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WLNE-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the state of Rhode Islandmarker and Bristol County, Massachusettsmarker that is licensed to New Bedfordmarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 49 from a transmitter in Rehoboth, Massachusettsmarker. Owned by Global Broadcasting, the station has studios on Orms Street in downtown Providencemarker. It is one of two major Rhode Island stations (the other being CW affiliate WLWCmarker) whose facilities are located in Providence despite its primary city of license being on the Massachusetts side of the market. Syndicated programming on WLNE includes: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and Martha Stewart.

History

The station began broadcasting on New Year's Day 1963 as WTEV-TV from studios on 430 County Street in New Bedford. Its analog transmitter was located in Tivertonmarker and aired on VHF channel 6. In the 1950s and 1960s, the FCC had allocated only two VHF frequencies to Rhode Island. Providence had three stations allocated to it but UHF was not considered viable at the time. To make the market viable given Rhode Island's small size, New Bedford and surrounding Bristol County were added to the Providence television market even though the rest of southeastern Massachusettsmarker is in the Bostonmarker market. To this day, this peculiar arrangement makes it impossible for satellite subscribers in Bristol County to receive local stations from their own state capitol, Bostonmarker.

ABC had a curious history in Rhode Island prior to WTEV's sign-on. WNET-TV launched on channel 16 in 1953 as an ABC affiliate only to go dark in 1956 due to the aforementioned difficulties facing UHF stations. For the seven years prior to channel 6's sign-on, ABC programming had been shared between NBC affiliate WJARmarker and CBS affiliate WPRO-TV (now WPRI-TVmarker). Even though Providence was big enough to support three full network affiliates, it soon became apparent that channel 16 would not be resurrected in the near future. The owners of the future WTEV thus decided to seek a license for channel 6 in New Bedford, since it was the only available VHF allocation on the Massachusetts side of the market.

WTEV was founded by a group that included New England Television, the holder of the license for the old WNET-TV, as a minority owner. In 1966, WTEV was purchased by Steinman Stations of Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamarker. In 1977, WTEV swapped affiliations with WPRI and became a CBS affiliate after Knight Ridder Television, which had just purchased WPRI, cut an affiliation deal that switched two of the three television stations it owned at the time to ABC.

In 1979, the Steinmans sold WTEV and their flagship station, WGAL-TVmarker in Lancaster, to Pulitzer Publishing. This sale reunited them with KOAT, which had been sold to Pulitzer in 1969. Pulitzer changed channel 6's call letters to the present-day WLNE-TV in 1980. The WTEVmarker call sign is now used on a CBS affiliate in Jacksonvillemarker, Floridamarker. In 1983, Pulitzer sold WLNE to Freedom Communications. This sale was necessary because Pulitzer had acquired WFBC-TV (now WYFFmarker) in Greenville, South Carolinamarker and WXII-TVmarker in the Piedmont Triad in 1983. This left the company one VHF station over the FCC's ownership limit of the time. Around this time, WLNE relocated its studios and offices from New Bedford to its current location in downtown Providence. On September 10, 1995 in a reversal of the 1977 affiliation swap, WLNE became an ABC affiliate again when CBS purchased WPRI.

Early in the afternoon of May 4, 2005, WLNE's analog transmitter was knocked off the air due to a faulty section of transmission line on the tower. The transmitter had been running at 80% power due to another unrelated technical problem that occurred approximately two weeks earlier. Although cable and Dish Network satellite subscribers continued to receive broadcasts through a fiber optic connection, over-the-air and DirecTV satellite subscribers were left without a local ABC affiliate (DirecTV gets its signal via antenna). The transmitter was operational again late Thursday evening after 32 hours off the air.

In August 2006, The Providence Journal reported that WLNE was put up for sale. The key reason for the decision was the lack of a second station for Freedom to operate in the market that would improve synergies for the Providence operation. On March 12, 2007, Freedom announced it was selling WLNE to Global Broadcasting, a Delaware corporation headed by Robinson Ewert and Kevin O'Brien. The FCC granted approval of this sale in mid-September and ownership was officially transferred on October 9. Freedom continued to operate WLNE's website until November 30 when it was remade by Broadcast Interactive Media.

