A spokesman for WMGM-TV40 owner LocusPoint Networks says the Linwood-based station “will definitely be operating next year on the air.”
Bill deKay did not offer specific details but added, “You can rely on my statement.”
DeKay’s statement is the company’s first publicly about WMGM-TV 40’s future, at least in the short term. It came as the station’s broadcast studio where it delivers newscasts was recently listed for sale.
ForeSite Commercial Realty's website lists the building at 501 W. Patcong Ave. at $600,000.
“We continue to support TV40 and we are happy to continue the relationship as it develops and expands its reach in the community,” deKay said in an email.
WMGM General Manager J. Roger Powe III said Thursday he could not discuss the listing.
California-based LocusPoint Networks purchased the station in December for $6 million from Access.1 Communications in New York, which still manages the station.
The long-term future of the South Jersey-based television station has been uncertain since that sale in December and an announcement earlier this year the station will lose its 48-year-old NBC affiliation and network programming at the end of the year.
LocusPoint, the majority of which is owned by private equity giant the Blackstone Group, has been buying stations with the intent to sell their broadcast spectrum at an Federal Communications Commission auction slated for 2015.
This voluntary auction seeks to open up bandwidth used by television stations to satisfy the growing needs of smart phones and tablets that use the wireless spectrum.
Ron Smith, a retired general manager of WMGM-TV40 who has been trying to save the station, said deKay’s words may offer a reprieve for efforts to ultimately sell the station and keep it on air.
“It will eventually go but at least there’s more time. He can be right. He’s got a station to run if he chooses to,” Smith said. “The other Locus Point stations I believe are all dark.”
Smith said the local station can still operate and be viable with community support.
And Smith said the station already has the capability to do it by broadcasting on a lower-power channel of the spectrum currently owned by Access.1 Communications.
This channel can’t be used for upcoming FCC auction, he said.
“I’ve been trying to get someone to come in and buy the frequency and continue the channel on the LP (low power) frequency,” he said.
“I realize how valuable it is to the community especially in terms of bad weather like (Hurricane) Sandy. Because the weather down here is much different much of the time than it is in Philadelphia,” he said.
The commercial listing by ForeSite shows an exterior photo of the 7,500-square-foot building, with the NBC-logo peacock on the awning outside. Massive satellite dishes surround the building.
The listing notes the building is “currently used as a TV Studio” and has “excellent on-site parking,” existing offices, varying ceiling heights and is “located in the heart of Linwood’s business district.”