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All Is Calm in Stations' DTV Tiff

Norfolk, Va.— In a display of holiday spirit, two Chesapeake Bay TV stations on Christmas Eve set aside their differences and settled an interference dispute. A Norfolk DTV station has agreed to cut power levels temporarily in order to eliminate interference caused to a Maryland analog station operating on the same channel.

Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association, Inc., permittee of ch. 16 WHRO-DT in Hampton-Norfolk, Va., will operate at one-quarter of authorized power during the DTV transition. In return, WBOC-TV Salisbury, Md., will withdraw its objection to WHRO-DT's license. Under the deal, WHRO will be able to operate at full power on ch. 16 when WBOC-TV 's analog signal goes dark and the Maryland station switches to digital-only broadcasts on a separate signal.

The agreement requires the FCC's approval as well as assurances that both stations will be able to fully utilize their DTV channels post-transition. The dispute was the most rancorous of several interference problems reported by analog stations when nearby digital stations began service.

So far, all of the identified conflicts are in areas with large bodies of water. A well-known phenomenon called "ducting" boosts the range of broadcast signals when transmissions carry over water.

Yule Log Post 26% Ratings Jump

New York— Even before his Christmas Eve conversion, Scrooge would likely have been pleased with the performance of the WPIX(TV) Yule Log in New York. Station owner Tribune certainly was.

Viewing of the burning log, which aired from 9 to 11 on Christmas morning, was up 26% from last year, with a 3.9/9. It burned as brightly as a 4.8 and delivered a 4.6/11 during its second hour for a close second behind People's Court, third in the market for its full two hours.The Yule Log had a 20-plus year run as a Christmas tradition in New York and was brought back last year to strong ratings.

Tribune also aired the Yule Log in Washington, where real fireplaces abound. WBDC-TV's broadcast of the log delivered a 2.1/5 over two hours, ranking it fourth in the market.

Yule logs also could be seen over the Internet and on Bay News 9 in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. WPIX's Yule Log can also be seen on the Web, at www.wb11.com.

Call It David Smith Motors

Baltimore— Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., said Tuesday it will make a $20 million cash investment in Summa Holdings, a mid Atlantic states holding company, controlled by Sinclair President and CEO David Smith. Summa owns automobile dealerships, retail tire franchises and a car-leasing company. The investment will represent a 17.5% equity interest and will give Sinclair another board seat on Summa, in addition to Smith's.

Sinclair said Summa will use the proceeds solely to acquire automobile dealerships and will commit to advertising with Sinclair's Baltimore stations, WBFF(TV) and WNUV(TV).

"Because the automobile industry represents the largest category of advertisers for television stations, and because Summa is a profitable and well-run company, we believe that the Summa investment is an attractive one for Sinclair," said Martin R. Leader, a member of Sinclair's Board and chairman of the Special Committee.

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