Fox News’ sordid reputation is hurting the ratings of its local affiliates, and one Fox station in Boston, Massachusetts decided to do something about it.
According to the Boston Globe, Fox 25 News in Boston, or WFXT, is dropping the “Fox” part of its name, and instead changing the name of its flagship newscast to “Boston 25 News” in order to help the station’s flagging ratings. The programming of the station itself won’t change, as the channel will still host Fox programming and keep the “Fox 25” name on its branding and promotional materials. However, the newscast’s name will change officially starting on April 24.
41 percent of Bostonians typically associate the “Fox” brand with conservative-leaning news programming, according to a survey from WFXT. This is bad for business in Boston, which is known as one of the most liberal cities in the country, housed in one of the most liberal states in the country. WFXT general manager Tom Raponi told the Globe that he wanted to specifically disassociate his station’s brand from the Fox News brand, saying that WFXT’s reporters did honest, objective journalism.
“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 decision to make the switch wasn’t hard after looking at the station’s March ratings in comparison to its competitors. In the coveted 25-54 age demographic, WFXT ranked behind WHDH — Boston’s NBC affiliate — in the 10 PM newscast time slot, which is the station’s only competition for newscasts at that time. And in comparison to other network affiliates in the Greater Boston area, WFXT ranked third out of five networks during the 11 PM weekday time slot.
Boston University communications professor Tobe Berkovitz said that while the station’s news content will remain the same, the name change appears to be a pitch to the politically liberal audience of Greater Boston
“Will this have a major impact? No,” Berkovitz told the Globe. “But it can’t hurt.”
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.