Univision buys former NBC40 station at Jersey shore for $6M

Former NBC40 news anchor Michelle Dawn Mooney, left, and weatherman Dan Skeldon offer up the 5 p.m. local news on the station on Dec. 23, 2014. The station lost its NBC license and was later went dark.

Spanish-language TV broadcaster Univision is buying the former NBC40 airwaves in the Atlantic City area for $6 million. Thousands at the Jersey Shore watched the local station, home to hurricane tracker Dan Skeldon, before it went dark in early 2015.

Univision confirmed the purchase of the station, identified by the call letters WMGM and which has one of the strongest signals in the Atlantic City area,  from LocustPoint Networks LLC, based in California. The deal was contained in government filings and first reported by trade publication tvnewscheck.com.

But the station’s exact fate is still uncertain. NBC40 lost its independent network affiliation, a crippling blow to the small TV station that allowed Comcast-owned NBC10 in Philadelphia to consolidate the TV market’s audience.

LocustPoint, a speculator in TV stations, bought WMGM with the apparent intent to sell it as part of the recent Federal Communications Commission airwaves auction that reallocated the nation’s airwaves for smartphones and mobile devices.

Ten Philadelphia-area TV stations, among them WFMZ-TV, WGTW-TV, and WMCN-TV, sold spectrum for about $1 billion in that auction earlier this year, according to the FCC’s data.

A big buyer in the auction was cable giant Comcast Corp., which spent $1.7 billion on wireless spectrum as it seeks to launch its own wireless product branded as Xfinity Mobile.

But WMGM didn’t find a buyer, leaving it in LocustPoint’s hands.

“WMGM presented us with an attractive opportunity to act on and we like the options that this asset offers us in a major U.S. market,” Univision spokesman Bobby Amirashi said on Tuesday.

Univision already broadcasts in the Philadelphia TV market as Univision 65. According to the FCC’s website, Univision 65’s over-the-air signal is weak in the Atlantic City area. The Spanish-language broadcaster had no comment on what its plans are for the two stations in the Philadelphia TV market.

Univision has historically ranked as the nation’s No. 1 Spanish-language TV station. But Comcast-owned Telemundo has closed the audience gap.