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Martinsburg, West Virginia/
WDVM News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Local News Leader|
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)
(to move to 23 (UHF))
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
|Owner||Nexstar Media Group
(Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.)
|First air date||January 3, 1970|
|Call letters' meaning||District of Columbia
(former callsign of WUSA)
|Former callsigns||WHAG-TV (1970–2017)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 25 (UHF, 1970–2009)
Digital: 55 (UHF, until 2009)
|Former affiliations||NBC (1970–2016)|
|Transmitter power||575 kW
577 kW (CP)
|Height||376 m (1,234 ft)
376.9 m (1,237 ft) (CP)
WDVM-TV, virtual channel 25 (UHF digital channel 26), is an independent television station licensed to Hagerstown, Maryland, United States and serving the western portion of the Washington, D.C. television market. The station is owned by the Nexstar Media Group. WDVM-TV's studio facilities are located in the Alexander House Hotel on East Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown, and its transmitter is located in Fairview Mountain, west of Clear Spring.
The station signed on the air as WHAG-TV on January 3, 1970. It was originally owned by Warren Adler along with WHAG radio in Halfway (AM 1410 and FM 96.7, now WDLD). WHAG-TV's original analog transmitter was to be on top of the Hagerstown Motor Inn (now the Alexander House) but was rejected due to structural incompatibility. A site on Fairview Mountain would become the location of the analog signal on UHF channel 25. The station was an NBC affiliate; network anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley welcomed the station to the NBC television network during their newscast that night. Adler Communications sold WHAG-TV to Sheldon and Samuel Magazine of Washington, D.C. in 1973. The Magazine Brothers then sold it to local aviation pioneer Richard Henson in 1977. Henson then sold the station to Great Trails Broadcasting in 1981. Great Trails then exited broadcasting and sold WHAG along with 2 of its stations—WFFT-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana and KSVI in Billings, Montana to Quorum Broadcasting in 1998 for $65 million.
On September 8, 2003, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it would acquire Quorum Broadcasting and its stations (including WHAG-TV) for $230 million. The sale was completed on December 31, 2003.
NBC confirmed to The Herald-Mail that it was declining to renew its affiliation with WHAG on February 19, 2016, with the station officially ceasing to broadcast the network's programming "in the summer"; it was later announced that the affiliation would end on July 1, 2016. A factor in this decision was perceived competition with network-owned WRC-TV. Since 2014, NBC has removed its programming from several affiliates, including WHAG-TV, WMGM-TV, and KENV-DT, that functioned as secondary NBC stations serving outlying areas of their larger markets. In addition to expanding local news, WHAG-TV also added programs from Heroes & Icons at the time.
On July 1, 2017, the station rebranded itself and adopted the call sign WDVM-TV, the former callsign of CBS affiliate WUSA. The change came after the station expanded its coverage area by 1.2 million households, with news director Mark Kraham stating that "we wanted to make it clear that we’re not just a Hagerstown station."
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP short name||Programming |
|25.1||1080i||16:9||WDVM-DT||Independent & H&I|
Right from the start[when?], WHAG began offering local newscasts with The Valley News which aired weeknights at 6, 7, and 11. The original anchors were Bob Witt with news, Glenn Presgraves with sports, and Bill Wolfinger forecasting the weather. Bill Wolfinger also did a Saturday night horror movie show where he would be in costume similar to Lon Chaney. The news department expanded in 1972 to include weekend evening broadcasts at 11 that totaled six hours of local news per week. By the year 2000, news content increased to over 22 hours of broadcasts per week. In 1997, WHAG added a microwave truck allowing the transmitting of live breaking news from the viewing area. On February 12, 2010, WHAG dropped the "NBC 25" branding for "WHAG" and switched its news branding from NBC 25 News to WHAG News.
Outside of a few senior staffers, the station's news department mainly acts as a "farm team" operation that features new journalists and behind the scenes staff who have graduated from their schools looking for experience at a small-market television station and serve as "one man band" personnel that shoot, write, and edit their own stories, and eventually move on to further opportunities in larger markets. The station operates a bureau on East Patrick Street (MD 144) in Frederick.
On August 30, 2010, WHAG added a half hour to its weekday noon and 5 p.m. newscasts. Until this point unlike most NBC affiliates in the Eastern Time Zone, the station had not aired a broadcast weeknights at 5:30. It still does not offer a full two-hour weekday morning show. There is now a half hour broadcast seen Monday through Saturday nights at 7. On weekends, an hour-long morning show at 6 as well as a half hour Sunday morning broadcast at 9 were added. In addition, a Northern Virginia Bureau covering Leesburg, Berryville, and Winchester was opened. Although not a full news department, this is now the second local news operation established in those areas after TV3 Winchester launched back on March 5, 2007. All of the preceding changes required the expansion of WHAG's personnel. On October 21, 2013, WHAG began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
On February 19, 2016, concurrent with the announcement that WHAG would lose its NBC affiliation, Nexstar announced plans for a major expansion of the station's news operation that launched on July 1, 2016 (the same day WHAG lost its NBC affiliation), promising 20 hours of additional news programming per-week, including Maryland and Northern Virginia-specific coverage and "West Virginia's only available state-wide local news" (Nexstar had previously announced its purchase of the West Virginia Media Holdings stations).
Recently, it has been added to the Dish Network lineup of local offerings and is available to subscribers that currently receive the Washington D.C. market locals. WHAG had also been seen on Dish as the default NBC affiliate for the Salisbury television market, as that market did not have an NBC affiliate of its own until June 2014, when WRDE-LD in nearby Rehoboth Beach, Delaware switched its affiliation to NBC. It is also viewed in widescreen standard definition on Verizon FiOS in Montgomery County, Maryland.
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