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Baltimore/Washington DC

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by Link, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. Link

    Link Hall Of Fame

    Feb 1, 2004
    Why do both Baltimore and Washington DC each have their own network affiliates? The cities are 30 miles apart. Couldn't 1 of each affiliate serve both regions?

    People who live in the area can easily get both citys' stations so its like they have 2 of every affiliate. However, on satellite, they can only get either one or the other depending on zip code which makes no sense.
  2. Cyclone

    Cyclone Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Jul 1, 2002
    Its true that Downtown in either city, that you can receive the other city's signals. But as you go out further in the suburbs it becomes more difficult to receive the "distant" city. Folks in Northern Virgina for example have a difficult time receiving Baltimore stations. Likewise I'm sure that people to the North and East of Baltimore can't receive the DC stations either.

    But from a sense of history, Baltimore and Washington are two very distinct cities. Each seems to have little association with the other. There isn't even a rivalry at all. This is likely due to the mentality that DC is a Federal city and not just another town.

    Still, DC and Baltimore are far apart enough to warrant their own DMAs, but close enough that there is a large amount of overlap. I also enjoy very much the ability to tune in both cities for OTA HDTV reception. I do however resent that my DBS provider cannot offer me both cities due to FCC regs.
  3. SamC

    SamC Hall Of Fame

    Jan 20, 2003
    TV station asignments were made in the 1950s, and reflect the demographics and politics of that time, and not this.
  4. Link

    Link Hall Of Fame

    Feb 1, 2004
    It makes no sense sometimes why some DMA's have extra affiliates like WHAG NBC 25 in Hagerstown is part of the DC DMA, but yet people get WRC NBC 4 and all other Washington affilaites, so why do they need 2 NBC stations?

    Same goes for having WCVB in Boston and then WMUR in Manchester, both ABC stations, 50 miles apart.

    If today's markets do go by the 1950s, then it explains why there are these small market DMAs with 2 or 3 stations that aren't even needed today with cable and satellite.
  5. Brett

    Brett Legend

    Jan 14, 2003
    Some of the small stations like WHAG 25 and WMGM40 (an NBC affiliate in Atlantic City) provide local news, local jobs, and an advertising opportunity for businesses within the surrounding area. That's where they fit in. There wasn't enough allocated TV stations to the area or network contracts prevented new affiliates, for a complete market, so they rely on getting the other major networks from an adjacent city, and Nielsen classified the area as part of the adjacent city (larger city)'s DMA.

    Though Baltimore is the 23rd largest DMA, 16th largest city, has a full set of network affiliates and 3 VHF allocations, and their needs (and northern MD) and viability justify them being separate from Washington DC.

    People in Northern and Central NJ have for years complained about the lack of local news in their area, because the big NYC stations can't cover them well. Having large DMAs, with less stations in commercial broadcasting (forget home shopping stations), isn't necessarily ideal.
  6. akron05

    akron05 Legend

    Dec 14, 2005
    It started because, aside from maybe a couple transmitters, people in Hagerstown have a lot of trouble getting ANYTHING OTA due to distance and mountains. So WHAG set up shop in this small city of 35k and all was good...but since aside from WHAG all the stations people watched came from DC via either a huge-ass antenna or cable, that's how it developed. WHAG stays on as a second affiliate for two reasons:

    1. A few people in Hagerstown, Martinsburg, Frederick, and Chambersburg PA that rely on OTA get this station the most reliably

    2. Also - local news since DC stations ignore anything north and west of Frederick.
  7. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Mentor

    Aug 28, 2007
    As the previous poster mentioned, I am about 12 miles south of DC and the only OTA Baltimore channels I can get are CBS, Fox and WB, nothing on NBC, ABC or PBS. I have a good channel master antenna that is on top my house on a 15' or so pole. Too bad as I always find it fascinating to watch the smaller market news etc. to see the differences vs DC.

    I remember back in the 70s that you could get all the Baltimore station with your rabbit ears as that was way before the airwaves became so polluted...
  8. Upstream

    Upstream Hall Of Fame

    Jul 4, 2006
    So there are multiple network affiliates. So what? Baltimore and Washington are different cities, and large enough to support network affiliates and separate local programming (as opposed to some markets in less populated areas where a single local station is mirrored into multiple locations, because the regions are not big enough to support their own local channels).

    Same thing happens in New York and Philadelphia (although they are further apart) and Los Angeles and San Diego. There are millions of people who can recieve over-the-air transmissions from multiple DMAs.

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