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WFSB To Stay In Hartford

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WFSB To Stay In Hartford

10:56 AM EDT,August 26, 2004

The Hartford Courant

WFSB Channel 3 will stay in Hartford and build a new $20 million broadcast facility on Main Street, Mayor Eddie A. Perez and Channel 3 officials announced this morning.

The new facility would be completed in 2007. Channel 3, which has been in the city for five decades, had been talking to suburban towns, including Rocky Hill, about leaving the city while Perez convened a task force to try to find a site in the city.

Meredith Corporation, the parent company of WFSB, has agreed with the city to pursue a development agreement that would result in the retention of Channel 3 with its 200 employees and $11 million payroll in downtown Hartford, officials said.

A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. at City Hall to provide details of the deal.

The Hartford City Council has called a special meeting for August 31 to receive a resolution authorizing the deal and begin the public process that will allow the mayor, upon approval, to formally sign a development agreement with Meredith and WFSB. The resolution introduced by the mayor calls for the transfer of WFSB's present Constitution Plaza site to the city and $800,000 in cash in exchange for the city-owned 3.4 acre "12B" site on Main Street.

"This agreement keeps the momentum of downtown development moving north of I-84 and builds an important link to our city neighborhoods north of the central business district. Additionally, the city's acquisition of the present WFSB site will provide an excellent opportunity to spur additional development along the Riverfront." Perez said in a press release.

From The Hartford Courant

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Since this is an outdated article thought it would be helpful to note that between August 2004 and June 2005 WFSB came to the conclusion that the 12B is not big enough. There are many parcels in Hartford that could be aquired and would be large enough for WFSB such as the group of parking lots and vacant buildings just over I-84.

Instead they will be moving to a suburban office park in Rocky Hill ( 2 towns south of Hartford) that is right off of I-91. This means that the only Hartford news stations really located within the City of Hartford will be Fox 61 news. (NBC is located in West Hartford) This means that they will leave there studio on Constitution Plaza vacant which if the right person comes along could be a good thing. Currently the former Clarion Hotel on Constitution Plaza is for sale and these two buildings could be combined in a sale that is in a great location...Just off the Founders Bridge, close to I-84, I-91, Route 2, and a stones throw away from the new Convention Center and hotel.

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That's terrible news. I think the TV stations should be moving into Hartford (as in NBC 30), not moving out. I like TV stations that have street-level studios (similar to the Today Show) because it gives a feeling of being connected to the community. Why couldn't Channel 3 just go for one of the parcels in Hartford. Why do they have to go to Rocky Hill? Does Channel 3 think Hartford has no future? I mean, TV stations in other markets are either staying in the core city or opening up studios there. FOX 25 in Boston recently opened up a Beacon Hill studio right across from the state house (although their main studios are still in Dedham, MA). WTVD/ABC-11 in recently opened up a studio in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Then again I wouldn't be surprised if 'FSB 3 bolts for Rocky Hill. When I went to UConn between 1998 and 2001, I used to watch 3 all the time. I thought they had a good news operation, but it seemed like a lot of their news coverage focused on the Hartford and New Haven suburbs as opposed to the cities and they promote themselves as "Connecticut's (not Hartford's) News Station" (in fairness, the other stations do that too). It's too bad really, because a street-level studio would be good for people walking past it, good for downtown Hartford and good for the station. Maybe NBC 30 will consider it.

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This is terrible news. In the past few years WFSB has learned how to use it's downtown studio on Constituition Plaza to it's advantage but apparently the studio has become to small. From the WFSB business point of view this is good news because they are doing so well that in order to be able to compete with other Hartford new stations they need to and are able to build a new studio.

Under the first deal the station would acquire the city's 12B parcel, the station would receive tax breaks and pay what was left to pay after the breaks and the city would acquire the stations building on Constitution Plaza. Now, most likely the studio will go up for sale.

Although Hartford has it's problems, the media market in Hartford (Hartford/Meriden market) is actually very competitive, and was ranked the 26th most compettitive in the country. The town of Rocky Hill also has given WFSB numerous tax breaks and the new studio will be right off of I-91 which means a jump on the highway will bring them to downtown but it will not be as easy as a downtown location. Besides the 12B parcel there are numerous properties that the city could have acquired to make a new bid to the station I am sure.

There was an article that one of the major news studios moved out of Miami to the suburbs and currently they are now able to do much better then they were in downtown Miami but many Hartford area residents will most likely hold some resentment to the fact that WFSB left the city.

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You are correct about the Miami. NBC6 moved its headquaters to the suburbs of Broward County, right near the everglades. The have their main studio and a downtown

studio in the rear of the American Airline Arena. They mostly work out of the suburban studio, but are constantly broadcasting from the downtown one. It is pretty cool during the winter months they have events on Fridays- chef's from restaurants, etc. The best is the view of the Downtown skyline. I am sure WFSB can do the same. BTW I used to live in Hartford for 12 years, went to middle school and high school there.

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This is terrible news. In the past few years WFSB has learned how to use it's downtown studio on Constituition Plaza to it's advantage but apparently the studio has become to small. From the WFSB business point of view this is good news because they are doing so well that in order to be able to compete with other Hartford new stations they need to and are able to build a new studio.

Under the first deal the station would acquire the city's 12B parcel, the station would receive tax breaks and pay what was left to pay after the breaks and the city would acquire the stations building on Constitution Plaza. Now, most likely the studio will go up for sale.

Although Hartford has it's problems, the media market in Hartford (Hartford/Meriden market) is actually very competitive, and was ranked the 26th most compettitive in the country. The town of Rocky Hill also has given WFSB numerous tax breaks and the new studio will be right off of I-91 which means a jump on the highway will bring them to downtown but it will not be as easy as a downtown location. Besides the 12B parcel there are numerous properties that the city could have acquired to make a new bid to the station I am sure.

There was an article that one of the major news studios moved out of Miami to the suburbs and currently they are now able to do much better then they were in downtown Miami but many Hartford area residents will most likely hold some resentment to the fact that WFSB left the city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I know I'd be holding some resentment toward Channel 3 if they left Hartford. But I can understand that their current studio is too small. And I can understand that they want to stay competitive with a larger facility. It's just too bad they couldn't have considered one of those other properties in Hartford for a newer larger facility.

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