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Stations Settle Interference Dispute

Hampton Roads, Va.-based WHRO and WBOC in Salisbury, Md., have settled a signal interference dispute that caused the Virginia public broadcaster's digital signals to interfere with WBOC's analog signal.

The agreement calls for WHRO to operate at 1/4 of its authorized power (237.7 kW) during the DTV transition and, in exchange, WBOC will withdraw its objection to WHRO's license application to operate at maximized power of 950 kW. The agreement requires the FCC's approval as well as assurances that both stations will be able to fully use their DTV channels post-transition.

The signal interference between the two Chesapeake Bay-area stations -- which both broadcast on Channel 16 -- was caused by ducting, which allows broadcast signals to travel further over water. When WHRO began to broadcast in digital at full power, they didn't expect to interfere with the analog service of CBS affiliate over 120 miles away. After receiving numerous listener complaints, WBOC petitioned the FCC in June for immediate relief from the interference and to help develop a long-term solution.