April 07, 2020

Stations’ owners change, not format

At least in name, Maine Broadcasting System is no more.

Although the two members of MBS are still jointly owned, Bangor television station WLBZ (Channel 2) and Portland station WCSH (Ch. 6) are now owned by a different company.

Gannett Broadcasting officially acquired both stations from Maine Radio and Television Company last week.

“We’re not using that title [Maine Broadcasting] at least for now,” said WCSH program director Mike Marshall. “We may come up with a different name or we may not use anything. I guess our original intent with that was to show that both stations were working together.”

The change in ownership should not lead to any radical changes in the stations’ commitment to local sports coverage or programming, according to Marshall.

“Basically, it’s just the ownership that has changed and I don’t think anyone at home would notice anything. We’re still committed to our local sports broadcasts and presence in the community, and the same people are still here,” Marshall said.

Gannett Broadcasting now owns 20 television stations reaching 16.3 percent of the country’s TV market and also has cable operations in five states. Gannett also publishes 88 daily newspapers including USA Today.

New England Sports Network (NESN), which ended a 14-year broadcast association with Hockey East early last year, is in the midst of its six-game Eastern College Athletic Conference hockey game schedule for the 1997-98 season.

NESN, which has already broadcast two games, will resume its ECAC schedule Saturday, Feb. 7, with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Harvard game. NESN will also air both ECAC playoff semifinals on March 20 and the championship game on March 21.

SportsChannel New England, which is due to be renamed Fox Sports New England later this month, is the new regional cable network for Hockey East and will air its first game Saturday night, Maine at Boston College.

NESN is coming to Maine.

A crew from NESN’s daily Front Row sports show will be visiting the Pine Tree State early next month to get footage and interviews for three feature stories.

The profiles will be on Foxcroft Academy running back Ben Preston, University of Maine star basketball player Cindy Blodgett, and Windham High School basketball standout Lea Bennett.

Count former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw as one of the FOX Network football announcers who will not be jumping to rival network CBS.

Bradshaw, one of the first three announcers hired by FOX when it took over broadcasts of NFC games four years ago, agreed to a new, five-year contract with FOX Wednesday. Bradshaw will return as studio co-host for the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show.

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