North American—mostly U.S.—television fare is on the menu; major U.S. networks are affiliated with Bermuda stations, which air their programming daily, and the island’s two cable companies offer hundreds of mainly American channels.
Three broadcast stations represent the U.S. television networks and also offer some local, though amateur quality, programming. Established in 1947, Bermuda Broadcasting Company (Fort Hill, Devonshire, tel. 441/295-2828) today has two commercial TV stations, ZFB-TV channel 7 (cable channel 2) is the affiliate of ABC, while ZBM-TV channel 9 (cable channel 3) airs CBS network programming. Both stations also air locally produced daily evening news, talk shows, and sports programs. Defontes Broadcasting Television (94 Reid St., Hamilton, tel. 441/295-1450) operates VSB-TV channel 11, the island’s NBC affiliate. Local news, weather, and sports air at 7 p.m. nightly, and local productions, including educational and community-oriented shows, are also carried weekly.
Two companies offer digital and standard cable television service islandwide. Bermuda Cablevision (19 Laffan St., Hamilton, tel. 441/292-5544) offers nearly 200 24-hour channels from the United States, Canada, and Portugal. Newcomer WOW (World on Wireless) TV (Washington Mall, Church St., Hamilton, tel. 441/292-1969) has 110 channels, 84 of which are available in digital.
Several channels offer Bermuda-produced programming. The Bermuda Channel (channel 77) carries visitor-oriented features on sightseeing, sports, transportation, shopping, and restaurants. The Bermuda government channel CITV, or Community Information Television (channel 2), presents 24-hour coverage of government events, cultural programming, interviews, and local human interest features. Look TV (channel 1) offers local segments on island personalities, traditions, and major cultural and sporting events. Fresh TV (channel 3) and Onion TV (channel 75) broadcast music videos, local events, and interviews with Bermudian personalities. The Bermuda Weather Channel (channel 4) airs weather warnings, storm advisories, and hurricane tracking, while the Bermuda Business Channel (channel 88) keeps corporate types up to date.
The island has 10 radio channels, with eclectic, sometimes homespun announcers, DJs, reporters, and programming.
For locals and visitors, daytime talk shows—featuring call-in segments and vociferous debates about all things Bermuda—are a highly entertaining slice of island life. Gold AM (VSB-1) 1450-AM, with host Shirley Dill, carries such programs throughout the afternoon, along with country music, while ZBM-2 1340-AM, with host David Lopes, also broadcasts lively local chitchat. Other AM channels include: VSB-2 1280-AM, which offers religious and gospel programming, ZFB 1230-AM, offering an easy listening mix and local programming, and VSB-3 1160-AM, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC World) feed.
FM channels are: ZBM 89.1-FM, piped-in syndicated programming from the United States, with mellow chart favorites from the 1970s onward, plus afternoon call-in shows to local hosts, and VSB-4 106.1-FM (Mix 106), which broadcasts a mixture of old and new rock, along with teen pop and rap hits.
ZFB Power 95-FM has a popular morning host (“The Captain”) and carries a mix of reggae, rap, and R&B.
Hott 107.5-FM, launched in 2004 and targeting the island’s young black population, offers the most slickly produced programming, thanks to its Chicago connections—one of its founders was the former program director of WGCI there. Sister station Magic 102.7-FM carries adult contemporary soul, R&B, and light rock hits from the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition