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Rural Virginia Communities to Lose TV Translator Service

Residents in the rural Virginia communities of Toms Brook and Woodstock will lose off-air TV from CBS affiliate WUSA in Washington, D.C. later this month.

At that time, the Shenandoah County (Va.) Board of Supervisors will turn off the TV translator serving those communities to allow Verizon Wireless to begin operation on a channel they purchased in an FCC auction.

The article, TV channels to go black when Verizon adopts wider network by Sally Voth of Northern Virginia Daily didn't list the translators affected, but a CDBS search showed the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors has six translators: three in New Market, Va., which operate on channels 56, 59 and 61, and three in Woodstock, Va., operating on Channels 63, 65, and 68.

Channels 63 and 68 are reserved for public safety, but channels 61 and 65 fall into upper 700 MHz "Block C". Verizon won that "Block C" spectrum in every region except Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In a request for special temporary authority to keep the translators operating while the Board of Supervisors was completing renewal applications in December 2008, the Board observed that Virginia's Shenandoah County has a large rural population without cable service, and most residents can't afford satellite TV service, and without the translators, most would not be able to access television broadcasts.

In the article, District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris said residents will wake up April 15 and find they don't have WUSA.

"That's going to go over like poop in a punch bowl," he said.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.