Radio-TV Broadcast History

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Poland Spring/Portland, Maine
Branding WMTW-TV 8 (general)

News 8 WMTW (newscasts)

Slogan The Top Stories and a Complete Forecast in the First 8 Minutes
Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
Subchannels 8.1 ABC

8.2 AccuWX

Translators 26 (UHF) Portland
Owner Hearst Television

(Hearst Properties, Inc.)

First air date September 25, 1954
Call letters' meaning MounT Washington
Sister station(s) WPTZ, WNNE,


Former callsigns WMTW (1954-1958)

WMTW-TV (1958-2007)

Former channel number(s) 8 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)

46 (UHF digital) 26 W26CQ (UHF) Colebrook, NH (2005-2009) 27 W27CP (UHF) White River Junction, VT (2005-2009)

Former affiliations DuMont (secondary, 1954-1955)
Transmitter power 29.8 kW
Height 586 m
Facility ID 73288
Transmitter coordinates 43°50′44.2″N 70°45′40.8″W / 43.845611°N 70.761333°W / 43.845611; -70.761333

Digital programming[]

Its signal is multiplexed.



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


WMTW's previous logo used from 2000 until 2005.WMTW began broadcasting on September 25, 1954 under the ownership of Mount Washington Television, an ownership group that included former Maine Governor Horace Hildreth.[2] 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 analog VHF band. WMTW is also the longest-tenured primary ABC affiliate in New England.

The station originally aired an analog signal on VHF channel 8 from a transmitter on Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. 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 State, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The station also had significant viewership across the Canadian border in Montreal, which is almost five times as large as the population of WMTW's American coverage area.

It was considered to be the ABC affiliate of record for Northern Vermont and Montreal until WVNY signed-on in 1968. However for some time afterward, WMTW continued to have a large audience in Northern Vermont and it stayed on most Montreal cable systems until the early 1990s. Its transmitter tower had been originally been designed in 1940 by Edwin Armstrong for one of the first FM radio stations in the country. It built a new tower there in the 1960s but Armstrong's tower remained as a standby. Mount Washington Television sold the station to Jack Paar of Tonight Show fame in 1963.[3] Initially barred from appearing on WMTW due to contractual obligations to NBC [3], he later hosted several programs on the station including a Thursday night movie. In 1967, Paar sold WMTW to Mid New York Broadcasting [4] which changed its name to Harron Communications a decade later.[5][6]

The station had to leave Mount Washington in 2002 due to part of the Federal Communications Commission's digital television mandate. 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 (in fact, Harron was legally the power company on the mountain). 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 near West Baldwin, Maine 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. Despite WMTW's departure, two FM stations continue to occupy separate broadcast facilities on the top of the mountain.

Harron announced in December 2003 that it would leave broadcast ownership [7] and the station was sold to Hearst-Argyle Television a few months later.[8] In 2007, WMTW dropped its longtime use of the -TV suffix. On June 12, 2009, it moved back to channel 8 when the analog to digital conversion was completed.[9][10] The station currently has a construction permit for a 6.2 kW fill-in digital translator on UHF channel 26 for viewers that have difficulty receiving their signal on VHF channel 8.[11] The translator would serve the immediate part of Portland and some surrounding areas from a transmitter on top of the Time and Temperature Building. On April 26, 2010, the station filed a License to Cover on their new translator, which was granted by the FCC on June 1, 2010. [12]

Sister radio stations[]

Several radio stations have been co-owned with channel 8. The first, on 94.9 FM, was co-owned with WMTW-TV from the radio station's launch in 1958 until 1971; it is now WHOM and continues to transmit from Mount Washington. The other two, on 870 AM in Gorham and 106.7 FM in North Windham, served first as news-talk stations and later as all-news stations, and were also simulcast on WLAM (1470) in Lewiston. 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 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 WXTP. An earlier WMTW-FM was not connected to WMTW-TV (having predated channel 8 by several years), apart from also transmitting from Mount Washington.


In 2005, WMTW activated two repeaters: W26CQ in Colebrook, New Hampshire (with a transmitter northwest of the town in Colman State Park) and W27CP in White River Junction, Vermont (with a transmitter in the Mascoma section of Lebanon) to make up for lost coverage when it signed off from Mount Washington. Under normal conditions, the translators should have been built before WMTW moved off the mountain in order to comply with FCC regulations. However, Canadian 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, Vermont / Plattsburgh, New York DMA. This location is in the coverage area of NBC affiliate WNNE, another Hearst-owned station, which serves as a semi-satellite of sister station WPTZ. Although WNNE's transmitter is located on Mount Ascutney, well south of White River Junction, it operates a repeater licensed to Lebanon with a tranmsitter 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 another sister station, WMUR-TV. Both WMTW repeaters were sold to New Hampshire Public Television in 2009.[13] W27CP went silent on July 15 after losing the lease on its tower[14], while W26CQ was shut down by Hearst on September 2 in preparation for the sale.[15] The latter transmitter returned as an NHPTV relay on November 4.[16]

News operation[]

WMTW's nightly 11 o'clock open.Throughout the years, WMTW has been ranked at a distant third behind WGME-TV and WCSH. With its statewide resources including sister station WLBZ in Bangor, 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 operates a 24-hour cable news station in partnership with Time Warner Cable (known as "WMTW All News Channel") throughout the Portland market. The cable station repeats local newscasts that air on Channel 8. It does not simulcast live newscasts that air on the main WMTW channel. The channel launched on Channel 9 and relocated to the digital tier (Channel 156) on May 5, 2009.

