WBOC-TV Article

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Salisbury, Maryland/ Dover, Delaware
United States
CitySalisbury, Maryland
BrandingWBOC (general)
WBOC News (news)
FOX21 Delmarva (on DT2)
SloganDelmarva's News Leader
Channels Digital: 21 ( UHF)
(to move to 32 (UHF))
Virtual: 16 ( PSIP)
Subchannels (see article)
Affiliations16.1: CBS
16.2: Antenna TV
21.2: Fox
Owner Draper Holdings Business Trust
(WBOC, Inc.)
First air dateJuly 15, 1954 (64 years ago) (1954-07-15)
Call letters' meaningWe're Between the Ocean and the Chesapeake
Sister station(s) WBOC-LD
Former channel number(s)Analog:
16 (UHF, 1954–2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (1954–1956, secondary from 1955)
ABC (secondary, c. 1955–1980)
NBC (secondary, c. 1955–1980)
UPN (DT2, 2003–2006)
Transmitter power740 kW
1000 kW ( CP)
Height279 m (915 ft)
284.1 m (932 ft) (CP)
Facility ID71218
Transmitter coordinates 38°30′17″N 75°38′36″W / 38.50472°N 75.64333°W / 38.50472; -75.64333
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wboc.com

WBOC-TV, virtual channel 16 ( UHF digital channel 21), is a dual CBS/ Fox- affiliated television station licensed to Salisbury, Maryland, United States. Owned by the Draper Holdings Business Trust, it is a sister station to Georgetown, Delaware-licensed low-powered Telemundo affiliate WBOC-LD (channel 42). The two stations share main studios in Salisbury, as well as secondary studios/office facilities in Dover and Milton, Delaware. WBOC-TV's transmitter is located in Laurel, Delaware. The station primarily serves the four easternmost counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, as well as Sussex County, Delaware. However, its signal covers the entire Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, as well as the southern two-thirds of Delaware, a region known as the Delmarva Peninsula.


WBOC-TV began operations on July 15, 1954, owned originally by Peninsula Broadcasting, which started WBOC radio (960 AM, now WTGM and 104.7 FM, now WQHQ), the first successful radio station on the Eastern Shore, in 1940. It is the fourth-oldest television station in Maryland, the first outside Baltimore, and the oldest in Maryland on the UHF band.

It was originally an affiliate of the DuMont Television Network. However, around 1955, it picked up a primary affiliation with CBS, relegating DuMont to secondary status until that network shut down in 1956. It also picked up secondary affiliations with NBC and ABC. [1] The station also featured local programming consisting of variety shows, talent contests, and children's programs.

In 1961 Peninsula Broadcasting was acquired by the A.S. Abell Company, which published the Baltimore Sun and owned Baltimore's then-CBS affiliate, WMAR-TV. WBOC-TV gradually increased the CBS programming on its schedule, though it continued to "cherry-pick" the highest-rated ABC and NBC shows either in pattern (on schedule with the rest of the network) or on a tape-delayed basis.

For example, channel 16 regularly carried the Today Show and The Tonight Show from NBC, and weekend sports coverage from all three networks. Primetime programming consisted of at least one night of all CBS; other evenings with programs from both CBS and ABC; and others with shows from CBS and NBC. Select CBS programs displaced by the scheduling method would air in times outside of primetime. Despite carrying Today (which pre-empted CBS' numerous attempts at morning news programming and Captain Kangaroo), WBOC-TV aired all of CBS's other newscasts, as well as most of CBS's daytime programming and Saturday morning cartoons. The cherry-picking arrangement also affected primetime network sports coverage. However, Delmarva viewers didn't have to worry about missing their favorite shows once cable came to the area. Local cable systems on the Maryland side of the market supplemented the area with the Baltimore stations, while cable systems in Sussex County supplemented it with the Philadelphia stations.

Although it primarily serves a relatively small market of roughly 209,000 people, channel 16 has substantial viewership in portions of three neighboring markets. Kent County, Delaware, home to Dover, is part of the Philadelphia market. However, WBOC-TV has long claimed Dover as part of its primary coverage area, and it has been available for decades on cable there, though presently only in digital. Not only does WBOC-TV operate a bureau there, but for many years it identified as "Salisbury/Dover." Accomack County, Virginia is part of the Hampton Roads market, and is primarily served by county-owned translators of the Hampton Roads stations. WBOC-TV has long been available on cable in Accomack County, alongside the Hampton Roads stations. The station also covers the five Eastern Shore counties that are part of the Baltimore market.

In April 1980, WBOC-TV received competition for the first time when WMDT (channel 47) signed on as a dual ABC/NBC affiliate, allowing channel 16 to become a full-time CBS station. In November of that same year, local ownership of channel 16 returned when entrepreneur Thomas H. Draper purchased the station. Since Draper took over, local news coverage increased, as well as local advertising revenue which allowed for technical upgrades, such as a new four-million-watt tower located near Laurel, Delaware. WBOC-TV regained a sister radio station in 2015, when Draper acquired WOLC (102.5 FM) in Princess Anne and relaunched it as WBOC-FM (the original WBOC radio stations had been sold to separate interests in 1980). [2]

DT2 subchannel

On March 3, 2003, WBOC launched this subchannel to be the area's UPN affiliate, known on-air as "UPN21 Total TV". Before then, either the network's Baltimore affiliates (first WNUV, and later WUTB) or WDCA in Washington, D.C. had been provided on cable systems on the Maryland side of the market, while WPSG in Philadelphia had served the Delaware side, and WGNT in Portsmouth on the Virginia side. On January 24, 2006, UPN and The WB announced the two networks would cease broadcasting and merge. The new combined service would be called The CW. ABC affiliate WMDT operated and promoted cable-exclusive WB affiliate " WBD" provided through The WB 100+.

