WMGM-TV

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WMGM-TV
WMGM-logo.png
Wildwood/Atlantic City, New Jersey
United States
City of license Wildwood, New Jersey
Branding NBC 40 (general)
NBC 40 News (newscasts)
Slogan Clear. Accurate.
Reliable.

South Jersey’s News Leader
Channels Digital: 36 (UHF)
Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
Subchannels 40.1 NBC
Translators WMGM-LP 7 (VHF) Pleasantville
Affiliations NBC
Owner LocusPoint Networks
(operated by Access.1 Communications)
(LocusPoint WMGM Licensee, LLC)
First air date January 25, 1966
Call letters' meaning Wildwood Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Sister station(s) WOND, WGYM
Former callsigns WCMC-TV (1966–1981)
WAAT (1981–1984)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
40 (UHF, 1966–2009)
Transmitter power 205 kW
Height 126.5 m
Facility ID 61111
Transmitter coordinates 39°7′28.3″N 74°45′54.5″W / 39.124528°N 74.765139°W / 39.124528; -74.765139
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
CDBS
Website NBC40.net

WMGM-TV, virtual channel 40 (UHF digital channel 36), is an NBC-affiliated television station serving Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States that is licensed to Wildwood. Owned by LocusPoint Networks, the station is operated by Access.1 Communications. WMGM maintains studios located on New Road (U.S. 9) in Linwood, and its transmitter is located along Avalon Boulevard in the Swainton section of Middle Township, east of the Garden State Parkway off Exit 13.

On cable, the station is also available on Comcast channel 4 and in high definition on digital channel 798. Syndicated programming on the channel includes Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Judge Judy and The Doctors (all of which are produced by CBS Television Distribution).

WMGM, officially, is considered a Philadelphia market station. For other network programming besides NBC, stations from that city cover the area. This station's affiliation creates a rare situation where there are two affiliates of the same network in the same area (with NBC owned-and-operated station WCAU, channel 10, being the other). This means cable systems in WMGM's service area must carry both stations.

WMGM is the only major network affiliate based in the state, although WNBC in New York City covers Northern New Jersey and WCAU in Philadelphia covers areas of Southern New Jersey not served by WMGM. This is not unlike the situation with ABC affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire, which is considered part of the Boston market (along with Boston's primary ABC affiliate, WMUR-TV's sister station WCVB-TV) and is likewise the only New Hampshire-based station with a major network affiliation.

History[edit]

The station first signed on the air on January 25, 1966 known as WCMC-TV (meaning Cape May County). It was owned by Jersey Cape Broadcasting, along with the WCMC radio stations (1230 AM and 100.7 FM, now WZXL). The station initially could not get a direct network feed from NBC, forcing station engineers to switch to and from the signal of KYW-TV (channel 3) in Philadelphia for network programming. During the station's early years, even when NBC went to full-time color programming, the station still broadcast its local programming in black and white. WCMC-TV was sold to South Jersey Radio in 1981 and changed its call letters to WAAT and then to the current WMGM-TV in 1984 to match the co-owned FM radio station and in turn, established its own NBC affiliate feed. Upon the death of owner Howard Green in 2002, the stations were eventually sold to Access.1 Communications.

WMGM-TV logo card, 2012.

For many years, the station operated a low-powered repeater, WMGM-LP in Pleasantville on VHF channel 7, to serve Atlantic City itself. On July 3, 2006, WMGM-LP fell silent when a fire struck its transmitter building. The building also housed the transmitters for Atlantic City's WMGM-FM as well as Pleasantville's WOND (1400 AM) and WTKU-FM (98.3).

While WMGM-FM began broadcasting from WPUR (107.3 FM)'s auxiliary facilities atop the Trump Taj Mahal casino, the AM stations and WMGM-LP remained dark, leaving many Atlantic City residents without clear reception of NBC programs over-the-air. However, the on-air signals were eventually brought back.

For several years, people in much of the New Jersey side of the Philadelphia market could watch the entire NBC schedule on WMGM-TV, as longtime Philadelphia NBC affiliate KYW-TV (now a CBS owned-and-operated station) pre-empted many of NBC's daytime programs as well as other shows. However, WMGM is one of the few affiliates not to carry the Sunday edition of Today.

