WCSH is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Portland, Maine, United States, serving southern Maine as well as eastern and northern New Hampshire. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 44 (or virtual channel 6 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Winn Mountain in Sebago. Owned by Tegna, WCSH has studios at Congress Square in Downtown Portland.
WCSH is the sister station to Maine's other NBC affiliate, WLBZ (channel 2) in Bangor. For all intents and purposes, WLBZ is a semi-satellite of WCSH. It simulcasts most of WCSH's newscasts and clears most of its syndicated programming (though in some cases at different times). There are also some programs that only air on WLBZ while some are only seen on WCSH. WLBZ also airs separate station identifications and commercials. Although WCSH and WLBZ are based in different locations and technically serve separate markets, the two essentially operate as one station. With their combined resources, the stations provide statewide coverage not offered by any other outlet in Maine.
WCSH-TV signed on December 20, 1953, from studios at the Congress Square Hotel in downtown Portland. The station was owned by the Rines family through their Maine Broadcasting System; the family had built the hotel in 1896, and established WCSH radio (970 AM, now WZAN) on the top floor in 1925. It has always been an NBC affiliate, although during the late-1950s, the station was also briefly associated with the NTA Film Network. In 1958, the Rines family acquired WTWO in Bangor from Murray Carpenter, and renamed it WLBZ-TV (after WLBZ radio, now WZON, which the family had owned since 1944). Although the two television stations were now sister stations, they remained completely separate entities. At various points, the Maine Broadcasting System also included WRDO radio in Augusta and KMEG in Sioux City, Iowa, with WCSH-AM-TV as its flagship.
In 1977, WCSH-TV moved to new facilities across the street from the hotel at One Congress Square, where it remains today. The radio stations were sold off in 1981; in 1997, the -TV suffix was dropped. In the mid-1990s, WCSH added a website providing 24-hour news and weather coverage outside newscasts. In 1998, the Maine Broadcasting System (by this time controlled by the Rines-Thompson family) sold WCSH and WLBZ to the Gannett Company who put it into the Pacific and Southern, LLC part of the company. Since 2000, WLBZ has for all intents and purposes been a semi-satellite of WCSH; as early as 1989, WLBZ had been reducing its personnel and consolidating some internal operations with WCSH.
WCSH's digital signal on UHF channel 44 signed on in 2002, bringing high definition network television to the area. WCSH's broadcasts became digital-only, effective June 12, 2009 and began providing a "nightlight" service. Until that date, the station's analog audio signal transmitted on a frequency of 87.75 MHz (+10 kHz shift). As a result, it could be picked up on the lower end of the dial on most FM radios at 87.7 MHz. This was true of all other analog channel 6 stations in the United States. The station often promoted this additional way of coverage. After the transition, the station continued its digital broadcasts on channel 44.
Around the first week of October 2012, Gannett entered a dispute against Dish Network regarding compensation fees and Dish's AutoHop commercial-skip feature on its Hopper digital video recorders. Gannett ordered that Dish discontinue AutoHop on the account that it is affecting advertising revenues for WCSH. Gannett threatened to pull all of its stations (such as WCSH) should the skirmish continue beyond October 7 and Dish and Gannett fail to reach an agreement. The two parties eventually reached an agreement after extending the deadline for a few hours.
On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split in two, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. WCSH and WLBZ were retained by the latter company, named Tegna.
|TV stations in New England|
|WVIT, Hartford/New Haven|
|TV stations in Southern Maine and Carroll and Coös Counties, New Hampshire, including Portland, Augusta, Berlin, and Rockland|
|WCSH 6 (NBC) |
WMTW 8 (ABC)
WCBB 10 (PBS)
WGME 13 (CBS)
W14DA-D 14 (Ind.)
WLLB-LD 15 (Daystar)
WGBI-LP 21 (RTV)
WPFO 23 (Fox)
WMEA 26 (PBS)
WIPL 35 (Ion)
WFYW-LP 41 (3ABN)
WPXT 51 (CW)