The Cape Region's independent television station is about to affiliate with NBC-TV.
Bob Backman, WRDE-TV president, said that beginning in early June, WRDE-TV will affiliate with NBC, launching a new channel, WRDE NBC Coast TV.
“I felt there was a need in this community,” said Backman, who's been in the television business since 1995 and launched WRDE in November 2008. “There was a glaring omission. NBC is the No. 1 rated network in the country, and this area deserves programming that is local, local, local.”
Backman said the new channel will better serve local advertisers. NBC viewers and advertisers now advertise with affiliates from larger cities, which don't necessarily cater to their needs.
“Local advertisers don't want to run commercials in Baltimore when they know it's not their target audience,” he said. “This is much more efficient.”
WRDE NBC Coast TV will offer communities throughout Sussex County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland local news, sports and weather at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week. The new station will be available in both high definition and standard definition on Comcast, in standard definition on Dish Network, and over-the-air on channel 31.1.
Backman said there are 162,060 television households in the region.
“The emphasis will be on local. We don't care as much about that I-95 traffic jam in Baltimore,” Backman said. “Now there will be a station that serves the local communities with great programming all in the same spot.”
Jean Dietze, executive vice president of affiliate relations for NBC, is pleased to welcome WRDE to the NBC family. Dietze oversees all aspects of affiliate relations, and serves as the network's chief liaison to the affiliate body.
"It's a delight to welcome WRDE as an affiliate to NBC, and we look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead," she said.
In a written statement, Carol Everhart, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber Of Commerce president, said the new affiliation is “fantastic news for any chamber of commerce! It’s not just music to our ears, but a symphony!”
Alan Levin, secretary of the state Economic Development Office, also said he is pleased to learn that WRDE will become a local NBC affiliate.
“Since its beginning, WRDE has served the Delmarva Peninsula with distinction,” said Levin in a prepared statement.
When the change is complete, WRDE's staff will jump from its five current employees to approximately 16. Backman said the news manager will be hired next week, with additional staff being added shortly afterwards.
WRDE’s existing classic television, the newly-named My Network COZI TV, will move to 31.2, and will continue on Comcast and over-the-air. That channel broadcasts My Network TV, Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. It has a variety of programming including the Philadelphia Phillies, ACC football and basketball, and classic television programs and movies.