For many years, WLNE carried the syndicated shows Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and Inside Edition from CBS Television Distribution. However, in mid-2009, the station was unable to reach a carriage agreement with the syndicator, formerly known as King World. At that time, the station was carrying Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight, and Inside Edition. As a result of the situation, the shows were dropped on June 5 and quickly moved to WNACmarker. Temporarily put in their place were Cristina's Court, Family Court with Judge Penny, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. On June 16, CBS filed a lawsuit against the station's owner, Global Broadcasting, for failing to fully pay license fees for the shows and a breach of contract. The syndicator is seeking $5 million from the company.

On June 23, NewsBlues reported that Global Broadcasting co-owner Robinson Ewert had left the company amidst the dispute with CBS. He was replaced by Rob Holtzer, general sales manager at Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, owner of the NHL's Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Centermarker in Sunrise, Floridamarker. He is also a former national sales manager at the YES Network in New Yorkmarker. Holtzer's official title at Global is vice president and director of sales.

Digital television

The station's analog video was broadcasted at a frequency of 83.26 MHz AM. The station's analog audio was aired at a frequency of 87.76 MHz FM. Both frequencies were +10 kHz shift from the center channel 6 frequency to prevent interference with stations in Albany, New Yorkmarker, Portland, Mainemarker, and Philadelphiamarker who were also on channel 6. WLNE's analog audio could be picked up on the lower end of the dial on most FM radios at 87.7 MHz. WLNE regularly mentioned this additional way of coverage. This was true of all analog channel 6 stations in the United Statesmarker. After February 17, 2009, channel 6 audio on WLNE was no longer available on the radio. (It was still available on most other full-powered channel 6 stations in the United States through June 12.)

After the analog television shutdown on February 17, WLNE offered a nightlighting service on its analog signal for 60 days following the shutdown. The station aired a looping DTV education program as well as all of its newscasts. Due to this service being broadcast on analog channel 6, audio was still available on 87.7 FM. When this period ended, the station remained on its current pre-transition channel number 49 using PSIP to display its virtual channel as 6.

Programming

The longest-running program on channel 6 is TV Mass from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River which began in 1963. Produced by WLNE, the show was originally aired at 8 in the morning. TV Mass is currently aired at 11 as it has been since 2004. It is normally taped at the chapel of Bishop Stang High Schoolmarker in Dartmouth, Massachusettsmarker. Easter Mass and Christmas Mass are normally taped at St. Mary's Cathedral in Fall Rivermarker, Massachusetts. Prior to its host's retirement, the longest running program on WLNE was The Truman Taylor Show. The Sunday morning public affairs program debuted very early in 1963. Numerous politicians appeared on the show, including two U.S. presidents. In late-2005, Taylor taped his final show. He is now a featured op-ed columnist for The Providence Journal. In early-2006, ABC 6 News On the Record replaced Truman Taylor, with Jim Hummel hosting the program until his departure from the station in July 2008. Following his departure, On the Record was temporarily taken off-the-air and replaced with infomercials. The show returned in October 2008 with weeknight anchor John DeLuca and Chief Political Analyst Buddy Cianci as hosts. On the Record currently airs at 7:30 AM. Fishing the Ocean State airs on Saturday mornings at 6 AM and is hosted by ABC 6 sports reporter Don Coyne. The show, which focuses on angling adventures in Rhode Island, is produced by Coyne's own company, On the Outs Productions, Video Expedition, and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association.

WLNE has been the market home of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon since 1993. As WTEV, it was one of the first affiliates of the "Love Network" when it was formed in 1968. Local cutaways had been broadcast from the Warwick Mall for years. In 2007, the telethon relocated to the Providence Marriott hotel in downtown which is on the same street as WLNE's studios. Once again, the location was changed in 2008 to the Twin River Casino in Lincolnmarker. This is where the current pledge record was established. In total, $755,705 in local donations was raised. The 2009 telethon returned to Twin River and was simulcast on sister station "NewsChannel 5" and WALE 990 AMmarker. $731,573 in local donations was raised that year. WLNE became the first station in Rhode Island to broadcast a local program in high-definition when it aired Bristol's 4th of July Parade in 2008 live with facilities provided by Comcast. It was hosted by John DeLuca, Allison Alexander, Fred Campagna, and Paul Mueller of WLNE and Todd Newton of Comcast. In 2009, the station won an Emmy Award for its pre-parade special, Reflections of the Fourth: Celebrating Bristol, from the Bostonmarker/New Englandmarker chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The 2009 parade was also broadcast in high-definition, with facilities provided by CSP Mobile Productions. The parade was also simulcast on "NewsChannel 5" and streamed live on abc6.com, the site's first offering of a live video web stream. The station has been the official television home of the parade since 2006.

