Binnie buy to lead to something bigger for the Granite State?


We’ve heard that Center Broadcasting’s WYCN-LP (ch. 36) sale to New Hampshire 1 Network Inc. (William H. Binnie) may be a lot more than just an LPTV sale. Binnie is cobbling together pieces of signals to likely make something bigger in the way of a programming offering. He’s got the capital behind him, selling Carlisle Plastics years ago for $90 million and starting Carlisle Capital. Binnie was a Republican Senatorial candidate who lost in the primary this September. Some of that capital was spent on his political run, but possibly now he has the TV bug. His interest & buy of LPTV sticks is good news in an industry segment largely undervalued & misunderstood.

Binnie also owns WVBK-CA Manchester VT and WVBQ-LP Charlestown NH, which he purchased from Vision 3 Broadcasting for New Hampshire 1 Network Inc. recently as well. WVBK-CA is the Resort Sports Network affiliate for southern Vermont, licensed in Manchester, VT. The station’s over-the-air transmissions are on VHF channel 2, with no digital signal; the 12 and 20 in WVBK’s branding are its cable TV channel numbers. We wonder if the new signals will be combined with WVBK’s ski programming and tourism programming, or if something else will be done, such as a news network. Whatever it is, combined it could cover quite a bit of territory and local marketing dollars.
FCC filings show aggressively expanded coverage on both the VHF & UHF dial.

See link to FCC map pdfs at top right of page.

Remember that NH is the only New England state with only one PBS and ABC affiliate. It is served by Boston stations and has always been the doormat of news coverage from Boston except for murders, floods and the Presidential primary.

If the FCC approves the changes Binnie will have six stations that nicely cover the key areas two times. He now owns two Class A’s and four translators, all adjacent to each other. The coverage is pretty impressive. Between W39AR, W33AK and W28CM, WVBK, WVBQ and WYCN, the combined coverage is over 90% of the New Hampshire population.
Repeated calls to Binnie were unreturned and this story is culled from industry knowledge and public FCC files.

RBR-TVBR observation: The digital coverage on these maps (especially the VHF stations) is out to the fringe contour. We have to note (as many have) that digital coverage on VHF is problematic vs. UHF. But regardless, this coverage will hit a large area of population. The FCC is still trying to take away 120 mHz from the top of the UHF band to allocate to broadband. This could force more broadcasters over to VHF, which is notorious for its poor digital propagation (i.e. WLS Ch. 7 in Chicago, WHDH Channel 7 in Boston).