simulcast channel 9's newscasts (the third one carried all WMUR programming, including ABC network programming). The two Fox stations started simulcasting WMUR when WMTW (at that time separately owned) moved its transmitter off Mount Washington. Since all three stations are low-powered, they were exempt from the transition to digital-only broadcasting on June 12, 2009.

Callsign Channel City of license Notes
W27BL 27 Berlin *part of Portland market
  • first on-air in 1994
WMUR-LP 29 Littleton *tower shared with W38CB on Cannon Mountain
  • formerly W16BC and (briefly) W29CM
W38CB 38 Littleton *tower shared with WMUR-LP on Cannon Mountain
  • always aired ABC programming

History

WMUR-TV was established by former New Hampshire governor Francis P. Murphy, owner of WMUR radio (610 AM; now WGIR), on March 28, 1954.[1][2] It was the first television station in the state and aired daily newscasts, local game shows, and movies. Two years later, however, Murphy decided to sell the WMUR stations. Although a buyer was immediately found for the AM station, a proposed deal to sell WMUR-TV to Storer Broadcasting in 1957 collapsed after its plan to move the station's transmitter to just outside Haverhill, Massachusetts sparked concern that Storer was also planning to move the rest of WMUR's operations into Massachusetts and reorient channel 9 to Boston, and the station remained in Murphy's hands until his death in December 1958; his estate finally sold the station a few months later, to Richard Eaton's United Broadcasting.[2][3]

Soon after taking over, United laid off all but nine of WMUR's employees, and reduced local programming to its two daily newscasts (and, later, The Uncle Gus Show).[2] For the next 22 years, the station more-or-less ran on a shoestring budget; furthermore, Eaton began running into regulatory problems at his other stations that put WMUR's license at risk for being revoked by the FCC in the early 1970s.[2]

In July 1981, following Richard Eaton's death, WMUR was sold to Columbus, Mississippi businessman Birney Imes Jr., who also owned that city's WCBI-TV, as well as WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Imes made WMUR a major influence in New Hampshire by upgrading its facilities and news department.[2] In September 1987, the station moved from its original studios on Elm Street in Manchester to facilities in the historic Millyard area of the city.[2] Then in 1995, WMUR purchased land and a building at their current location. This building was rebuilt as a state-of-the-art broadcast center with 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) available. They went on-the-air from this new location in January 1996.

In November 1998, WMUR's digital signal began broadcasting on UHF channel 59.

In September 2000, a deal was reached in which Imes Communications would sell the station to Emmis Communications, which then traded WMUR to Hearst-Argyle Television for that company's three radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona: KTAR, KMVP, and KKLT.[4]

In 2004, WMUR-TV celebrated fifty years of broadcasting.[2]

On September 24, 2005, WMUR became available on satellite via DirecTV in Coos, Carroll, Grafton, and Sullivan counties in northern New Hampshire.[5]

In the sixth season of The West Wing, congressman Matt Santos running in the Democratic Party Presidential Primary went to the studio of WMUR to run a live ad for his campaign.

WMUR used to sign-off with "New Hampshire Naturally" by The Shaw Brothers. The music was synchronized to bucolic scenes of a fly fisherman casting his line into a mountain stream, a covered bridge, the Old Man of the Mountain, flowers, fall foliage, etc. This theme was replaced at some point by The Star Spangled Banner.

New Hampshire network affiliates

Manchester is about 45 miles (72 km) north from Boston while Concord is about 60 miles (97 km). Boston's VHF stations have Grade A signals in Manchester and Grade B signals in Concord while the UHF stations have Grade B signals in Manchester but spotty signals in Concord. It was once thought[who?] that southern New Hampshire could break away from Boston and become its own market. If the sub-market were to break away from Boston, it would rank in the top 100 of all U.S. DMAs. However, CBS' ownership of WBZ-TV makes this unlikely as it could dilute that station's ad revenue. In the early-1990s, that station operated a news bureau in Manchester which was re-established on Elm Street in November 2006.

At the start of 1988, the sub-market had WMUR and PBS member station WENH-TV. On February 1, 1988, WNHT, an independent station based in Concord became southern New Hampshire's first CBS affiliate and began to produce local newscasts. WNHT lost the affiliation and stopped broadcasting on March 31, 1989 as a result of low viewership and ratings. There has not been a affiliate of the network based in the state since then.

When WNHT signed-off, WMUR and WENH remained the only network affiliated stations in the state until the creation of MyNetworkTV on September 5, 2006. On that date, WZMY-TV, another independent station based in Derry, became the southern New Hampshire and Boston affiliate for MyNetworkTV.

Except for WRLH out of Lebanon, which operated from 1966 until 1976, there has never been an NBC station based in the state. However, since 1978, WNNE has broadcast programming from that network into parts of western New Hampshire (the region previously served by WRLH) from across the state line in Vermont (and was, for a time early in its existence, licensed to Hanover). Much of this area is considered part of the Burlington / Plattsburgh market, although WMUR is still available. The rest of the state receives the NBC feed from that network's affiliates in either Boston or Portland. There were no The WB and UPN affiliates when those networks were active; likewise, The CW does not presently have any affiliates in New Hampshire.

WMUR has always promoted the fact that it is the only major network affiliate and consistent local news source in the state. The station's current slogan reflects this.

Programming

Syndicated programming on WMUR includes: Entertainment Tonight, Oprah, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and Ellen. Many of these programs are also seen on sister station WCVB-TV, and as a result the stations have similar schedules on weekdays (though Entertainment Tonight airs in Boston on WSBK-TV). WMUR also airs a localized version of Chronicle, WCVB's longtime signature program. The station also produces a local political talk show, Close-Up, which airs on Sunday mornings.

