New Hampshire Public Television is a television company and public broadcasting state network in New Hampshire, licensed to New Hampshire Public Broadcasting (NHPB), and is part of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Established in 1959, its broadcast center is located on the University of New Hampshire (UNH) campus in Durham, New Hampshire. Until 2014, NHPTV was owned and operated by the university; it is now run by an independent nonprofit organization named after the statewide network.
Originally, NHPTV consisted of only WENH-TV in Durham; in the late 1960s, several UHF satellite stations and translators signed-on in northern and western New Hampshire (see below). The operation was named the New Hampshire Network, adopting its present name and on-air branding in 1976. In later years, NHPTV occasionally used its flagship station's channel number as its branding.
Initially broadcasting in black-and-white, NHPTV converted its Durham studio to color in 1972, with an increase in the number of locally produced programs taking effect at that time. Among local shows launched in the early 1970s were The State We're In, a nightly newscast focusing on state issues; A Time for Music, live performances by New England-based musicians; live coverage of most University of New Hampshire home men's hockey games; and Your Time, where representatives of nonprofit organizations were given a half-hour of airtime to showcase their organizations.
A Time for Music and Your Time (the latter later eventually renamed Public Access 11) stayed on the air for several years. The State We're In, later renamed Channel 11 News, went off the air in July of 1981, while UNH men's hockey continued on NHPTV until 2008.
After Channel 11 News went off the air in 1981, New Hampshire Journal, a lower-budget weekly news review was launched; that same year, a feature magazine series titled New Hampshire Crossroads premiered; its original host was Tom Bergeron. The latter series was allowed to go ahead despite the 1981 budget cuts because it had received funding from outside sources. Since the hockey games were also funded by outside underwriters, they too were allowed to continue. The winter of 1984 saw the premiere of NHPTV's long-running academic quiz show Granite State Challenge. Originally hosted by Bergeron, it is now hosted by Jim Jeanotte, who also did many years of play-by-play for NHPTV's UNH hockey coverage.
NHPTV is available over the air in nearly 75 percent of New Hampshire. Additionally, flagship station WENH is available on a limited set of cable television providers in parts of Maine (including Portland) and Vermont (including the Barre/Montpelier area). WENH is available on DirecTV and Dish Network's Boston feeds as well; Durham is part of the Boston market. It had been available on most cable systems in eastern Massachusetts (including Boston) for decades until October 2012.
NHPTV's four signals are multiplexed.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|xx.1||1080i||16:9||PrimeHD||Main NHPTV programming / PBS|
NHPTV's stations shut down their analog signals on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009).
Each station's post-transition digital allocations are as follows:
- WENH-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 11; the station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 11.
- WEKW-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 52; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 49. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 52, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
- WLED-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 49; the station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 48. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 49.
Because New Hampshire is split between the Boston, Portland, and Burlington/Plattsburgh markets, nearly all NHPTV viewers also receive another PBS station on cable or satellite (in some cases more than one). For much of its history, NHPTV elected to differentiate its program schedule for the other PBS stations in the market. Generally, NHPTV's broadcast of PBS programs and series did not air on the same day and time as they do on Boston's WGBH-TV, MPBN, Vermont PBS or WCFE-TV in Plattsburgh.
NHPTV produced a number of local series, including:
- NH Outlook
- Windows to the Wild
- Granite State Challenge
- Wildlife Journal (co-produced with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department)
- New Hampshire Crossroads
Production of most local programs, except for Wildlife Journal, was discontinued in June 2011 because NHPTV lost all of its funding from the State of New Hampshire, which accounted for 30% of the station's total fiscal 2011 budget.
NHPTV produced live coverage of most University of New Hampshire men's hockey home games from the 1972/1973 season through the 2007/2008 season. However, in June 2008 NHPTV announced that it was unable to continue to broadcast the games due to budgetary considerations.
The cooking show Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito was formerly distributed by NHPTV and produced at the NHPTV studios in Durham.
In September 2011 NHPTV was said to be in preliminary discussions with WGBH-TV and public broadcasters in Maine and Vermont about sharing infrastructure and content. The station became an independent nonprofit organization, New Hampshire Public Broadcasting (NHPB), on July 1, 2012. It had operated as an entity of UNH from 1959 until 2008, when NHPB was established as a nonprofit subsidiary of the University System of New Hampshire [USNH] to take over day-to-day operations, though the USNH Board of Trustees retained the broadcast licenses at that time. This followed the 2011 loss of state funding, which resulted in NHPTV no longer receiving any money from USNH. Certain business services were then outsourced to WGBH, but the station itself still operates independently.
As part of the arrangement, NHPTV began to follow PBS's national schedule in tandem with WGBH-TV on September 30, 2012 (with NHPTV Explore's lineup changing from a mix of educational, New England and local programming to a schedule nearly identical to that of WGBX-TV), and master control operations were relocated to the WGBH studios in Boston. Following the changes, Comcast dropped WGBH and WGBX from its New Hampshire systems and NHPTV from its Massachusetts systems.
As of the DTV transition on February 17, 2009, the NHPTV stations are:
|Station||City of license||Channels|
TV / RF
|First air date||Call letters'|
|ERP||HAAT||Facility ID||Transmitter coordinates|
|July 6, 1959||Educational New Hampshire||30 kW||304.1 m||69237|
|May 21, 1968||Educational Keene|
Western New Hampshire
|43 kW||330 m||69271|
|February 19681||Littleton EDucational||45 kW||388 m||69328|
- 1. The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook says WLED signed on February 7, while the Television and Cable Factbook says it signed on February 8.
- 1. Successor to W18BO, which operated on analog channel 18 in Pittsburg. From 2005 until November 4, 2009, W26CQ was owned by Hearst Television and served as a translator for ABC affiliate WMTW.
- 2. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers W34DQ-D to be the same station as the former W18BO. It went on the air on September 27, 2010 and is currently operated in addition to W26CQ.
- 3. Formerly W15BK, which operated on analog channel 15 (it flash-cut to digital on September 4, 2007).
Both translators directly repeat WENH. Colebrook and Pittsburg are part of the Portland market, while Hanover is part of the Burlington/Plattsburgh market.
Although NHPTV has been available for decades on cable systems in southern Maine, it has yet to be added to the Portland DBS feeds because of W26CQ and W34DQ-D's low-power status. However, NHPTV is working to change the satellite regulations so it can be carried in the Portland market as well. It also has a long-term goal of building a full-power transmitter atop Mount Washington, which would improve reception in northern New Hampshire and the Upper Connecticut Valley, as well as presumably offer city-grade coverage of Portland.
In addition, NHPTV acquired W27CP in White River Junction, Vermont, from WMTW along with W26CQ; that station went dark on July 15, 2009 (while still owned by WMTW), due to having lost the lease on its tower site, and never returned to the air, leading the FCC to delete W27CP on September 14, 2011.
In the summer of 1981, New Hampshire Public Television was suffering a significant financial crisis. These stations were turned off for good as a result.
|Station||City of license||Channel||Call letters'|
|Facility ID||Transmitter coordinates|
|WHED-TV||Hanover||15 (UHF)1||Hanover EDucational||69303|
|WEDB-TV||Berlin||40 (UHF)||EDucational Berlin||69056|
|W59AB (low power)||North Woodstock||59 (UHF)|
WHED-TV was eventually replaced, in 1994, by a translator (originally W15BK, operating on WHED's former analog channel 15, and then, starting in 2007, low-power digital station W50DP-D). Otherwise, the defunct stations were generally superseded by cable carriage of WENH/NHPTV.