NewsChannel 5

"NewsChannel 5", formerly known as the "Rhode Island News Channel" (RINC) began broadcasting on November 30, 1998. Operated by WLNE and Cox Communications, it is the first and only 24-hour local news channel in the state. It provides non-stop news 24-hours a day seven days a week mainly consisting of rebroadcasts of news that airs on WLNE. The station can only be found on Cox cable channel 5. "NewsChannel 5" also provides live, continuing coverage of breaking news and other events. When severe weather strikes, the WLNE weather team provides accurate and up to the minute forecasts. There are also three live newscasts that air exclusively on the cable station. Since its launch, a weekend morning newscast has been seen exclusively on the station. On September 29, 2008, WLNE began offering an extra hour of local news on weekday mornings at 7. Airing exclusively on "NewsChannel 5", an extended hour of Good Morning Providence is one of two 7 o'clock local newscasts in the market the other being an extended hour of WPRI's Eyewitness News This Morning on WNAC-TVmarker. The 5 to 7 edition on the main channel is simulcast on "NewsChannel 5". WLNE occasionally airs a 10 o'clock newscast on "NewsChannel 5" during major news events or when sports programming pre-empts the 10 o'clock news on competitor WNAC.

For a brief period in September 2009, WALE 990 AMmarker broadcast an audio feed of the station in various timeslots. On Labor Day, "NewsChannel 5" simulcasted WLNE's broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. WALE carried the audio feed of the simulcast from start to finish.

News operation

Their nightly 11 o'clock news open.
For most of its history, WLNE was a distant third in the market behind WJAR and WPRI. Under Freedom's ownership, most news reports originated taped or live from the station's newsroom. There were few live reports done out in the field. For all broadcasts, there was only one anchor and all on-air personalities served as reporters. There were simple graphics used along with a consistent news music package. Since Global Broadcasting's purchase, several significant changes have been made to the news department. This included changes in overall image and a remodeled news set. ABC 6 News in the Morning was expanded to two hours and rebranded to Good Morning Providence. There has also been a significant increase in hard news coverage and the number of daily newscasts. Because of these changes, ratings have increased. ABC 6 News now promotes itself as "New England's Fastest Growing News". WLNE has the distinction as being the only Rhode Island station to be awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting in 2006 and 2007. Tom Langford won the award in 2006 and former Chief Reporter Jim Hummel received it in 2007.

On October 24, 2007, WLNE announced that infamous former Providence mayor and WPRO-AM 630 personality Vincent "Buddy" Cianci would join the station as Chief Political Analyst and contributing editor starting on November 1. Cianci was a political analyst at WLNE in the late-1980s. He also hosts a segment on ABC 6 News entitled "Buddy TV" seen weekdays at 4. On December 17, the station announced it would launch ABC 6 News First At 4, the market's first-ever 4 o'clock news on January 14, 2008. Described as a "hard newscast" and not morning-show style fluff, First At 4 gives WLNE a head start in coverage of weather and politics. This newscast competes head to head with Oprah that airs on WJAR. Originally touted as the market's only three anchor newscast, the hour-long broadcast now features two since the departures of Melissa Mahan and Paul Mueller. Co-anchor John DeLuca moderates the opinion segment "ABC 6 Raw" and co-hosts "Buddy TV" with Cianci on First At Four. For a period of time, WADK-AMmarker 1540 in Newportmarker offered a simulcast of First At 4.In May 2009, WLNE launched a 10 o'clock newscast on Sunday mornings. Previously, they had only aired weekend morning newscasts on "NewsChannel 5". It is currently the only Providence station with a local news broadcast airing at that time. In June 2009, the station launched the market's first and only 7 o'clock newscast on weeknights, filling the spot vacated by Entertainment Tonight, which was taken off the schedule due to the station's dispute with CBS Television Distribution.