On October 10, 2013, Access.1 Communications agreed to sell WMGM to LocusPoint Networks for $6 million; WMGM will be LocusPoint's second station in the Philadelphia market, as the company is also in the process of acquiring WPHA-CD.[1] As part of the deal, Access.1 will continue to manage WMGM. However, the deal was met with public controversy, over concerns that LocusPoint was only buying WMGM so it could auction off the station's license and spectrum during the FCC's upcoming spectrum incentive auction. Stations in close proximity to major markets (in WMGM's case, Philadelphia) have been considered potentially valuable at auction, leaving the fate of WMGM in jeopardy.[2][3] In response to the concerns (which also included viewers establishing a Save NBC 40 website), LocusPoint co-founder Bill deKay stated that they planned to continue operating the station as an NBC affiliate.[4] The sale was completed on January 28, 2014. [5]

On April 16, 2014, Broadcasting & Cable reported that WMGM-TV would lose its NBC affiliation at the end of 2014, at the conclusion of a two-year extension of the station's most recent affiliation contract (which expired at the end of 2012). The station's former general manager, Ron Smith, stated that the non-renewal of the affiliation is "anticompetitve," and that the loss of the NBC affiliation would make it difficult for WMGM to continue operating.[6]

In July 2014, WMGM-TV introduced the "Friends of 40 Summer Membership Club" in which viewers contribute money in return for benefits such as station merchandise, discounts, and invitations to its outings; this form of fundraising is more commonly associated with public broadcasting. According to general manager J. Roger Powe III, "The membership club allows all the folks who have been loyal and supportive to keep engaged in a more intimate fashion;" while some of the money raised goes to the station's operations, much of it is used to pay for the club's benefits. As WMGM remains a commercial, for-profit station, contributions to the club are non-tax-deductible, unlike with public broadcasting stations.[7]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
40.1 1080i 16:9 WMGM-DT Main WMGM-TV programming / NBC
40.2 480i 4:3 Dark

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WMGM-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 40, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 36.[9] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 40.

Coverage area[edit]

WMGM's primarily serves Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties. Its digital over-the-air signal also penetrates parts of southern Ocean County, southern Burlington County, eastern Camden and Gloucester counties and coastal Delaware, even though the station has no cable carriage in these areas.

It is also available on cable throughout Salem County. In addition, WMGM is also on cable in Vineland and Turnersville which covers parts of eastern Camden and Gloucester counties such as Winslow Township and the Williamstown/Monroe Township area. This is the only location where WMGM is carried out of its designated area. However, it is only viewable on Comcast digital channel 247. DirecTV and Dish Network had carried the station in the Philadelphia market until 2011, because of signal issues.

CATV[edit]

In coastal and some interior portions of Sussex County, Delaware, WMGM was carried on CATV systems during the 1970s and possibly the 1980s.

Newscasts and local programming[edit]

NBC 40 news open seen every night at 11.

WMGM-TV currently broadcasts 21 hours of locally-produced newscasts each week (with four hours on weekdays and a half-hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); the station does not produce a midday newscast on weekdays or any morning or early evening newscasts on weekends. WMGM is the only remaining New Jersey-licensed commercial television station that maintains its own news department; MyNetworkTV station WWOR-TV upstate in Secaucus controversially shut down its news department (which was kept in operation long after its 2001 acquisition by Fox Television Stations, which created a duopoly with Fox owned-and-operated station WNYW in nearby New York City) in July 2013, its 10 p.m. newscast was replaced by the outsourced news program Chasing New Jersey that month.

The station produces an entertainment program called Curtain Call with David Spatz (which won a 2007 Emmy Award for outstanding interview/discussion series); the program, which airs Saturday nights at 6 p.m. (in place of an early evening newscast on that night), the program features interviews with world-class artists performing in Atlantic City. WMGM also produces three public affairs programs: WMGM Presents Pinky (Saturday nights at 7:30), Forum 40 (Sunday mornings at 9:30), and Health Today (Saturdays at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.). Prior to 2011, the station did not air local news programming on weekday mornings (instead running religious programming from 5 to 6 a.m. and a simulcast of the Don Williams radio talk show from WOND, from 6 to 7 a.m.). WMGM debuted its first weekday morning newscast on March 28, 2011, the hour-long Today in South Jersey

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • NewsCenter 40 (1980s–1999)
  • NewsChannel 40 NBC (1999–2013)
  • NBC 40 News (2010–present)

Station slogans[edit]

  • "40 is Yours"
  • "TV-40's the One for All" (1990–1997, used with Frank Gari's "The One for All")
  • "South Jersey's News Source" (1993–1999)
  • "The South Jersey News Channel" (1999–2009, still used as secondary)
  • "Where Local Comes First" (2009–2010)
  • "Clear. Accurate. Reliable." (2010–present)

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[10][edit]

Anchors
  • Jennifer Husko - weekday mornings on Today in South Jersey (6:00-7:00 a.m.)
  • Michelle Dawn Mooney - weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Jeff Whitaker - weekends at 11:00 p.m.
Weather team
  • Dan Skeldon - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Adam Rutt - meteorologist; weekday mornings on Today in South Jersey (6:00-7:00 a.m.)
  • Nick Pittman - meteorologist; weekends at 11:00 p.m.
Sports team
  • Pete Thompson - sports director; weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m.
  • Mike Frankel - sports anchor; weekends at 11:00 p.m.
Reporters
  • Phaedra Laird - senior reporter
  • Matt Alba - general assignment reporter
  • Ryan Ross - general assignment reporter
  • Brett Miller - general assignment reporter

References[edit]

External links[edit]