Elizabeth Warren has joined Edward Markey, her fellow U.S. senator from Massachusetts, in calling on Comcast for proof that the company’s new NBC O&O in Boston will cover the entire market.
The senators’ concern that viewers in the country’s ninth largest market will be shut out of NBC programming comes just weeks before the new station, WBTS, officially launches Jan. 1.
On Monday, Markey expressed his interest in a letter to Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, asking for detailed information showing how the network plans to deliver the station to the entire Boston market, even though it doesn’t have as great a reach as the current NBC affiliate, Sunbeam’s WHDH. NBC station execs say they already have improved the strength of the signal with the addition of two transmitters and the purchase of a low-power TV station.
“WBTS (8.1) and WNEU (60.2) are currently operating and airing the Countdown NBC station," said Comcast in a statement. "We will be providing additional detail in our response to Senator Markey’s letter.”
WBTS’ official launch will cap NBC’s high-profile effort to establish an O&O in the lucrative Boston market—a move that WHDH owner Ed Ansin tried to stop in court. His station will become a news-heavy independent in 2017.