Segments that currently air on WLNE newscasts include "ABC 6 News To Go" (a commercial-free summary of the latest news, weather, and traffic). The segment airs three times throughout Good Morning Providence beginning at 5:45, 6:45, and 7:45 (on "NewsChannel 5") and running through the top of the hour. "Pick of the Litter" is featured on Tuesdays at Noon with Dr. E. J. Finocchio and meteorologist Jim Corbin. "Ask the Pharmacist" is featured Thursdays on Good Morning Providence and at Noon with Dr. Kristina Ward from the University of Rhode Islandmarker's College of Pharmacy. "Cooking Fresh with Dave's Marketplace" is hosted by Steve Cascione and Chef Walter Potenza and is featured Thursdays on First At Four and Fridays on Good Morning Providence. From 2004 until October 2007, the station was the market home of Mr. Food. His recipe segments aired during the weekday morning and Noon newscasts but was pulled by the new management. Every weekday morning, the station airs "Tech Bytes" and "MONEYScope" reports from ABC News. In weather segments, WLNE uses live regional radar, high resolution satellite, and several high-end workstations provided by a combination of sources including AccuWeather. This system is known on-air as "Digital Storm Tracker XT". There is also a weather radar at its old analog transmitter site but it is unknown if this is in operation. WLNE puts heavy emphasis on weather especially during severe events. Due to its coverage area overlapping with Bostonmarker's ABC affiliate WCVB-TVmarker, the two stations share resources for coverage of southeastern Massachusettsmarker. Along with ABC News, WLNE is also a CNN affiliate. Unlike most ABC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, the station does not air local news on weeknights in the 5 o'clock hour.

News/Station Presentation

Newscast titles

  • WTEV News (1963-1973)
  • Newscope 6 (1973-1980)
  • Action News (1980-1981)
  • Channel 6 News (1981-1983)
  • WLNE News (1983-1987)
  • WLNE 6 News (1987-1990)
  • 6 News (1990-1994)
  • ABC 6 News (1995-present)


Station slogans

  • We've Got the Touch, WLNE (1983-1984, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Share the Spirit on WLNE (1986-1987, localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Your Nonstop News Source (2004-2008)
  • New England's Fastest Growing News (2008-present)
  • Fast. Accurate. Reliable. (2008-present)


News team

Anchors
  • Andrew Gobeil, Weekday Mornings
  • Doreen Scanlon, Weekday Mornings & Noon
  • Allison Alexander, Weeknights
  • John DeLuca, Weeknights
  • Erica Ricci, Sunday Nights & Reporter
  • Steve Cascione, Saturday Nights
  • Malini Basu, Weekend Mornings & Reporter


ABC 6 Digital StormTracker XT Meteorologists

Sports
  • Ken Bell, Sports Director/Weeknights
  • Don Coyne, Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter


Reporters
  • Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, Chief Political Analyst
  • John Guice
  • Tom Langford
  • Parker Gavigan
  • Julie Ruditzky
  • Tim Martin


