WJAR, branded on-air as NBC 10, is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Providence, Rhode Island, United States and also serving New Bedford, Massachusetts. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 50 (or virtual channel 10 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the station shares studios on Kenney Drive in Cranston with Telemundo owned-and-operated station WRIW-CD (channel 51, owned by NBCUniversal).
WJAR-TV signed on for the first time on July 10, 1949, broadcasting on channel 11. It was Rhode Island's first television station and the fourth in New England. It was owned by The Outlet Company, a department store chain headquartered in Providence, along with WJAR radio (AM 920, now WHJJ; and FM 95.5, now occupied by WLVO). In 1952, after hearing about repeated instances of interference in Connecticut between WJAR-TV and New York City's WPIX (also on channel 11), the FCC's Sixth Report and Order changed the television allocations for Providence and forced the station to move to channel 10, which it did in the spring of 1953. At that time, WJAR's coverage area increased, since the interference with WPIX had been rectified.
WJAR-TV initially carried programming from all four networks of the time (NBC, ABC, DuMont, and CBS), but has always been a primary NBC affiliate due to WJAR radio's long affiliation with NBC Radio. Despite this, WJAR only carried a little more than half of NBC's program schedule during its early years on the air; WJAR also broadcast about half of the CBS network schedule and a couple of shows each from ABC and DuMont every week. It lost ABC in 1953 when WNET-TV signed on, and lost CBS in 1955 when WPRO-TV (now WPRI-TV) launched. When WNET-TV went dark in 1956, WJAR shared ABC programming with WPRO-TV until WTEV (now WLNE-TV) signed on in 1963. During the late 1950s, WJAR-TV was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. In 1954, WJAR-TV received national attention for its coverage of Hurricane Carol; newsreel films shot by WJAR cameramen of the storm and its aftermath not only appeared on the station, but also fed to CBS and NBC for use on their evening news programs.
For many years in the 1970s, WJAR-TV broadcast men's basketball games of Providence College and the University of Rhode Island, with Chris Clark calling play-by-play. In the early 1970s, when PC was one of the top teams in the country (and the top college basketball team in New England), their home games at the newly opened Providence Civic Center were often sellouts, despite the fact that WJAR televised many of these home games live.
In November 1980, the Outlet Company left the department store business to concentrate on broadcasting. A year earlier, the station moved its studios from the Outlet Building to a three-story modern production facility next door. The department store remained standing until 1986, when it burned to the ground in a spectacular fire. WJAR cameras perched on the neighboring rooftop captured the most dramatic footage. In April 1993, the station's studios were moved to their current location in an industrial area of Cranston just south of Providence. Three years later, Outlet Communications merged with NBC, making WJAR the second network-owned station in the market (CBS owned WPRI-TV for parts of 1995 and 1996 before selling it to Clear Channel Communications).
In April 1997, WJAR began to operate WB affiliate WLWC (which was owned by Fant Broadcasting) under a local marketing agreement (LMA). Even by the time that station signed on, the future of the LMA was in doubt given the fact that NBC, which inherited the arrangement from Outlet, did not want to run stations outside their core owned-and-operated outlets. The network, during this time, pushed Fant to sell WLWC. In September 1997, NBC came up with a three-way swap in which Fant exchanged WLWC and sister station WWHO in Columbus, Ohio to Paramount/Viacom for that group's NBC affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut, WVIT.
WJAR was one of four NBC O&Os in smaller markets that were put up for sale on January 9, 2006, along with stations in Columbus, Birmingham, Alabama, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Except for the Birmingham station, these were also once owned by Outlet. On April 6, 2006, NBC Universal and Media General announced that Media General would purchase WJAR as part of a $600 million four station deal between the two companies. The deal was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 26. As a result, WJAR became Media General's first television station in New England. For all intents and purposes, this undid the NBC-Outlet merger a decade earlier.
In its earliest days, WJAR's logo included a Rhode Island Red rooster, the state bird of Rhode Island. Prior to WJAR's purchase by NBC, it had included various versions of a different stylized "10" above the WJAR call letters. This had been in effect for the previous twenty years. The stylized "10" was initially retained after the purchase, but with the NBC peacock attached to the right-hand side and the call letters removed. This was dropped in 2002 in favor of an "NBC 10" logo first used on former sister station WCAU in Philadelphia. A modified version, used on newscasts starting in 2007, was designed and arranged similarly to other Media General station logos. In February 2014, both versions of that logo were replaced with the station's current logo.
On March 21, 2014, LIN Media entered into an agreement to merge with Media General in a $1.6 billion deal. Because LIN already owned CBS affiliate WPRI and operates Fox affiliate WNAC-TV (channel 64), and the two stations rank among the four highest-rated stations in the Providence market in total day viewership, the companies were required to sell either WJAR or WPRI-TV to another station owner in order to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as planned changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations which would prohibit sharing agreements; the grandfathered LMA involving WNAC was included in the sale but remained with WPRI-TV due to the grandfathered status. On August 20, 2014, Media General announced that it would keep WPRI and the LMA with WNAC and sell WJAR, along with WLUK-TV and WCWF in Green Bay and WTGS in Savannah, Georgia, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group in exchange for KXRM-TV and KXTU-LD in Colorado Springs and WTTA in Tampa Bay. The sale was completed on December 19, marking Sinclair's return to owning a Providence market station after a year and a half, as it owned WLWC from January 2012 until April 2013.
|TV stations in New England|
|WVIT, Hartford/New Haven|
|TV stations in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts including Providence and New Bedford|
|WLNE 6 (ABC) |
WJAR 10 (NBC)
WPRI 12 (CBS)
WLWC 28 (Bounce TV)
WSBE 36 (PBS)
WRIW-CD 51 (TLM)
WNAC 64 (Fox)
WPXQ 69 (Ion)