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WBOC-TV, virtual channel 16 (UHF digital channel 32), is a dual CBS/Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Salisbury, Maryland, United States. Owned by the Draper Holdings Business Trust, it is sister to two low-power stations: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware-licensed NBC affiliate WRDE-LD (channel 31) and Georgetown, Delaware-licensed Telemundo affiliate WBOC-LD (channel 42), as well as five radio stations.[1] All of the outlets share studios on North Salisbury Boulevard in Salisbury; WBOC-TV maintains secondary studios/office facilities in Dover and Milton, Delaware, and transmitter facilities in Laurel, Delaware.

Salisbury, Maryland/Dover, Delaware
United States
CitySalisbury, Maryland
  • WBOC (general)
  • WBOC News (news)
  • Fox 21 Delmarva (on DT2)
SloganDelmarva's News Leader
ChannelsDigital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 16 (PSIP)
OwnerDraper Holdings Business Trust
(WBOC, Inc.)
First air dateJuly 15, 1954 (65 years ago) (1954-07-15)
Call letters' meaningWe're Between the Ocean and the Chesapeake
Sister station(s)TV: WRDE-LD, WBOC-LD, WSJZ-LD, WRUE-LD
Former channel number(s)Analog:
16 (UHF, 1954–2009)
21 (UHF, 2009–2019)
Former affiliations
  • DuMont (1954–1956, secondary from 1955)
  • ABC (secondary, c. 1955–1980)
  • NBC (secondary, c. 1955–1980)
  • UPN (DT2, 2003–2006)
Transmitter power1000 kW
Height284.1 m (932 ft)
Facility ID71218
Transmitter coordinates38°30′17″N 75°38′36″W / 38.50472°N 75.64333°W / 38.50472; -75.64333
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WBOC-TV 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.[2] 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).[3]

DT2 subchannelEdit

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.[4][5] WMDT-DT2 became part of The CW at the network's launch on September 18, 2006. For Fox's first 20 years of existence, either WBFF in Baltimore or network-owned WTTG in Washington, D.C. had served as the network's default affiliates for the Maryland side of the market, while affiliate-turned-O&O WTXF-TV in Philadelphia served the Delaware side, and the network's Hampton Roads affiliates were carried on the Virginia side (WTVZ-TV until August 1998, then WVBT).

Digital televisionEdit

Digital channelsEdit

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[6]
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.[7] On August 13, 2018 WBOC Classics returned over the air on WBOC.[8]

Analog-to-digital conversionEdit

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,[9][10][11] 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 Fox 21 Delmarva. It can also be seen on Comcast and Mediacom channel 5, and in high definition on Comcast digital channel 213.

On August 1, 2019, WBOC-TV moved from digital UHF channel 21 to UHF channel 32 as part of the FCC repack.

Cable and satellite availabilityEdit

Since November 2010, WBOC and Fox 21 have been available on DirecTV and Dish Network in their primary five-county coverage area.[12][13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] WBOC was restored to the Verizon lineup on November 20, 2017.[19]


WBOC operates three bureaus in Milton, Dover and in Cambridge[20] 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 a daily talk show called "DelmarvaLife"[21] and an outdoors affairs program "Outdoors Delmarva", which broadcasts on Saturdays.

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 Fox 21) and every night at 10 also for thirty minutes (called WBOC News at 10 on Fox 21). 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".[22] Since WBOC-DT2 airs in standard definition, its shows can only be seen in HD on Verizon FiOS, Comcast digital systems, and DirecTV. 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).[23]

Notable former on-air staffEdit


  1. ^ a b "Home". WBOC Radio. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  2. ^ WBOC's 50th anniversary
  3. ^ Northam, Mitchell (August 13, 2015). "WBOC makes radio waves with purchase of WOLC 102.5 FM". DelmarvaNow. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  4. ^ WTTG Fox 5 Station History Archived November 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ WBOC-TV 16 UPN21 to Become FOX21
  6. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WBOC
  7. ^ "New TV Station for Delmarva: WBOC to Launch a Telemundo Affiliate". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  8. ^ "WBOC Classics Back on Over-the-air Channel 16.2". Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  9. ^ WBOC's switch to digital TV delayed by FCC, Delaware News-Journal * February 12, 2009
  10. ^ The Digital TV Transition: What Is DTV? Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ WBOC WBOC/FOX21 Now Available on DIRECTV in 5 Delmarva Counties
  13. ^ WBOC WBOC/FOX21 Now Available on DISH Network in 5 Delmarva Counties
  14. ^ WBOC waiver information
  15. ^
  16. ^ WBOC and FOX21 Could Disappear From DIRECTV Channel Lineup After July 31 WBOC-TV, July 24, 2014
  17. ^ WBOC-TV16, FOX21 could leave DIRECTV
  18. ^ Hughes, Gary (Oct 2, 2017). "Verizon FiOS drops WBOC stations from channel lineup". The Daily Times. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  19. ^ "WBOC & FOX21 Return to Verizon FiOS Lineup". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  20. ^ About WBOC-TV Delmarva's News Leader
  21. ^ DelmarvaLife
  22. ^ WBOC-TV 16 The WBOC NewsPlex
  23. ^ WBOC-TV 16 About Us

External linksEdit