Past staff

  • Jim Armstrong - Reporter 2002-2003 Now at WFXT
  • Issa Arnita - Anchor 2002-2004
  • Bill Baer - Sports 1991-1993 worked at KSDK
  • Sorboni Banerjee - Reporter 2003-2006 Now at WHDH
  • Bob Bassett - Sports 1963-1981 (deceased)
  • Kelly Bates - Weather 2000-2004 Now at WJAR-TV
  • Joe Becker - Sports 1979-1983 Now at KGW-TV
  • Kimberly Bookman - Reporter 2008 Now at WCVB-TV
  • Paul Burton - Reporter 2003-2006 Now at WBZ-TV
  • Wendy Cicchetti - Anchor 2001-2007
  • George Colajazzi - Anchor/Reporter (1970's-1983)
  • Chris Congnala - News Anchor 1979-1983
  • Kathy Connolly - Reporter 1994-2000
  • Ann Conway - Anchor 1981-1990
  • Robin Costello - Anchor/reporter 1988-2000
  • Sean Daly - Reporter 1981-1993, 1996-1999 Now at WPRI-TV
  • Jeff Dederian - Reporter 1994-1997
  • Amy DeLuca - Anchor 1999-2000
  • Ann Dougherty - Anchor 1985-1993
  • Larry Estepa - Anchor 1994-1998
  • Brad Field - Meteorologist 1980-1983 Now Chief Meterologist at WVIT-TV
  • Sharon Fogaren - Anchor/reporter 1999-2002, Morning Radio co-host at WFHN-FM 2002-2009 (deceased)
  • Dan Fabrizio - Reporter 1980s
  • Tim Furlong - Reporter 1998-2002, Now with WCAU-TV (NBC Philadelphia)
  • Mike Gaynes - Sports 1980s
  • John Ghiorse - Meterologist 1983-1998
  • Bob Goosmann - Weather 1985-1988
  • Robert Goulston - Reporter 2008 Now New Haven Bureau Chief at WFSB-TV
  • Tara Granahan - Anchor/reporter 1993-2001 Now at WPRO-AM
  • Jerry Green - Sports 1979-1983
  • John Greenwood - Anchor 1970's-1983
  • Kathryn Grey - Anchor/Reporter early-1980s
  • Jack Groh - Anchor 1988-1990
  • Josie Guarino - Reporter 2002-2008 Now at WPRO-AM
  • Ron Harbaugh - Anchor 1999-2000
  • Magee Hickey - Anchor 1979-1983 Now at WCBS-TV
  • Mario Hilario - Reporter 1992-1995 Now at WJAR-TV
  • Gail Huff - Reporter 1986-1989 Now at WCVB-TV
  • Jim Hummel - Reporter 1995-2008 Now at WPRO-AM
  • Tim Kelly - Weather 1988-1991 Now at NECN
  • Gene Lavanchy - Sports Anchor 1988-1993 Now Morning co-anchor at WFXT-TV
  • Jeff Latham - Weather 1998-2001
  • Dave Layman - News Anchor/director 1983-1992
  • Donna LeBeouf - News Anchor 1978-1984
  • Mike Lyons - Sports 1970's.
  • Thom McGair - Reporter 1988-1990
  • Amy McHugh - Reporter 2001-2002 Now at WABI-TV
  • John McIntyre - News Anchor 1990-1992
  • Barbara Meagher - Reporter/ Anchor 1983-2001
  • Paul Moniz - Anchor/Reporter 1990-1993 (formerly WCBS-TV)
  • Melissa Montoya (formerly Melissa Mahan) - Anchor 2007-2008 Now Morning Anchor at KOAT-TV
  • Barbara Morse - Reporter 1980s. Now at WJAR-TV
  • Paul Mueller - Reporter/Anchor 2001-2003, 2008-2009
  • April O'Dell - Anchor/Reporter 2001-2007 Now at WFXT
  • Irene O'Connor - Reporter/anchor 2003-2004 Now at WFSB-TV
  • Suzanne Pajot - Reporter 2002-2006 Now at KMIR-TV
  • Walt Perkins - Sports 1985-1988 Now at WBZ Radio
  • Bill Rappleye - Reporter 1986-1992 Now at WJAR-TV
  • Marilyn Schairer - Reporter/ weather/anchor 1994-2001
  • Mark Searles - Meterologist 1994-2007
  • Tony Silvia - Reporter/ anchor 1982-1989
  • Vernon Shaw - Reporter 1992-1993
  • John Sweeney - Anchor 1979-1982 Worked at CNN
  • Truman Taylor - Evening News Anchor/News Director/Public Affairs 1963-2005
  • Jeremy Tung - Reporter 2001-2008 Now at WHDH
  • Al Vaughters - Reporter/ anchor 1982-1989 Now at WIVB-TV
  • Pamela Watts - News Anchor/reporter 1984-1999
  • Kristen Welker - Reporter 2003-2005 Now at WCAU-TV
  • Tom Werme - Sports 1995-1996


References

External links




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