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WMTW is the ABC-affiliated television station for Southern Mainemarker and Northern New Hampshiremarker that is licensed Poland Springmarker. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter near West Baldwinmarker. Owned by Hearst Television, the station has studios on Danville Corner Road along I-95 / Maine Turnpike in Auburnmarker and secondary facilities in the Time and Temperature Buildingmarker on Congress Street in downtown Portland. Syndicated programming on WMTW includes: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Dr. Phil, and Ellen.

Digital programming

The station's signal is multiplexed.

Virtual
channel
Video Aspect Programming
8.1 720p 16:9 main WMTW programming / ABC HD
8.2 480i 4:3 WMTW-DT2 "News 8 NOW" (The AccuWeather Channel)


History

WMTW's previous logo used from 2000 until 2005.


The station signed-on for the first time on August 31, 1954. It has always been an ABC affiliate although it aired some DuMont programming for a year. Its sign-on made Portland one of the smallest markets in the country with three network affiliates on the VHF band. WMTW is also the longest-tenured primary ABC affiliate in New Englandmarker. The station originally aired an analog signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter on Mount Washingtonmarker, the highest peak in the Northeastern United Statesmarker. This gave WMTW one of the largest coverage areas of any station east of the Mississippi River.

In addition to its main coverage area of Southern Maine and Northern New Hampshire, it could also be seen in parts of New York Statemarker, Massachusettsmarker, and Vermontmarker. The station also had significant viewership across the Canadianmarker border in Montrealmarker which is almost five times as large as the population of WMTW's Americanmarker coverage area. It was considered to be the Northern Vermont and Montreal ABC affiliate of record until WVNYmarker signed-on in 1968. Even after that station launched, WMTW still had a large audience in Northern Vermont. It stayed on most Montreal cable systems until the early-1990s.

WMTW's transmitter tower had been originally been designed in 1940 by Edwin Armstrong for one of the first FM radio stations in the country. They built a new tower there in the 1960s but Armstong's tower remained as a standby. Jack Paar of Tonight Show fame owned the station for a short period in the 1960s after he left national television. He hosted several programs on WMTW during that time. The station had to leave Mount Washington in 2002 due to part of the FCC's digital television mandate. Two FM stations currently occupy separate broadcast facilities on the top of the mountain.

The FCC requires analog stations to broadcast alongside their digital counterparts until 80% of the viewing audience can watch the digital signal. Had WMTW-DT been built on the mountain, it would have had to operate at low-power due to the lack of commercial electric power. A low-powered signal would have resulted in an inadequate signal for Portland and the more populated areas of the market. WMTW built a new tower in Baldwin and signed-off from Mount Washington for the last time on February 5, 2002. Obviously, the new transmitter site does not serve as large an area as the Mount Washington tower did, but it provides a better signal to the highly populated areas of the market. In 2004, WMTW was sold to a new owner, Hearst-Argyle Television. In 2007, the station dropped its longtime use of the -TV suffix. On June 12, 2009, WMTW remained on channel 8 when the analog to digital conversion completed.

Sister radio stations

Several radio stations have been co-owned with with channel 8. The first became WHOM-FM 94.9 and continues to transmit from Mount Washington. The other two, on 870 AM in Gorhammarker and 106.7 FM in North Windhammarker, served first as a news-talk stations and later as all-news stations and were also simulcast on WLAMmarker-AM 1470 in Lewistonmarker. The three stations, branded as "Newsradio WMTW", aired and produced local news and talk programs as well as simulcasts of WMTW-TV's newscasts and the now-defunct news radio service of the Associated Press. The "Newsradio WMTW" stations were sold by Harron Communications (now former owners of WMTW-TV) to Nassau Broadcasting Partners in 2003. Soon after taking over, Nassau discontinued the format. The 870 frequency is now WLVP and simulcasts an oldies format with WLAM while 106.7 FM is now WHXRmarker, an album oriented rock station. An earlier WMTW-FM was not connected to any other WMTW apart from also transmitting from Mount Washington.

Repeaters

In 2005, WMTW activated two repeaters: W26CQ in Colebrook, New Hampshiremarker (with a transmitter northwest of the town in Colman State Park) and W27CP in White River Junction, Vermontmarker (with a transmitter in the Mascoma section of Lebanonmarker) to make up for lost coverage when it signed-off from their longtime transmitter site on Mount Washington. Under normal conditions, the translators should have been built before WMTW moved its transmitter to Baldwin in order to comply with FCC regulations. However, Canadianmarker communications authorities had to agree to the proposed locations for the translators and this delayed construction until after WMTW activated its new transmitter. Colebrook is part of the Portland market but White River Junction is considered to be part of the Burlington, Vermontmarker / Plattsburgh, New Yorkmarker DMA. This location is in the coverage area of NBC affiliate WNNEmarker (that is also owned by Hearst) which is a semi-satellite of NBC affiliate WPTZmarker, another Hearst-Argyle station.

Although WNNE's transmitter is located on Mount Ascutneymarker, well south of White River Junction, it operates a repeater licensed to Lebanon with a trnamsitter west of the town on Crafts Hill. FCC regulations do not usually allow that two or more stations from two or more different markets have coverage of the same location (in this case, White River Junction). This rule, however, does not apply to repeaters. Incidentally, White River Junction is within the fringe area of sister station WMUR. Both WMTW repeaters were sold to New Hampshire Public Television in 2009. W27CP went silent on July 15 after losing the lease on its tower while W26CQ was shut down by Hearst on September 2 in preparation for the sale. The latter transmitter returned as an NHPTV relay on November 4.

