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NH1, the remnant of WBIN-TV, cuts back on its digital newsgathering 



Monitor staff
Friday, September 28, 2018

The most recent attempt to create a statewide news organization has cut back further as the NH1 website, the main remnant from last year’s closure of the WBIN-TV station, appears to have ended independent news gathering.

The three staffers most responsible for NH1.com news out of its Concord headquarters were laid off this week. A new general manager was appointed and the website has been redesigned to emphasize the company’s radio stations, which mostly play music but include some sports coverage and talk radio.

The website will still present aggregated content, including headlines from other news organizations such as the Monitor, as well as material from the radio stations owned by Binnie Media.

“We have 10 great radio stations and we wanted to make sure that the content we’re providing on the website aligns well with the listeners. We’re pulling everything closer together,” said Lee Kinberg, president of Binnie Media.

The move comes a year after Binnie Media ended television operations, the biggest attempt that New Hampshire had seen in years to create a new TV station and statewide news organization. 

NH1 emerged in the fall of 2014 when businessman Bill Binnie set up shop in the old Walker School on North Main Street. The station brought in some 35 journalists and created a robust operation, feeding off national interest in New Hampshire’s presidential primary and the 2016 election.

WBIN was never able to create any kind of real threat to WMUR, the state’s long-standing TV channel, and in February of 2017 Binnie sold it for nearly $100 million. That includes $68 million for the airwave rights that will be used for cell-phone and over-the-air data services. Binnie had bought the station in 2011 for $9 million.

The TV closure left NH1 as an online-only news organization. Paired with the radio stations it proved adept at social media, garnering 120,000 Facebook followers, second only to WMUR among state news organizations.

But apparently NH1, like many journalism organizations, had trouble turning online traffic into a profitable business.

The new general manager of NH1 is Mike Laskowski, who “will now lead Binnie Media’s Digital department,” according to a press release. “Prior to joining NH1.com, Mike worked for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He has also owned two companies, including a mobile app.”

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)