WMUR also carries the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon annually on Labor Day; it is one of the telethon's longest-serving affiliates, having carried it since the late 1960s.[2][6]

In the 1960s and 1970s, one of its local programs was the children's weekday strip known as The Uncle Gus Show. Unlike Boston's astronaut "Major Mudd" or the widely franchised "Bozo", host "Uncle Gus" Bernier wore no costume except an angler's hat.

News operation

[2][3]This station identification appears during the open to all WMUR News 9 broadcasts. This version was used prior to the end of the digital television transition and the retirement of the WMUR-DT callsign on June 12, 2009.WMUR broadcasts around 28.5 hours of local news each week. WTPL (107.7) in Hillsboro and WTSL (1400) in Hanover simulcast WMUR's newscasts weekdays from 5 to 6 a.m., 12 to 12:30 p.m., and 5 to 6:30 p.m.. WTSN (1270) in Dover also carries WMUR newscasts from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and WASR (1420) in Wolfeboro simulcasts the newscasts from 5 to 6 p.m..

In addition to their main studios, WMUR operates two news bureaus in the state. The Lakes Region Bureau is at The Inn at Bay Point in Meredith, and the Seacoast Bureau is at Harbor Place in Portsmouth. The station also broadcasts national news from a Washington D.C. Bureau operated by Hearst. The bureau employs several reporters who give live reports to the various Hearst affiliates.

WMUR and WCVB share video when covering each others news and the latter has a live truck based at the Manchester facilities. Even though WCVB has upgraded their local newscasts to high definition, it is unknown if or when WMUR will follow.

Although WMUR does not own or operate a weather radar of its own, they use live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites. During weather segments, this data is presented on-screen in a forecasting system called "Storm Watch 9 Storm Tracker" that is provided through the Weather Services International graphics system. A live video feed of this radar is offered on WMUR's website. During instances of severe weather year-round, the station may extend local newscasts to provide coverage; this coverage is sometimes streamed live on the website.

Newscast titles

  • NewsNine (early 1980s–1994; still used on occasion as an alternate spelling of News 9)
  • News 9 (1994–present)
  • WMUR News 9 (1998–present)

Station slogans

  • Nine's Alive! (1987–1990)
  • News You Can Use (1990–1994)
  • No One Knows New Hampshire Like We Do (1994–2002)
  • No One Covers New Hampshire Like We Do (2002–present)

News team

Anchors

  • Sean McDonald - weekday mornings
  • Erin Fehlau - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Josh McElveen - weeknights at 5 and 5:30
  • Jean Mackin - weeknights at 5 and 5:30
    • weeknight 11 o'clock reporter
  • Jennifer Vaughn - weeknights at 6 and medical reporter
  • Tom Griffith - weeknights at 6 and 11
    • New Hampshire Chronicle co-host
  • Tiffany Eddy - weeknights at 11 and New Hampshire Chronicle co-host
  • Amy Coveno - weekend mornings and reporter
  • Kria Sakakeeny - weekend evenings and reporter

Storm Watch 9 Meteorologists

Sports

  • Jamie Staton - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 11
  • Jason King - weekend evenings and sports reporter

Reporters

  • Nikole Killion - weekday morning national correspondent
  • Sally Kidd - national correspondent
  • Aaron Kellogg - Lakes Region Bureau
  • Andy Hershberger - crime
  • Suzanne Roantree - weekday morning traffic and heard on WZID
  • Bernice Corpuz - traffic weeknights at 5 and heard on WZID
  • Ray Brewer
  • Josh Davis
  • Heather Hamel
  • Adam Sexton

Former on-air staff

[4] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.Anchors

  • Kyle Meenan - Weekday Evening Anchor (1984-1988) (Now at WTLV-TV Jacksonville)
  • Ramey Becker - Weekday Evening Anchor (1985-1989)
  • Lauren Baker - Weekday Evening Anchor (1983-1985)
  • Jim Bartlett - Weekday Evening Anchor (1968-1984)

Reporters

  • Steve Cooper - (1992-2000?) (Now at WHDH 7 NBC Boston)
  • Bob Ward - (1983-1988) (Now at Fox 25 Boston)
  • Judy Fortin - (1985-1990) (Now Anchor/Medical Reporter for CNN Atlanta)
  • Odetta Rogers - (1986-1988) (Now NBC Network Correspondent)
  • Nanette Hanson - (1985-1988) (Now CBS Network Correspondent)

Sports

  • Frank Mallicoat - Sports Director(1986-1990) (Now at Fox 25 Boston)
  • Phil Andrews - Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter (1985-1986) (Later 15-years with WPVI-6 Philadelphia)
  • Nalkol Fuminiama (2005-2007) (Now at NECN)

References

  1. ^ "NHAB Alumni: Francis P. Murphy". New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters. October 29, 2001. http://www.nhab.org/alumni/murphy.html. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Rapsis, Jeff (March 4, 2004). "WMUR At 50". The Hippo. http://www.hippopress.com/features/cover040304.html. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  3. ^ "Authorize WMUR-TV Sale". Associated Press via The Telegraph. February 4, 1959. p. 5. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=NK8rAAAAIBAJ&sjid=pf0FAAAAIBAJ&dq=wmur%20radio-voice&pg=4527%2C2416448. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  4. ^ "Emmis, H-A deal". Broadcasting & Cable. September 10, 2000. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/92705-Emmis_H_A_deal.php. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  5. ^ "WMUR Available On DirecTV In North Country". WMUR.com. September 23, 2005. http://www.wmur.com/station/5013678/detail.html. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  6. ^ "How it all began?". The Telethon Years. http://www.thetelethonyears.com/showhistory.htm. Retrieved February 16, 2010.

External links

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