WVIT, virtual channel 30 (UHF digital channel 35), branded on-air as NBC CT, is an NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to New Britain, Connecticut, United States and serving the Hartford–New Haven television market. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal (itself a division of Comcast). WVIT's offices and main studios are located on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford, and its transmitter is located on Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington. On cable, the station is carried primarily on channel 4 throughout the Hartford–New Haven television market.
Due to the close proximity of the Hartford–New Haven and Springfield–Holyoke, Massachusetts markets, many stations originating from Connecticut can be also be viewed in the southern Pioneer Valley through pay-TV; however, most Pioneer Valley stations claim network and syndication exclusivity over their programming north of the state line. Springfield NBC affiliate WWLP (channel 22) is currently the only Pioneer Valley station offered on Comcast Xfinity's basic tier in Connecticut. Connecticut Charter Spectrum customers have access to WWLP, but only with a digital set top box, and only in standard definition.
WVIT signed on for the first time on February 13, 1953, as WKNB-TV, owned by the New Britain Broadcasting Company along with WKNB radio (840 AM, now WRYM). The calls stood for Kensington–New Britain. It is Connecticut's second-oldest television station, and the first on the UHF band. It has been an NBC affiliate for nearly all of its history. However, during its first two and a half years, it carried CBS programming.
In 1954, only a year after channel 30 signed on, Hartford and New Haven were combined into a single television market. However, WKNB's signal was not strong enough to cover southern Connecticut at the time—a problem that would hamper channel 30 for almost a quarter-century. As a result, a few CBS programs continued to be seen in the market on New Haven's WNHC-TV (channel 8, now WTNH) for another year due to this shortfall in channel 30's coverage. In 1955, WKNB dropped CBS and became a primary NBC affiliate. Well into the 1960s, many viewers northeast of Hartford used outdoor VHF antennas to watch NBC programming via WBZ-TV (now a CBS O&O) in Boston or WJAR in Providence, while viewers southwest of Hartford with outdoor TV antennas received NBC via network flagship WRCA-TV (now WNBC) in New York City; reception of either station in either area as often spotty.
NBC itself purchased the WKNB stations in December 1956, and renamed channel 30 WNBC (for New Britain, Connecticut) a month later. It planned to boost the station's signal to cover all of the market, but these plans never materialized. In its first stint as an NBC-owned station, channel 30 failed to gain much headway in the ratings, largely because television manufacturers were not required to include UHF tuning capability until 1964. Viewers had to buy an expensive converter to watch WNBC, and even with one the picture was barely viewable. Nonetheless, NBC bought channel 30 as part of an experiment to determine whether UHF could be competitive with VHF.
In September 1957, the Hartford-based Travelers Insurance Company signed on independent station WTIC-TV (channel 3, now WFSB), the state's second and last VHF station. Within a year of its debut (and despite its radio sister having been an NBC radio affiliate for over thirty years) WTIC-TV became Connecticut's CBS affiliate, replacing its owned-and-operated station, WHCT-TV (channel 18, now Univision affiliate WUVN). NBC then realized its UHF experiment was a lost cause (it had shut down its other owned UHF station in Buffalo, New York, WBUF-TV, in October 1958), and in June 1959 sold WNBC to Plains Television, a joint venture of Transcontinental Properties and H & E Balaban Corporation (WKNB radio was also included in the sale, but was spun off immediately afterward).
As part of the deal, Springfield Television, the owner of fellow NBC affiliate WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts, was to have held a one-third stake in channel 30; it abandoned this stake before the deal's completion after concerns arose over their overlapping coverage areas, but continued to hold an option to reacquire it for some time afterward. In 1960, the calls changed again – this time to WHNB-TV (for Hartford-New Britain). This change came because NBC wanted the WNBC calls for its flagship radio and television combination in New York City.
In 1966, WHNB-TV became, once again, one of two NBC affiliates in Connecticut; the network signed with Waterbury-licensed WATR-TV (channel 20) in order to get its programming into New Haven on a strong signal. By this time, television manufacturers were now required to include all-channel tuning. Channel 30 itself made up for the shortfall in its market coverage by operating two low-power translators (starting in 1971): W79AI (channel 79) in Torrington and W59AA (channel 59) in New Haven.
Plains Television sold WHNB-TV to the original Viacom in 1978, and the station's call letters were changed on July 17 to WVIT (for "Viacom International Television") to reflect its new ownership. Viacom immediately announced plans to boost WVIT's signal to cover all of the market. In 1980, channel 30 signed on with a new transmitter that more than doubled its coverage area, giving it a clear signal to much of New Haven for the first time, though the channel 59 repeater was kept in service. WVIT became the market's sole NBC affiliate in March 1982, when WATR-TV's affiliation contract with NBC ended and the station became independent WTXX (it is now WCCT-TV). The Torrington translator was turned off in 1987, and the New Haven repeater was shut down in the mid-1990s to allow full-powered WTVU (now WCTX) to begin operations.
