WMDT initiated broadcast operations in the Salisbury area on April 11, 1980. It was a primary ABC station with a secondary NBC affiliation. It was the brainchild of the late J. Paul Audet, a television pioneer who spent some of his early years in the Albuquerque, New Mexico and Charleston, South Carolina markets. With his son, James R. Audet, equity and debt financing of approximately $3,500,000 was raised to construct and operate the station. In its early years of operation, WMDT won AP and UPI awards for its then innovative ENG efforts. Brechner Management Company, through its Delmarva Broadcast Service subsidiary, bought the station in 1982. In 1992, the station became a sole ABC affiliate carrying that network's programming as well as a mix of syndicated shows; this left the Salisbury region without an NBC affiliate until 2014, when WRDE-LD affiliated with that network. For the 22 years that followed, cable systems in the region aired NBC programs via the network's stations in Baltimore (WMAR-TV until January 1995, then WBAL-TV), Philadelphia (KYW-TV until September 1995, then network-owned WCAU), or Norfolk (WAVY-TV), depending on the location.