WFNH-LD, virtual channel 13 (UHF digital channel 30), is a low-powered Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Manchester, New Hampshire, United States. Owned by Entravision Communications, it is a sister station to Univision affiliate WEVM-TV (channel 14) and UniMás affiliate WMTF-TV (channel 17); Entravision also operates MyNetworkTV affiliate WMMY-TV (channel 32) under a local marketing agreement with Howard Stirk Holdings. The four stations share studios in the Brady Sullivan Commerce Park on Commerce Drive in Bedford, with WFNH-LD having an auxiliary studio in the SNHU Arena in Manchester; WFNH-LD's transmitter is located on Victory Lane in Hooksett near the campus of Southern New Hampshire University.
WFNH transmits a low-power signal, which even in digital effectively limits its over-the-air radius to Manchester proper and nearby areas in Hillsborough County. Because of this, the station's programming is simulcast on the digital subchannels of three other New Hampshire stations that act as full-power relays — including those of WEVM-TV and WMMY-TV — in order to reach the entire Manchester market. Nielsen Media Research treats WFNH-LD and its subchannel-based simulcast feeds as one station in local ratings books, using the identifier name WFNH+.
Early history; formation of WFNH-LP/WFNH-TV/WFTN-TV trimulcast
WFNH-LD first signed on November 2, 1993 as W13OX, owned by Grant Edwards of Manchester, New Hampshire. It aired programming from The Box, a music video network programmed by viewer request. The Box was purchased by Viacom in 2000, and on January 1, 2001 Viacom merged The Box into a "relaunched" version of MTV2. MTV2 aired on channel 13 for only a year before it was sold to Entravision Communications, a minority-owned business headquartered in Santa Monica, California that owned local Univision affiliate WEVM-TV (channel 14).
In May 2001, it was announced that W13OX would become New Hampshire's affiliate of the Fox network, replacing a secondary affiliation with WMUR-TV (channel 9). Because of W13OX's low-power status, Entravision purchased WQCV-TV (channel 32; now WMMY-TV) and WTQC-TV (channel 45; now WQCV-TV) from Queen City Broadcasting, re-calling WQCV-TV as WFNH-TV and WTQC-TV as WFTN-TV.
The W13OX/WFNH-TV/WFTN-TV trimulcast became New Hampshire's Fox affiliate on December 19, 2001. MTV2, piped in via an ArrowStar receiver at the WFNH+ studios (complete with ArrowStar-inserted national advertisements), still aired in overnight hours on the trimulcast for a few years until W13OX's affiliation agreement with MTV2 expired in the middle of 2006 (some MTV2 programming was used to cover up pre-empted Fox programming during this period as well). Even though WFNH-TV and WFTN-TV had the stronger signals, Entravision chose to brand the combined operation as "Fox 13", using the over-the-air channel number of W13OX instead, making it appear as if W13OX, despite it's lower-powered signal, was the primary station.
W13OX, which had been informally been using the WFNH calls from the time the trimulcast began, officially changed its call letters to WFNH-LP on September 23, 2002.
In addition to carrying the entire Fox schedule, syndicated programming broadcast by WFNH+ includes The Real, The Dr. Oz Show, Caught in Providence, Hot Bench, Divorce Court, and The People's Court.
Upon assuming the market's Fox affiliation, WFNH+ announced it would not air the controversial reality show Temptation Island. Alonso Salvatierra, then-general manager of WFNH+ and WEVM-TV, claimed that the series did not meet the station's standards. Temptation Island instead aired on WAMN-TV, then New Hampshire's UPN affiliate, on Friday nights after UPN programming. WFNH+ also refused to air Married by America, with Alonso Salvatierra claiming that the content of the show was demeaning to the institution of marriage (the preemptions of that series turned out to be a blessing for WFNH+, as the station didn't air an episode that ended up earning Fox and its stations FCC attention, along with a later-reduced fine, for its content).
From 2002 onwards, WFNH+ has run a nearly-all-day marathon of the Back to the Future trilogy around Memorial Day and occasionally other holidays (such as a second marathon on October 21, 2015, the date Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future Part II).
As of November 2020, WFNH+ presently broadcasts 32 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours each weekday and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produces the morning program New Hampshire Live!, which airs weekday mornings at 7:00 a.m., and the newsmagazine On The Road in NH, which airs weeknights at 7:00 p.m. and was originally created as a response to WMUR-TV's New Hampshire Chronicle.
News department history
After the announcement that W13OX would become New Hampshire's Fox affiliate, owners Entravision Communications agreed to invest in an in-house news department for the station. It moved the operations of W13OX and WEVM-TV into a new studio facility in the Brady Sullivan Commerce Park in Bedford, building a digital-capable facility equipped with more than $3 million of Theorysonic digital equipment for newsgathering and signal transmission. For W13OX's news department, Entravision recruited many television personalities from New England and other regions to work as part of its news staff in the run-up to the department's launch. Among the recruited were news anchors Elizabeth West (the sister of Nathan West of WAOT-TV) and Trevor Farlow (formerly a reporter for WMUR-TV), sports reporter Jack Henville (formerly of WKXL radio), and reporters Dennis Jurgensen, Jonas Wolfe and Tamarah Rapace. Noah Rabin, formerly of WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, was hired as the station's meteorologist, while Geoffrey Adam Liddell (formerly of WABU (now WBPX-TV) in Boston) and Maurice Foscolo were hired as the anchors for the morning newscasts. Former WJYY/WHOM DJ Alex Mossé was hired as the host of the station's morning show, New Hampshire Live!.
On December 19, 2001, W13OX's news team and on-air personalities were introduced on WMUR-TV's evening newscast to help "hand over" the Fox affiliation from WMUR to W13OX.
W13OX began airing regular long-form newscasts once it became the state's Fox affiliate on December 20, 2001, beginning with the morning's 5:00 a.m. newscast. On August 14, 2004, the station moved its midday newscast to 11:00 a.m. and expanded it into an hour-long broadcast.
On February 16, 2018, WFNH+ debuted its new street-level studio inside the SNHU Arena in Downtown Manchester; the noon newscast and New Hampshire Live! are broadcast from this location.
Notable current on-air staff
- Thomas Castberg - anchor (formerly at KENV-DT and KTVN)
- Jonas Wolfe - veteran reporter
- Noah Rabin (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) – chief meteorologist; weeknights
- Alex Mossé - New Hampshire Live! host