WMGM-TV Gets Waiver From Online Political File Posting


At least one top four affiliate technically in a top 50 DMA won't have to share its political spot prices in a national, FCC-administered database for another two years.

The FCC has granted a "good cause" waiver from its online political file rules to WMGM-TV Wildwood, N.J. (Philadelphia) because it treats the station as a smaller-market TV in terms of license fees.

As of Aug. 2, the top four affiliates in the top 50 markets are required to send their online political files to the FCC for posting in a searchable database.

While WMGM is an NBC affiliate assigned to the Philadelphia Nielsen DMA (No. 4), it serves primarily the Atlantic City market.

In a waiver request filed late last month, the station pointed out that it is not the primary Philadelphia NBC station -- WCAU is -- that it is only in Philadelphia because Nielsen does not break out Atlantic City as a separate market, and that since 1995 even the FCC has recognized that by allowing it to pay regulatory fees as a small market station (those above market 100).

The FCC concluded the station had made a good case and that "requiring it to meet the same implementation deadline as the top affiliates in the top 50 markets would run counter to the rationale underlying the exemption for smaller market stations and would be inconsistent with the public interest."

The FCC is not requiring stations beyond the top four affiliates in the top 50 markets to post their political files, which include who is buying political spots and at what price, until July 1, 2014, that date WMGM will now have to post its files.

The National Association of Broadcasters is suing the FCC over the new rules after the FCC declined to stay implementation.