The Boston TV Dial: WFXT(TV)

Who, What, Where

Community: Boston
Analog channel: 25+ (will keep)
Digital channel: 31
PSIP: 25-1: main program
Ownership: Fox Television Stations Inc.
(News Corp. [NYSE: NWS]/Rupert Murdoch)
Studio: 25 Fox Drive (1000 Providence Highway)
Dedham, MA 02027-9125
Transmitter: ATC Needham (UHF Candelabra)
140 Cabot Street
Needham, MA 02194-2802
Phones:
Receptionist +1 781 467 2525
Newsroom 467 1300
Viewer Services 467 1499
Network: Fox

Technical Parameters

WFXT transmits from the candelabra antenna above the Sheraton Needham Hotel, Cabot Street, Needham. WFXT's analog service on channel 25 uses 1950 kW peak visual ERP from 357 meters (1,171 ft) above average terrain. The digital service on channel 31 operates at 78 kW from 330 meters; the digital antenna hangs below WFXT's analog “tine” of the candelabra. The station has elected to return to channel 25 after the digital TV transition period is over.

Station History

The first Channel 25 construction permit was granted in 1969 to “WREP-TV Inc.”, owned by Leonard Sait, Augustus P. Loring, Freeman Hill, and ICS Inc. Studios were to have been at 1168 Commonwealth Avenue, and the station was to have used 724 kW visual from 520 feet AAT. WREP-TV never made it to the air, and channel 25 remained dark until October 10, 1977.

On that day, WXNE-TV signed on, owned by the Christian Broadcasting Network. The calls stood for “Christ (X) in New England”, and programming was at first religious. WXNE used, as channel 25 still does, the candelabra UHF antenna in Needham. Its studios were just across the street, at 100 Second Avenue in Needham. Within a few years, WXNE became a straightforward independent station. In 1986, CBN sold WXNE to the new Fox Television Network, which changed the calls to WFXT.

When Fox owner Rupert Murdoch bought the Boston Herald in 1990, cross-ownership rules compelled him to sell WFXT. The Boston Celtics basketball team paid $10 million for the station, and took control on May 11, 1990. WFXT remained a Fox affiliate. The Celtics also purchased WEEI, and for a time planned to move WEEI to the new WFXT building in Dedham.

In 1993, WFXT launched a 10pm newscast produced by New England Cable News. The “Fox 25 News at Ten” soon led the 10pm news ratings, ahead of established competitor WLVI and a new 10pm newscast from WSBK (produced by WBZ-TV). Murdoch sold the Boston Herald in 1993, making it possible for him to repurchase WFXT, for some 10 times what he had received in 1990. In September of 1995, Fox confirmed months of speculation by announcing that it would not renew the contract with New England Cable News after its termination October 1st. A new, station-produced, hour-long newscast began in September, 1996.

WFXT was one of the first Boston stations to apply for and then construct digital TV. A construction permit for WFXT-DT was first applied for in May of 1998, and modified in January 1999; a license covering the CP was granted in May '99.

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This station profile was written by the editors of The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. We have no relationship with the station; please send any comments or questions about their programming directly to the station. Network connectivity courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

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