George W Bush’s FM translator legacy

CBS Radio is launching a Country radio format station in Baltimore

Read carefully and see if you can tell me the call sign of the CBS station. A big hint is the story says the “frequency” is “owned” by Hope Christian, a religious broadcaster – and the frequency is at 106.1, not in the non-commercial band.

The “station” turns out to be W261BA, a 4.5 watt FM translator originally intended to allow Hope Christian to spread the non-commercial love of Jesus out in the suburbs.

It appears they have decided that the love of money is more attractive. But how does CBS get permission to feed a commercial signal to an FM translator without it translating an existing FM station? The magic of HD radio. Even though virtually nobody listens to it, the FCC allows an HD2/3/4 “channel” to be fed to power an FM translator. As a bonus, since translators and HD channels don’t count against ownership limits per market, large owners can buy up more and more available frequencies.

The current signal is fairly useless, but with a small amount of FCC paperwork, likely the transmitter (which is less powerful than a CB radio and about as portable) will quietly move to the top of a skyscraper in downtown Baltimore. As long as nobody complains of interference, they’re home free.

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6 Responses to George W Bush’s FM translator legacy

  1. Nidster says:

    That transmitter is driving me nuts. Where do I complain?

  2. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    It makes me want to bushushuru just when I thought I had finally recovered.

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