Unlike most ABC affiliates, WMTW does not broadcast local news during the week in the 5PM hour; Dr. Phil airs in the time period. 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 WMTW's 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". WMTW did not air weekend morning broadcasts until January 2, 2010, though it did produce live weather updates during Good Morning America Weekend Edition. WMTW aired a weekday midday newscast until January 8, 2010; the newscast was canceled and replaced by infomercials. The station promotes 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, it uses live NOAA National Weather Service radar data that originate from the Local Forecast Office in Gray. 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. WMTW used to have a two-anchor sports staff; when previous weeknight sports anchor Dave Guthro shifted to news anchor/general assignment reporter duties, his position was not replaced. Currently Sports Director Travis Lee anchors the 6PM weeknight sports segment, while news anchor Tracy Sabol handles the 11PM weeknight sports segment. News anchors also handle the sports segments on weekends.

Newscast titles[]

  • News Circle (1970s)
  • TV-8 News (1980s-1993)
  • News 8 New England (1993-1994)
  • Channel 8 News (1994-2000)
  • News 8 WMTW (2000–present)

Station slogans[]

  • "On Top of It All" (1970s)
  • "We're Still the One, on TV-8" (1977-1980; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "You and Me and TV-8" (1980-1981; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Now Is The Time, TV-8's The Place" (1981-1982; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Come On Along With TV-8" (1982-1983; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "That Special Feeling on TV-8" (1983-1984; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "You'll Love It On TV-8" (1985-1986; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "Together With You On Channel 8" (1986-1987; localized version of ABC ad campaign)
  • "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
  • Shannon Moss - weekday mornings
  • Tracy Sabol - weeknights
  • Thema Ponton - weekend mornings and reporter
  • Dave Guthro - weekend mornings and weekday morning reporter three days a week
  • Jim Keithley - weekend evenings and reporter
  • Travis Lee - weeknight sports

News 8 WMTW First Warning Meteorologists

  • Tom Chisholm - Chief seen weeknights
  • Matt Zidle - weekday mornings
  • Roger Griswold - weekend mornings
  • Paul Janus - weekend evenings
  • Russ Murley - fill-in


  • Kate Amara - weekday morning national correspondent
  • Nikole Killion - national correspondent
  • Sally Kidd - national correspondent
  • Jackie Couture - weekday mornings
  • Steve Minich
  • Keith Baldi
  • Cam Tran

Former staff[]


  • Tory Ryden - retired from broadcasting
  • Jon Camp
  • Elisa Boxer (Cook) - married to Doug Cook
    • now a freelance journalist and children's environmental health advocate
  • Doug Cook - reporter
    • now communications director at Bowdoin College
  • Kerry Kilbride- was with KCAL-TV
  • Jerry D'Amico
  • John Dougherty - Managing Editor
    • currently retired
  • Darya Folsom - now at KRON-TV
  • Michelle Frey - reporter
  • Patrick Greenlaw
  • Denise Keniston - reporter
  • Jeannine Lauber - Anchor and 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 KCPQ
  • Neila Smith
  • Dennis Spellman - Vice President of External Affairs at the Houston Housing Authority
  • Jonathan Hall - now at WHDH-TV
  • Ryan Welch - weekend sports and weekday sports reporter


  • Gray Stabley
  • Jason Nappi - now at WOAY-TV
  • Pete Bouchard - now at WHDH-TV
  • Tom Elliman
  • Joan Trapp Weise - deceased
  • Jessica York - now at RSN


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


  1. ^
  2. ^ (PDF) Telecasting Yearbook-Marketbook 1955-56. 1955. p. 138. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Marsters, Jack (October 11, 1963). "Jack Paar Buys WMTW-TV". The Gazette (Montreal): p. 6. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  4. ^ "Bits of Show Business". The Milwaukee Journal: p. 15. November 10, 1967. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  5. ^ (PDF) Broadcasting Yearbook 1977. 1977. p. A-40. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  6. ^ (PDF) Broadcasting Yearbook 1978. 1978. p. A-37. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  7. ^ "Family-run Maine TV station put up for sale". Associated Press via Bangor Daily News. December 20, 2003. p. B5. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "Company Briefs". The New York Times: p. C4. January 27, 2004. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  14. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. August 10, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
  15. ^ "Notification of Suspension of Operations". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. August 31, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
  16. ^ New Hampshire Public Television (October 29, 2009). "Broadcasting of NHPTV Signal Expected to Switch From Channel 18 to Channel 26 on Nov. 4". Press release. Retrieved November 6, 2009.

External links[]