WMGM, the only local TV station in New Jersey still affiliated with one of the the four major networks, will lose that affiliation at year’s end when its contract runs out, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
WMGM’s affiliation with NBC expired in 2012, but NBC granted the Linwood, NJ, station a two year extension while former owner, Access.1 Communications, looked for a buyer. The station was sold to LocusPoint Networks last year.
At the time, the speculation was that LocusPoint was buying the station to use it in the upcoming spectrum Auctions.
WMGM-TV is New Jersey’s only NBC affiliate. NBC programming for the rest of the state is broadcast out of Philadelphia and New York by stations owned by NBC-Universal, making the Linwood-based station redundant in the eyes of NBC, or worse, a competitor for advertising revenues, Smith said.
Smith said viewers in Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic counties rely on the region’s only local TV news broadcast for morning and evening news, weather and local sports. Broadcast stations in Philadelphia do not cover South Jersey in nearly the same depth, he said.
“I think we’d lose a lifeline. I think that’s a huge loss,” he said.
“The weather here is much different many times than it is in Philadelphia,” Smith said. “In times of emergency, Channel 40 has stepped up. The best example was during Hurricane Sandy. Dan Skeldon was the only meteorologist who accurately predicted where Sandy would hit.”
The station employs about 60 full-time and 12 part-time workers.