Saturday, April 15, 2017

Boston TV Drops 'Fox" From News Branding

Fox News, powered by its strong conservative bent, is the most popular national cable news network. But in liberal Greater Boston, the brand has become a liability for the local Fox affiliate.

The Boston Globe reports that Cox Media's WFXT (Channel 25) said Thursday it is changing the name of its local “Fox 25 News” newscast to “Boston 25 News.”

The station will still broadcast Fox shows and refer to itself as Fox 25 in most cases, including on its building signs and on-screen visuals during non-news broadcasts. But “Fox” will come out of the name of the newscast, which is locally produced and independent from the cable network, starting April 24.

The change comes amid lagging ratings and after station research dating back more than two years found that 41 percent of Boston-area news consumers believed the local Fox 25 newscast leaned conservative.

WFXT general manager Tom Raponi said he believes the station has produced impartial local journalism in recent years.  Raponi attributes the conservative perception among viewers to Fox News’s national reputation — a problem compounded by an increasingly polarized political climate.

“The perception of what our TV news station does is not what we do. They perceive us to be part of the Fox News family,” Raponi said. The Fox 25 News brand, he said, “wasn’t built for this environment.”

The rebranding decision was made locally, and other Cox stations with Fox affiliations — in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Florida — are not taking similar action.

Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.

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