Though Nexstar-owned WHAG(TV), Hagerstown, Md. will lose its NBC affiliation July 1, the company will spend $1 million to expand news coverage to Central and Western Maryland, South Central Pennsylvania, the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia and Northern Virginia (DMA #7).
That will include 50+ hours weekly of locally-produced news, lifestyle, weather, sports, and community programming.
The investment will go towards Nexstar relocating WHAG-TV’s news bureaus, opening additional field offices, adding over a dozen news and production personnel, developing new on-air graphics and purchasing new equipment, weather technology and traffic systems to complement the additional programming. The station will hire more marketing and sales personnel as well.
The changes bring WHAG’s news coverage to new areas in Maryland and Northern Virginia and as well as West Virginia’s only available statewide local news, according to the broadcaster. The station will move news bureaus to Winchester, Va. and Germantown, Md. to better reflect the station’s expanded coverage area, and expects to open an additional office in the Centerville, Va. area in the first quarter of 2017.
Viewers asked for more local news, said WHAG-TV VP/GM Hugh Breslin.
RBR+TVBR observation: Full disclosure, I worked for sister station WHAG radio back in the 80’s, covering the legislature. The move reflects the growing population farther out in the western suburbs from the DC beltway. What used to be farm country is now a collection of bedroom communities as workers extend their commutes in and out of the District, and from suburb to suburb.