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    Classified listings Homes section

    Radio station causes static for some local residents

    Instead of her friend’s knowing voice, Barbara Devries’ phone calls are being answered with static.

    Sterling resident Devries has been trying to ring her pal Amelia who lives at the Wingler House retirement community in Ashburn, but to no avail.

    “I think instead of using all these smartphones, we better go back to smoke signals,” Devries said.

    Likewise, Cascades resident James Thompson’s home phone has also been acting up. But, instead of just static on the line, Thompson can also overhear a Chinese talk radio show in English on his home phone landline.

    “I listened to it for awhile,” Thompson said. “I didn’t understand at first, but now I completely understand.”

    The interference and static on the line stems from the increased wattage of the radio station formerly known as WAGE. The station now has new call letters, WCRW at the 1190 AM dial, as well as a ten-fold increase in its wattage to 50,000 watts. The station sounds out from its three 195-foot lattice-tower AM radio transmitters in Ashburn.

    The Loudoun-based station returned to the air April 11 after going dark more than one year ago. Avid WAGE fans that listened to the station for five decades, however, immediately noticed a stunning difference coming through the airwaves – a significant change in the radio station’s programming that now includes entertainment news coming out of Pacific Rim countries.

    Immediately after shutting down in 2009, Potomac Radio, the owner of WCRW now known as New World Radio, began searching for a site for its new 50,000-watt towers. The station’s towers landed at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Gloucester Parkway in the Route 28 corridor. The towers cost New World Radio $2 million.

    The station’s new programming has been jarring to some residents. But, the increased wattage has left many Loudoun residents in its sound wake.

    “I couldn’t make a phone call [out] or a phone call in,” Thompson said.

    He phoned the Federal Communications Commission. The commission, he said, gave him “a long diatribe about how it’s not their problem” because they do not get involved with issues of interference. They instead told him that AM static interference is a local disturbance problem. He tried calling the number he knew for the radio station. It rang static.

    Alan Pendleton, president of New World Radio, is aware of and quite familiar with the interference issue, adding that it happens all the time.

    “It’s important to know that most interference issues are a result of the malfunctioning consumer electronic equipment, or its a cause of the copper telephone lines that are becoming an antenna,” he said.

    Pendleton said telecommunications providers are best able to doctor the problem, as it is their equipment that picks up the signal. When a house is wired for phone services, telecommunications companies put filters around the wires, but sometimes the filters are not strong enough, he said. Sometimes, an additional filter around phones within the household are required.

    Thompson patched things up by doing just that. He had his telecommunications provider install an ion ferrite filter that clamps around his phone lines. The filter negates all interference.

    Although Thompson remedied his problem, he and Devries still have unanswered questions.

    What is the county was going to do about it? Thompson said the supervisors did not understand what the increased wattage was going to mean nor did they understand the technicalities of the FCC license.

    “I don’t understand how this radio station is allowed to operate,” Devries said. Devries worries about her elderly friends who may not be able to make phone calls in case of an emergency. “That’s dangerous, especially for them that they get all this static on their phones.”

    Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) had not yet heard of the phone interference, but called it “an emergency situation.” He was nonplussed that it was happening in Loudoun where the supervisors “work tirelessly on improving our communication abilities.”

    Delgaudio said the issue requires investigation and a possible declaration of a state of emergency.

    “They can’t call 9-1-1 or reverse 9-1-1. Doesn’t that defeat everything? I mean, really. It’s intolerable and we have to work on it right away,” he said.

    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Comments

    the land use decision to permit the towers in this location was and is totally separate from the content of the radio station that uses teh towers to broadcast. Denying the permit to allow building the towers in the proposed location would have stopped the station from operating as planned (content irregardless)...until they figured out how to build their towers somewhere else. The legacy is 3 ugly towers along a major stream and one of the County’s premiere business roadways (LCPkwy). They are visible from quite a radius in eastern Loudoun, and will be for a very long time.


    Alex, it’s not really a commercial operation. It’s brokered-out (fronted) to the Chinese government, no doubt on a multi-year basis. Highly deceptive from the start, and the local politicians such as Eugene Delgaudio are culpable.


    It’s costing me tens of thouands of dollars for all kinds of environmental studies, parking, traffic,  soil samples, you name it for a business that has nbenn in existence for 30 + years. (Loudoun is VERY friendly for bsuiness - NOT!)  Who did the professional work on the application and why are they not held accountable? I can vouch from persoanl experience thay the owner paid tens of thousand of dollars.


    I would not fret about this….AM radio needs big supporters and advertisers..a few months of neither will send this guy dark. WTRI in Brunswick has come and gone over and over and is dark again. A variety of formats, from country to Vegas Radio to Asian…all failures…WCRW will fail..it was ramrodded through and will never make a dime.


    Sorry for your luck! Tank ewe!


    It is not the fault of WCRW.  Poor quality telephone equipment is usually the problem. FCC regulations are clear that the responsibility falls with the telephone equipment.


    and what is this propaganda espousing? Shop at Wal-mart? Already happenin’


    Perhaps the solution here is to have the radio station pay for the procurement and installation of filters on every affected person’s phone line. If they caused the problem, the least they can do is shell out the money to solve it.


    There is a scandal here. This new station is a soft propaganda outlet for China state radio (China Radio International). That’s right, the programming is straight from the communist government of China (“brokered” through fronts). Music and chatter filler, but the purpose is to project Chinese propaganda. This outlet targets the Washington DC area. A fast one was pulled with the help of Loudoun BOS including Eugene Delgaudio. Please explain to your constituents how Chinese propaganda serves the public interest.


    BOS vote on the special exception- Burk and Kurtz no, the rest - YES.  SO Eugene, you approved the towers which allowed this all to occur. Why don’t you admit to that while you’re calling in the national guard.


    Happened to us. We live in Countryside. You could hear WCRW loud and clear on our home phones. I spent an hour discussing the problem with Verizon (our provider). They installed a radio frequency filter on our phone line. It is now crystal clear.


    Play some Skynryd, man!


    the radio station does not even cover our local sports like they used to, I thought when the station came back they would, so I don’t listen to them.

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