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WBRE-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station for northeastern Pennsylvaniamarker that is licensed to Wilkes-Barremarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 11 from a transmitter at the Penobscot Knobmarker antenna farm near Mountain Topmarker. The station can also be seen on Comcast and Service Electric channel 3. On digital cable, there is a high definition signal on Comcast channel 232 and Service Electric channel 503. Owned by the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the station operates CBS affiliate WYOUmarker (that is owned by Mission Broadcasting) through a joint sales agreement (a.k.a. JSA). Although the two share studios on South Franklin Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre, WYOU operates a sales office on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scrantonmarker. Syndicated programming on WBRE includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Dr. Oz and Oprah.

Repeaters

Like other stations in northeastern Pennsylvania, WBRE must rely on repeaters to serve its coverage area. The market is one of the largest east of the Mississippi River and is very mountainous. In addition, Scranton / Wilkes Barre was a "UHF island" before the digital transition due to the fact that it is too close to Philadelphiamarker and New York Citymarker for VHF analog service. W47CY, on UHF channel 47, is a translator run under special temporary authority by Florida Power & Light. Windmills run by the power company in the area surrounding Waymart interfere with the transmission of full-power television signals.
Call letters Channel City of license Transmitter location
W24BL 24 Pottsvillemarker southwest of city center
WBRE-LD 28 Waymartmarker Moosic Mountains near wind turbine #5
W30AN 30 Williamsportmarker tower near downtown
W51BP 51 Clarks Summitmarker north of Scranton between I-81 and I-476
W64AL 64 Stroudsburgmarker Foxtown Hill


History

On New Year's Day in 1953, WBRE signed-on becoming the first television station in the market. It was owned by the Baltimore family along with WBRE radio (1340 AM now WYCKmarker and 98.5 FM now WKRZ). Although it appears that the call letters stand for Wilkes-BaRrE, they actually refer to Baltimore Radio Exchange, the Baltimoremarker family's company. The radio stations were sold off in 1980. In 1972, disaster struck at WBRE when its offices were flooded by Hurricane Agnes. Most of the station's equipment was moved above ground and survived but a film archive in the basement was destroyed. After numerous changes of ownership, the Nexstar Broadcasting Group acquired the station in January 1998. Nexstar already owned WYOU but opted to keep WBRE and sold WYOU to Mission Broadcasting. However, Nexstar continues to control WYOU's operations through a joint sales agreement. On January 3, 2007, Nexstar named Louis J. Abitabilo as Vice President and General Manager for the two stations. On February 17, 2009 as part of the optional transition to digital-only broadcasting, WBRE left UHF channel 28 and continues to operate its digital signal on VHF channel 11.

News operation

Their nightly 6 o'clock news open.


Channel 28 led the ratings throughout the 1950s until ABC affiliate WNEP-TVmarker jumped ahead in 1959. During the 1950s and 1960s mirroring longstanding rivalry between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, WBRE ruled that city while WDAU-TV (now WYOU) dominated Scranton. This station jumped back in the lead in the early-1960s and went back and forth for first place with WYOU until 1978 when WNEP took the lead. It fell to third for most of the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, the station surpassed perennial leader WNEP for a short amount of time then fell again to second after the ownership change to Nexstar.

In 2002, WBRE and WYOU dropped their separate weekday morning and Noon newscasts in favor of Pennsylvania Morning and Pennsylvania Midday which were jointly-produced and simulcasted on both stations. Since the two have both trailed WNEP in the news ratings by a wide margin for most of the last theirty years, a major shakeup in format occurred in Fall 2006. While WYOU went with a talk / debate format for its weeknight shows, WBRE News became more of the traditional news program. This set a more clear competition against WNEP. WYOU generally did a traditional newscast whenever WBRE had programming that bumped their news back by a significant amount of time. At the beginning of 2008, WYOU dropped the weekday shared productions and started airing the first hour of the nationally syndicated morning show, The Daily Buzz, at 6 while debuting its own Noon news.

