A New Jersey television station that for decades served as the state’s only broadcast operation affiliated with a major network shut down its news operation on Wednesday just hours before the start of the new year.
After nearly five decades serving as South Jersey’s NBC affiliate, management for WMGM-TV (Channel 40) announced in early December the station would lose its affiliation with the Peacock Network. As a result, the channel shelved its local newscast at the end of the month.
In a message posted online December 9, station executives said the affiliation change was due to NBC’s decision not to have a separate broadcast affiliate in the southern part of the state. The area is widely considered to be part of the nearby Philadelphia market served by NBC station WCAU-TV (Channel 10), a station owned by NBC’s parent company Comcast Corporation.
Initially, management hoped to continue to provide South Jersey with local programming, including an expanded newscast that would have served more counties in the state. Those plans were eventually scrapped.
The elimination of WMGM’s newscast saw the elimination of several positions at the station, including nearly all of the news-related talent, production and technical jobs. Some staffers announced on the final news broadcast that they would be taking jobs at local print and radio outlets.
WMGM will continue to air infomercials and some syndicated programming for at least the next month. It is expected that its current owners LocusPoint will eventually sell the station to a company interested in using its broadcast spectrum for other purposes.