News operation

Their nightly 11 o'clock open.


Throughout the years, WMTW has been ranked at a distant third behind WGME-TVmarker and WCSHmarker. With its statewide resources including sister station WLBZmarker in Bangormarker, WCSH has long been the market leader. However, WGME has recently begun to perform well weeknights at 11 o'clock and is gaining popularity in other time slots. WMTW at one point in time, in partnership with Time Warner Cable, operated a 24-hour cable news station on channel 9 (known as "WMTW All News Channel") throughout the Portland market. The cable station repeated local newscasts that aired on channel 8. It did not simulcast live newscasts that are were on the main WMTW channel. The channel relocated to the digital tier on May 5, 2009 and was eventually dropped all together.

Unlike most ABC affiliates, the station does not broadcast local news during the week in the 5 o'clock hour. Although they do not air weekend morning broadcasts, there are live weather updates provided during Good Morning America Weekend Edition. On August 30, 2007, WMTW launched "News 8 NOW" on a new second digital subchannel. It is part of The Local AccuWeather Channel and features local news, weather, and sports updates. There are also national weather forecasts that are provided by AccuWeather. Several public service announcements and station promotions air on the subchannel as well. "News 8 NOW" is offered on Time Warner and Comcast digital channel 165 as well as via live streaming video on its website. In Summer 2008, WMTW was given several awards. This included: "New England Emmy Award for Outstanding Newscast", "Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing News Coverage", and "AP Station of the Year Honor". The station has begun promoting each of its newscasts as having the top stories and a weather forecast in the first eight minutes.

WMTW claims to be the only Portland television station to have live doppler radar but it does not own or operate a weather radar of its own. Instead, the station uses live NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) radar data that originates from their Local Forecast Office in Graymarker. During weather segments, it is presented in a forecasting system known as "News 8 First Warning Live Doppler". A live video feed of this system is offered on WMTW's website.

Newscast titles

  • TV 8 News (1980s-1990s)
  • Channel 8 Eyewitness News (1990s-2000)
  • News 8 WMTW (2000-present)


Station slogans

  • "Portland's Watching Channel 8" (1991-1992, localized version of "America's Watching ABC" campaign)
  • "It Must Be Channel 8" (1992-1993, localized version of "It Must Be ABC" campaign)
  • "Where the News Comes First" (2000-present)


News team

WMTW's "News 8 NOW".


Anchors
  • Norm Karkos - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Shannon Moss - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Tory Ryden - weeknights
  • Jim Keithley - weekends and reporter
  • Tracy Sabol - weekends and reporter


News 8 WMTW First Warning Meteorologists
  • Tom Chisholm - Chief seen weeknights
  • Matt Zidle - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Jason Nappi - weekend mornings and "News 8 NOW"
  • Roger Griswold - weekend evenings
  • Russ Murley - fill-in


Sports
  • Travis Lee - Director seen weeknights and sports reporter
  • Dave Guthro - weekends and sports reporter
    • seen on "News 8 NOW"


Reporters
  • Sally Kidd - national correspondent
  • Laurie Kinney - national correspondent
  • Nikole Killion - weekday morning national correspondent
  • Jackie Couture - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Steve Minich
  • Keith Baldi
  • Will Lewis
  • Cam Tran


Alumni

This display was seen on Time Warner Cable channel 9 ("WMTW All News Channel") whenever there was a local newscast broadcasting on WMTW.
In this case, it was at Noon during the week.


Anchors
  • Jon Camp
  • Elisa Boxer (Cook) - married to Doug Cook
    • now a freelance journalist and children's environmental health advocate
  • Doug Cook - reporter
  • Kerry Kilbride- was with KCAL-TVmarker
  • Jerry D'Amico
  • John Dougherty - Managing Editor
    • currently retired
  • Darya Folsom - now at KRON-TVmarker
  • Michelle Frey - reporter
  • Patrick Greenlaw
  • Denise Keniston - reporter
  • Jeannine Lauber - host of periodic station specials
    • now documentary producer and Mary Kay consultant
  • Jeff Peterson - now at WGME
  • Rachael Ruble - weekday mornings
    • now a writer at KCPQmarker
  • Neila Smith
  • Dennis Spellman - now at KIAHmarker
  • Ryan Welch - weekend sports and weekday sports reporter


Meteorologists
  • Gray Stabley
  • Pete Bouchard - now at WHDH-TVmarker
  • Tom Elliman
  • Joan Trapp Weise - deceased
  • Jessica York - now at RSN


Reporters
  • Will Lewis
  • Danielle Strauss - relocated to Seattle
  • Katie Brace - now anchor and reporter at WPTVmarker
  • Gabe Caggiano - now at KZTVmarker
  • Bob Dyk - deceased
  • Bob Elliot - features
    • deceased
  • Marty Engstrom - weather reporter and engineer
    • now retired
  • Lisa Gardner - weekdays
    • now communications manager for Jobs for Mainemarker's graduates
  • Traci Mitchell - weekday morning national correspondent
  • Kathryn Sotnik - weekdays
  • Michael Weber - now at CBS Newspath
  • Christine Young - investigative


References

External links




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