On June 9, 2008, there were several more changes made on the two stations. WBRE re-launched its news operation as WBRE Eyewitness News. It had previously used the Eyewitness News moniker from the mid-1980s until 2001 (28 News 2001-2004...WBRE News 2004-2008). This coincided with news set, music package, graphics, and weather system upgrades. There were also some on-air personnel changes. Anchor Andy Mehalshick became a weeknight field anchor. Candice Kelly, who had been anchoring on WYOU, moved to the weeknight newscasts on WBRE back in mid-May and was joined by newcomer Drew Speier. In addition, WBRE and WYOU’s midday shows switched anchors. Mark Hiller moved from WBRE to WYOU while Eva Mastromatteo switched over to this station at 11. Hiller also debuted as anchor of WYOU’s First at 4 weekday broadcast. That station became the first in the area to broadcast local news at that time. This was followed at 4:30 by The Insider which moved from its 7 o'clock slot. WYOU then dropped their 5 P.M. newscast and aired two episodes of Judge Judy. Finally weeknights at 6 o'clock, Lyndall Stout (who anchored on WBRE) joined Eric Scheiner for the half-hour WYOU Inter@ctive. That station also launched a new weeknight newscast, WYOU News at 7. WNEP already aired local news at that time on weeknights. All of the preceding changes were an attempt to better compete against WNEP and get more ratings.

Along with their main studios, WBRE operates two news bureaus. This includes in Stroudsburgmarker (on Main Street) and Williamsport (on West 4th Street). While WYOU operated a smaller and separate news department, they maintained a Scranton Bureau on Lackawanna Avenue. It announced on April 3, 2009 that channel 22 would cancel its news operation effective the following day. This resulted in the lay off of fourteen personnel while others were integrated with WBRE. Syndicated programming now airs in place of the newscasts. The station saves nearly one million dollars a year as a result of closing down its news department. It has been announced that WNEP will move their prime time show on WOLF-TV to their second digital subchannel starting January 1, 2010. WBRE will then take over production of a WOLF-TV 10 o'clock news. The broadcast will also expand to an hour.

News team

Current personalities

Anchors
  • Doug Currin - weekday mornings and 11 A.M.
  • Eva Mastromatteo - weekday mornings and 11 A.M.
  • Candice Kelly - weeknights
  • Drew Speier - weeknights
  • Kyla Campbell - weekend mornings and reporter
  • Mark Hiller - weekend evenings


Eyewitness News AccuWeather Meteorologists
  • Josh Hodell (AMS and NWA Seals of Approvals) - Chief seen weeknights
  • Kristi Capel - weekday mornings and 11 A.M.
  • Kevin Derk - weekend mornings
  • Dave Skutnik - weekend evenings
  • Dave Kuharchik (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - fill-in


Sports
  • Phil Schoener - Director seen weeknights at 6 and 11
    • reporter
  • Colin Riccobon - weekend evenings and reporter
  • Mike Conigliaro - reporter


Reporters
  • Andy Mehalshick - field anchor seen weeknights at 5, 5:30, and 6
    • Chief Investigator and "Stranger Danger" segment producer
  • Joe Holden - investigator seen nightly at 11
  • Mike Trim - investigator
  • Jeff Chirico - consumer
  • Laurie Monteforte - Stroudsburg / Pocono Bureau seen weeknights
  • Jeremy Deebel - Williamsport Bureau
  • Eric Deabill
  • Lyndall Stout


News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • 28 Eyewitness News (1980s-2001)
  • 28 News (2001-2004)
  • WBRE News (2004-2008)
  • WBRE Eyewitness News (2008-present)


Station Slogans

  • Your Hometown Station (early 1990s)
  • The Station That's Taking the Lead (mid 1990s-1998)
  • On Your Side (2001-2008)


References

External links




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