It was announced on March 28 that WMDT had gained The CW affiliation for the cable channel through similar service The CW Plus. The station then created a new second digital subchannel to offer access to CW programming for non-cable subscribers. On May 9, WBOC made public this subchannel would become a Fox affiliate beginning August 21, 2006. [3] [4] WMDT-DT2 became part of The CW at the network's launch on September 18, 2006. Before 2006, either WBFF in Baltimore or WTTG in Washington, D.C. had served as the FOX affiliate for the Maryland side of the market, while WTXF-TV in Philadelphia served the Delaware side, and the network's Hampton Roads affiliates on the Virginia side (first WTVZ-TV, and later WVBT).

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming [5]
16.1 1080i 16:9 WBOC-HD Main WBOC-TV programming / CBS
16.2 480i WBOC-CL WBOC Classics / Antenna TV
21.2 FOX21 WBOC-DT2 / Fox

A standard definition simulcast of WBOC's Telemundo Delmarva replaced the over the air broadcast of WBOC Classics in November 2017. [6] On August 13, 2018 WBOC Classics returned over the air on WBOC. [7]

Analog-to-digital conversion

WBOC-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 16, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 21, [8] [9] [10] using PSIP to display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 16.

Unlike most digital subchannels, WBOC-DT2 is one of the few that identifies with its physical digital channel number (21) rather than a virtual channel (16.2) through PSIP. This station is known on-air as FOX21 Delmarva. It can also be seen on Comcast and Mediacom channel 5, and in high definition on Comcast digital channel 213.

Cable and satellite availability

Since November 2010, WBOC and FOX21 have been available on DirecTV and Dish Network in their primary five-county coverage area. [11] [12] For WBOC viewers outside this area, satellite subscribers may request a waiver to receive New York City stations if they can't pick up the Delmarva stations over the air. [13] Before 2010, Delmarva was one of the few markets where local stations weren't available on satellite.

From the 1970s to the 1980s, WBOC was carried on cable as far north as Cape May County, New Jersey and New Castle County, Delaware and as far south as Northampton County, Virginia. [14]

On July 23, 2014, DirecTV announced it was in a carriage dispute Draper Holdings, owner of WBOC-TV. It was announced that if Draper and DirecTV could not reach a fair deal before July 31, 2014, DirecTV would no longer be permitted to carry Draper Holding's stations. [15] WBOC and Fox 21 said they were asking for far less money than what DirecTV pays for national networks like ESPN – even though they claim their combined ratings are much higher than ESPN's ratings. DirecTV stated Draper wants seven times more in their new contract. [16] On August 1, DirecTV and Draper Holdings reached a settlement, and the channels remain on the air with no blackouts.

On October 1, 2017 Verizon FiOS dropped WBOC from its lineup. Verizon claimed WBOC was demanding a 175% rate increase. [17] WBOC was restored to the Verizon lineup on November 20, 2017. [18]


WBOC operates two bureaus in Milton and Dover, and a third "virtual" bureau in Cambridge [19] in addition to its main studios in Salisbury. All news broadcasts can be seen via live streaming video on WBOC's Facebook page.

WBOC produces also produces a daily talk show called "DelmarvaLife". [20]

When WBOC-DT2 became a Fox affiliate, the main channel began producing local news weeknights at 5 for a half-hour (known as WBOC News at 5 on FOX21) and every night at 10 also for thirty minutes (called WBOC News at 10 on FOX21). Both shows air from a secondary set and feature a separate graphics package. Weekday mornings at 6, this station simulcasts the second hour of the main channel's weekday morning show.

On August 26, 2008, WBOC began airing its local newscasts in high definition from a newly constructed addition to its studios known as the "NewsPlex". [21] Since WBOC-DT2 airs in standard definition, its shows can only be seen in HD on Verizon FiOS and Comcast digital systems. In addition to the main facilities in Salisbury, the station operates Delaware bureaus in Dover (in the Rodney Village section on US 13/South Dupont Highway) and Milton (at The Square). [22]

Notable former on-air staff


  1. ^ WBOC's 50th anniversary
  2. ^ Northam, Mitchell (August 13, 2015). "WBOC makes radio waves with purchase of WOLC 102.5 FM". DelmarvaNow. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  3. ^ WTTG Fox 5 Station History Archived November 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ WBOC-TV 16 UPN21 to Become FOX21
  5. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WBOC
  6. ^ "New TV Station for Delmarva: WBOC to Launch a Telemundo Affiliate". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  7. ^ "WBOC Classics Back on Over-the-air Channel 16.2". Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  8. ^ WBOC's switch to digital TV delayed by FCC, Delaware News-Journal * February 12, 2009
  9. ^ The Digital TV Transition: What Is DTV? dtv.gov. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  10. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  11. ^ WBOC WBOC/FOX21 Now Available on DIRECTV in 5 Delmarva Counties
  12. ^ WBOC WBOC/FOX21 Now Available on DISH Network in 5 Delmarva Counties
  13. ^ WBOC waiver information
  14. ^ http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/coals7/forms/search/cableSearchNf.cfm
  15. ^ WBOC and FOX21 Could Disappear From DIRECTV Channel Lineup After July 31 WBOC-TV, July 24, 2014
  16. ^ WBOC-TV16, FOX21 could leave DIRECTV
  17. ^ Hughes, Gary (Oct 2, 2017). "Verizon FiOS drops WBOC stations from channel lineup". The Daily Times. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  18. ^ "WBOC & FOX21 Return to Verizon FiOS Lineup". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  19. ^ About WBOC-TV Delmarva's News Leader
  20. ^ DelmarvaLife
  21. ^ WBOC-TV 16 The WBOC NewsPlex
  22. ^ WBOC-TV 16 About Us

External links