NBC to Drop Boston Affiliate Station

Company announces plan to establish network-owned station in Jan. 2017

NBC will end its relationship with Boston affiliate WHDH, the network announced Thursday.

In a memo to employees at the station, NBC said it would establish a network-owned station and create its own local news team, according to the Boston Globe.

WHDH owner Ed Ansin has already said he plans to fight decision in court and has assembled a legal team to combat it. “We are going to contest it,” Ansin said. “I have a feeling a year from now we will still be the NBC affiliate. That’s how serious we think the violations are.”

Among Ansin’s chief concerns is that the network will broadcast from a station that will reach a fraction of the audience that WHDH can reach. Ansin also said that he fears that NBC parent company Comcast would control too large a share of the Boston TV market should the move go through.

Ansin has famously sparred with NBC in the past, including an incident in 2009 when he refused to air the new Jay Leno primetime talk show, as he planned to launch a local newscast in the timeslot instead. After a week, Ansin agreed to air Leno’s program.

Should the deal go through, Ansin said he will operate WHDH as an independent new station. The station currently has approximately 200 employees.