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AM Station Will Change Frequency, Boost Power

FCC staff ruling denies competitor's objection and means Washington area gets a new 50 kW daytimer.

Moving a piece on the AM chessboard, WAGE near the nation’s capital can shift its frequency and boost its power, adding 5 million people to its 0.5 mV/m contour.

The station, owned by Potomac Radio, is based in Leesburg, Va., and has won permission to go from 1200 kHz at 5 kW day/1 kW night, to 1190 kHz at 50 kW day/3 kW night. It will use a three-tower directional antenna at a new site for daytime operation, and a four-tower DA at its current site at night.

To make that possible, Potomac had reached a deal with Nations Radio, the licensee of WBIS(AM) in nearby Annapolis, Md., under which Nations surrenders that license. The Federal Communications Commission allows such “interference reduction agreements” to encourage overall improvements in the AM service.

Potomac and Nations told the FCC that the change will ease interference to WFYL(AM) in King of Prussia, Pa. The FCC also agreed with their contention that Annapolis listeners would not be unduly harmed by losing WBIS because the area has many local stations including four licensed to Annapolis.

Another company with local radio interests, Birach Broadcasting Corp., had objected to the change. It accused Potomac and its principals, James Weitzman and Edwin Tornberg, of trying to thwart competition and secretly being behind a group of tower opponents in another case involving an AM array in Damascus, Md. Potomac says it has no control over that group and the FCC denied the objection.

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