Why Some Viewers Tuned Out Providence Station WJAR-TV 10
WJAR-TV signed on the air on July 10, 1949, to become Rhode Island's first television station and just the fourth in New England. The station, then Channel 11, was owned by the Outlet Company, which also owned several radio stations.
Today, WJAR-TV 10 is the property of the controversial Sinclair Broadcast Group, based in Cockeysville, Maryland, outside Baltimore.
I recently wrote about how WJAR-TV 10 has dominated the local television news ratings in the Providence market for many years. The broadcast team of Doug White and Patrice Wood almost always bested their nearest competitors, Karen Adams and Walter Cryan of WPRI-TV 12.
Things were not always rosy for WJAR-TV 10, however.
In 2018, some Kent County, Rhode Islanders took issue with Channel 10's news coverage. The Rhode Island Resisters launched a website and a boycott against the station, targeting its advertisers.
The group posted to its website:
"Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns Channel 10, is forcing the station to carry right-leaning commentaries as though they were hard news." Rhode Island Resisters stated. "We believe in the integrity of the free press, and we expect our local news stations to present news in an unbiased manner."
The group concluded, "Right now, we cannot be confident this is happening at Channel 10."
Rhode Island Resisters posted a list of Channel 10's advertisers on its website and urged viewers through bus signs and bumper stickers to "Turn Off 10."
In a nutshell, Rhode Island Resisters opposed the presidency of Donald Trump and felt that the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Channel 10 were slanting the news to favor Trump.
There is no evidence the boycott had much of an impact. I reached out to Rhode Island Resisters to see if the boycott is still on but did not receive a reply.
I found no statements from WJAR-TV 10 officials or the folks from Sinclair Broadcast Group.
I spotted the group's bumper sticker on the back of a vehicle with Rhode Island tags while driving recently in York, Maine. That was the first I learned of the boycott and the Resisters' grievances.