By now, all major network affiliates in the top 50 markets are supposed to have detailed political advertising information included in their online public files. But one network affiliate in Hagerstown MD was waivered out of the requirement, and a second has joined the club.
WMGM-TV, owned by Access.1, is licensed to Wildwood NJ and in the grand scheme of things brings NBC programming to Atlantic City.
However, in the eyes of Nielsen, Wildwood and Atlantic City are all part of the expansive Philadelphia PA DMA. As such, WMGM is roped in with all the other large-market NBC affiliates in being beholden to the new rule.
However, it told the FCC it is in no way, shape of form the primary source of NBC programming for most citizens living in the Philadelphia area – that honor belongs to WCAU, which not only is an NBC affiliate, it’s an NBC O&O.
The FCC agreed that WMGM is a de facto small market television station, and in fact, is charged regulatory fees applicable to smaller-market stations to this day, and granted the waiver. It will not have to get its political file online until 7/1/14.
Hagerstown’s WHAG was the earlier station to receive a waiver under similar circumstances. It is considered by Nielsen to be part of the Washington DC DMA, the bailiwick of WRC-TV. However, WHAG was able to demonstrate that it serves the much-smaller Hagerstown-area population and has little if any impact on the Washington DMA.