The problem is the physical geography around Marquette. To its East is Lake Superior. To its West, uphill, is the Superior Upland Plateau that covers much of the Central U.P.
When you build a TV transmitter licensed to Marquette, you have a choice.
You can build a transmitter right in town, or at the edge of the plateau overlooking Marquette, that actually will serve Marquette, and the Eastern end of the plateau. Or, you can build a station well into the plateau, which will serve places on the plateau, and provide theoretical coverage (and thus cable carriage) of Marquette, Iron Mountain and Escanaba, but not usable OTA coverage to Marquette itself (signals, blocked by the edge of the plateau, pass over the town).
You cannot do both with one transmitter!
WLUC, WBUP, and WJMN have chosen the latter.
WNMU used the former for its temporary facility, and transitioned to the latter.
WZMQ has chosen to serve Marquette itself.
The problem is not really due to digital (yes, the fact that the digital transition has brought with it a UHF transition for lowbanders WLUC and WJMN has exacerbated the problem). WLUC (also known as "with luck, you see") in analog had to build a translator in their own city of license (W07DB - still providing NBC for those with analog).
There is a "right" way to serve the Central U.P., but it would take money (I wonder how much, very small translators are not very expensive, are they?):
Have "rural" DTV transmitters at their current sites on the plateau (actually, WJMN is not on the plateau), and use small translators to serve Marquette, Iron Mountain, and Escanaba. The translators would all be on channels different from the main site, but could share one channel with each other (e.g., WLUC on 35, but all translators on 14)
Ideally, in the three cities, broadband antennas could be shared by all five stations to further reduce costs.
Escanaba already gets Fox and PBS from translators of Wisconsin stations. Esky used to have an analog translator of WLUC (W14CE) until quite recently, and I don't know why they dropped it.
WJMN might be able to use their existing channel 3 for the "rural" transmitter (if their antenna could pass to the bottom of the channel and Canada doesn't object) and their existing channel 48 STA facility is already their Escanaba translator.
As I've mentioned before, WNMU already had (maybe still has) a turnkey Marquette translator in its channel 33 temporary facility, which was fine in Marquette in 2008.
(BTW, did WZMQ ever get on cable? in early August, they were the only station I could get with my portable in Shiras Park, but they were not being carried by Charter in Manistique.)