Viacom purchased Paramount Pictures in 1994, and all of Viacom's stations became part of the Paramount Stations Group. Within the next year, following the launch of the United Paramount Network venture it co-owned with Chris-Craft Industries, Paramount/Viacom began to sell off its non-UPN affiliated stations. WVIT, which was Viacom's first station purchase in 1978, ended up being the last non-UPN outlet sold in 1997. As part of a three-way deal, which closed on December 8 of that year, WVIT was sold to former owner NBC (making WVIT an NBC O&O again), while Paramount/Viacom ended up with WLWC in Providence, Rhode Island and WWHO in Columbus, Ohio, two stations owned by Fant Broadcasting which NBC operated by way of local marketing agreements.
In August 2007, plans were finalized to begin construction of a new high-definition and "green" studio facility on the same plot of land as the station's old studios, which had been in use since the station's inception. Ground was broken in October 2007, and construction was completed in the summer of 2009. On July 16, 2009, WVIT moved into the new facility (the old facility was later demolished), and rebranded from NBC 30 to NBC Connecticut HD.
In the summer of 2016, the station launched the advertising campaign Connecting You which made its on-air debut on August 5, 2016, in conjunction with the opening of the 2016 Summer Olympics; a year later, on July 15, 2017, WVIT's station branding was shortened to NBC CT, and the mic flags now bear the new shorter station branding.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|30.1||1080i||16:9||WVIT-HD||Main WVIT programming / NBC|
Digital subchannel 30.2 carried NBC Weather Plus; national network operations for that service ended in December 2008. NBC Plus then aired on that subchannel. This channel utilized the same graphics as Weather Plus, with a new 'NBC Plus' logo and without the on camera meteorologist segments. WVIT was the last remaining NBC-owned station to continue to air NBC Plus. On December 20, 2012, WVIT replaced NBC Plus with Cozi TV, a new network featuring classic television series and lifestyle programming. Digital subchannel 30.3 carried Universal Sports; transition for a Digital-only broadcast network into a cable- and satellite-exclusive service was occurred on January 1, 2012 when the station deleted the subchannel along with its fellow affiliates to remove or replace the network from their digital signals. The digital subchannel was reactivated again in 2015, when WVIT adds the Spanish-language digital network TeleXitos, a new network featuring classic television series dubbed in Spanish exclusively to the stations owned by Telemundo, making it the only NBC-owned station to carry the Spanish language digital channel.
WVIT shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 30, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 35, using PSIP to display WVIT's virtual channel as 30 on digital television receivers. With the transition, the height of the station's transmitter tower was increased to 434 meters (1,424 ft).
Syndicated programming on WVIT currently includes Access Hollywood (including its live counterpart), Harry, Steve, Extra, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show among others. The earlier three are distributed by NBC's parent company. As of September 2017, WVIT is one of the six NBC-owned stations that carry and distribute programs to other stations or to the network itself, along with New York City's WNBC, Philadelphia's WCAU, Miami's WTVJ, San Francisco's KNTV and Los Angeles' KNBC.
On June 16, 2017, WVIT announced that it would not air that week's edition of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, which featured an interview with radio host Alex Jones. The station cited viewer, advertiser and management sensitivities to the views of Jones, as he had previously expressed a denial of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Although sources mentioned Sandy Hook as being part of the Hartford/New Haven television market, Sandy Hook is (albeit barely) in Fairfield County, which is actually part of the New York City television market (and thus served by WVIT's sister O&O WNBC—which in contrast, did carry the interview), though Connecticut's television stations are carried on Sandy Hook's Spectrum lineup in addition to the New York stations.
In 1979, WVIT began carrying Hartford Whalers hockey games following the name change from New England Whalers to Hartford Whalers and joining the NHL after its merger with WHA. the games on the station eventually to split the rights with regional sports network PRISM New England (later SportsChannel New England and CSN New England, now NBC Sports Boston) beginning with the 1981–82 season. The joint deal lasted until the 1985–86 season, when WHCT-TV (now WUVN) took over the over-the-air broadcasting rights to Whalers hockey games, beginning with the 1986–87 season.
WVIT presently broadcasts 35½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours on weekdays and 3½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays).
Under the ownership of Viacom, the company beefed up WVIT's news operation, which had long been an also-ran behind WFSB and WTNH due to its weak signal in New Haven. After the signal boost, it became a factor in the ratings for the first time in decades.
With NBC's second acquisition of the station came a greater investment into and expansion of the news department. For most of the time since the turn of the century, WVIT has waged a spirited battle with WTNH, with the two stations regularly trading the runner-up spot in the market behind long-dominant WFSB. On July 16, 2009, WVIT became the first station in the market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
On June 13, 2016, WVIT became the second station in Connecticut began starting its 4:00 p.m. newscast. On the same day, WVIT began using Artworks' new "Look N" standardized graphics that were first adopted by sister station WNBC, also its music was changed by begin using 615 Music's "The Tower", which is first adopted in 2000 by sister stations WMAQ-TV and KNBC.
Notable former on-air staff
- Chris Berman - (now at ESPN)
- Van Hackett - (now retired from broadcasting)
- Brian Kilmeade - (now at Fox News Channel)
- Rob Marciano - (now at ABC News)
- Natalie Morales - (now host of Access Hollywood and West Coast correspondent of The Today Show)
- Rob Morrison - (retired from TV; now a realtor)
- Beasley Reece
- Brian Shactman - (now at NECN)
- Erika Tarantal - (now at WCVB-TV)
- Chris Wragge - (now at WCBS-TV)