47 ABC (general)|
47 ABC News
Delmarva CW 3 (on DT2)
Delmarva's Trusted Source|
Because Local Matters
Digital: 47 (UHF)|
(to move to 29 (UHF))
Virtual: 47 (PSIP)
|Translators||WEVD-LD 27 (UHF) Dover, DE|
|Owner||Marquee Broadcasting Inc.|
|First air date||April 11, 1980|
|Call letters' meaning||Maryland / Delaware Television|
|Former channel number(s)||
47 (UHF, 1980-2008)
53 (UHF, until 2008)
246 kW (CP)
|Height||307 m (1,007 ft)|
|Public license information:||
WMDT is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Salisbury, Maryland, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 47 from a transmitter in rural Wicomico County northeast of Mardela Springs. The tower is the second tallest structure in the state of Maryland. The station can also be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 7. Owned by Marquee Broadcasting, WMDT is sister to Azteca América affiliate WGDV-LD (channel 32) and the two stations share studios on West Main Street (although its address is Downtown Plaza) in Salisbury.
WMDT also operates a low-powered digital repeater in Dover, Delaware, WEVD-LD (UHF channel 27, also mapped to virtual channel 47 via PSIP), whose transmitter is located northeast of the city between DE 1 and DE 9.
WMDT initiated broadcast operations in the Salisbury area on April 11, 1980. It was a primary ABC station with secondary NBC affiliation. It was the brainchild of the late J. Paul Audet, a television pioneer who spent some of his early years in the Albuquerque, New Mexico and Charleston, South Carolina markets. With his son, James R. Audet, equity and debt financing of approximately $3,500,000 was raised to construct and operate the station. In its early years of operation, WMDT won AP and UPI awards for its then innovative ENG efforts. Brechner Management Company, through its Delmarva Broadcast Service subsidiary, bought the station in 1982. In 1992, the station became a sole ABC affiliate carrying that network's programming as well as a mix of syndicated shows.
In 2000, WMDT launched cable-only WB affiliate "WBD" (the call letters were fictional). It was part of The WB 100+ as a result of the Salisbury market not being among the top 100 broadcast markets in the United States. The station was only available on Comcast and Mediacom channel 14 and, as a result, was known on-air as "WB 14". It replaced WPHL-TV's channel location on both systems. Several months after the launch, it was relocated to Comcast channel 3 and renamed "WB 3". On Mediacom systems, it moved to channel 2. WBD frequently aired cross-promotions for WMDT's main channel and its weeknight news programs.
In July 2003, WMDT's transmitter tower experienced a fire after a severe storm caused extensive damage to the transmitter. The analog UHF channel 47 signal was unavailable for many weeks although its digital signal, cable channel, and cable-only WB station were unaffected. In 2004, WMDT won the top "Service to Children" award for small market stations from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. The station also has "Teachers Who Make a Difference" and "Meet The Money Givers" programs among other community-service activities.
On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN announced that they would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined network would be called The CW. The letters would representing the first initial of its corporate parents: CBS (the parent company of UPN) and the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner. UPN was offered on WBOC-TV's second digital subchannel and Comcast channel 5. It was announced on March 28 that WBD would become an affiliate of The CW via The CW Plus (a similar operation to The WB 100+). WMDT would then create a new second digital subchannel to simulcast WBD and offer CW programming for non-cable viewers. WBOC announced on May 9, 2006 that its UPN subchannel would become a Fox affiliate beginning August 21, 2006. On September 18, 2006, The CW debuted on WBD (now officially using the WMDT-DT2 calls). The station began to be known on-air as "Delmarva CW 3". During the annual Delaware State Fair, the 6 p.m. newscast is broadcast live from the Exhibit Hall.
WMDT has twice filed a petition seeking a waiver of the FCC's network non-duplication and syndicated program exclusivity rules. The petition involved the carriage of two stations, WMAR-TV (filed in 1999) and WTTG (filed in 2000). The petitions were filed by Comcast, the cable provider in the area that WMDT is located in within a 35-mile (56 km) radius of its studios. WMAR and WTTG carried programming that WMDT held exclusive programming rights for, either by syndication or by network distribution, within its market catchment area. In both cases, the FCC ruled in favor of WMDT in that: the stations in question (WMAR and WTTG) failed to meet the criteria set by the FCC for "distant stations" with "significant" level of over-the-air viewership.
The effect of the ruling resulted in that when WMAR and/or WTTG broadcast programming which WMDT has exclusive rights to (specifically in the communities of Salisbury , Delmar, Fruitland, Hebron, unincorporated areas of Wicomico County, and unincorporated areas of Sussex County, Delaware), Comcast would have to blackout those channels while the programs were being shown. This resulted in WMAR being removed entirely from the Comcast Ocean City lineup. Today, WMDT carries the full line-up of ABC network programming and a number of popular syndicated shows. For many years, the station was the only one in the area to broadcast Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Both shows have since moved to WBOC-DT2.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|47.1||720p||16:9||WMDT-HD||Main WMDT programming / ABC|
|47.2||WMDT-D2||Delmarva CW 3|
On May 21, 2014, Weigel Broadcasting announced that WMDT had signed an affiliation agreement to carry MeTV programming on a new digital subchannel; the network debuted on digital channel 47.3 on May 26.
WMDT discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 47, in September 2008. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 53, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era UHF channel 47.
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WMDT's news department, from its inception, used electronic news gathering instead of the commonly used 16 mm film which was still in use on the Delmarva Peninsula in 1980. It began broadcasting its first weekday noon show, known as Midday Live, on July 26, 1982. When WBD became WMDT-DT2, it began to simulcast the Midday broadcast. That channel also started to air a nightly prime time newscast which competes with WBOC-DT2. The 5 a.m. hour of WMDT's weekday morning show is simulcast on WMDT-DT2, followed by the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz. Historically, WMDT's newscasts have been a distant second in the market behind those of long-dominant WBOC.
Some well-known television personalities that started their careers at WMDT include Bonnie Bernstein (of ESPN), Mike Tobin, Gregg Jarrett of the Fox News Channel, and Greg Fishel now with WRAL-TV. WMDT has re-launched a sports department in April 2014. It airs a public affairs program, Good Things Delmarva, on Sunday mornings at 7. Unlike most ABC affiliates, it does not air local news weeknights at 5 p.m.
Following Marquee Broadcasting's acquisition of WMDT, there have been several changes. In 2013, the station launched a sports department. In 2015, the station became the first in the nation to regularly broadcast its newscasts from a virtual news studio. Additionally, a focus was put on investigative reporting.
In September 2015, WMDT launched the 47ABC News Hour, airing each weeknight from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The station branded this newscast as "local news done differently."