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Employer Spotlight: WBOC-TV

WBOC-TV celebrated its the 60th anniversary of broadcasting on the air to Delmarva on July, 15, 2014.

WBOC-TV, known as Delmarva's News Leader, makes a commitment every day to do the best job it can covering issues that affect the entire Delmarva Peninsula. In Maryland, the station reaches Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline and Queen Anne’s counties. In Delaware, it reaches Sussex and Kent counties. In Virginia, it reaches Accomack County. These 10 counties are with just under 500,000 viewers, not including those who visit area beaches during the summer.

Thomas Draper, President and CEO
Thomas Draper, President and CEO

WBOC-TV Building

WBOC’s main studio is in Salisbury, MD. On August 26, 2008, WBOC began to broadcast high definition newscasts from the newly constructed NewsPlex. The NewsPlex is 11,340-square-foot state-of-the-art, high-definition, digital broadcast facility. The multi-million dollar facility was constructed behind WBOC’s main building on 1729 N. Salisbury Blvd. in Salisbury.

In addition to WBOC’s Salisbury location, the station's other newsrooms, with news staffs and sales divisions, are located in Dover and Milton, DE, and a "virtual" newsroom is based out of Cambridge, MD.

The WBOC staff also runs two digital subchannels, FOX21, which airs FOX programming as well as WBOC News, and WBOC Classics, which is an Antenna TV affiliate.

When WBOC-TV first went on the air at 7:15 p.m. on July 15, 1954, the name WBOC was already a household word to Delmarva residents. That is because in 1954, WBOC Radio had already entered its 14th year of existence, and it was the first successful radio station on Delmarva, having been on the air since September 13, 1940.

Early programming on WBOC was nothing like it is today. Those who were there say the WBOC studios at Radio-TV Park in Salisbury quickly became the cultural and social hub of Delmarva, as the station hosted live variety shows, game shows, talent contests, beauty contests and hours of live, in-studio educational programs.

Originally a part of the Dumont Television Network, WBOC's management soon found the national networks were very interested in the Delmarva market, and for a time, WBOC was an affiliate of all three national networks – CBS, NBC and ABC – before finally becoming a CBS affiliate, which it remains to this day.

In 1961, faced with a quickly changing industry, Peninsula Broadcasting decided to sell the station to the A.S. Abell Company of Baltimore, publishers of The Baltimore Sun and owners of WMAR TV in Baltimore. The A.S. Abell Company operated the station for nearly 20 years, before selling to its current owner, Draper Holdings, in November 1980.

Under Thomas H. Draper's direction, the transmitter was moved and power increased to 4 million watts, departments within the station were streamlined, equipment was upgraded and Draper made a commitment to local news-gathering that continues to this day.

For many years, WBOC-TV was the only television station on the Delmarva Peninsula, and for many people, it still is. In spite of the number of choices now available, WBOC is still by far the most popular television station on Delmarva. WBOC enjoys that loyalty because it has earned it, through decades of commitment to quality in broadcasting: in news-gathering and in public service.

In broadcasting, our engineers have spent decades refining every aspect of our facility, always expanding, always upgrading, always putting the quality of our television products and our broadcast signal ahead of all other considerations.

WBOC's commitment to news is well-known in the industry, and our news department has won nearly every major national award there is to win. However, WBOC's main objective is not winning awards. The station's chief goal is to gather and report the most accurate, fair and balanced news possible, and that is what wins awards. The station's commitment to public service is no secret to the people of Delmarva. Whether it is 24-hour storm coverage during hurricanes to public health and safety promotion, WBOC is there.

From one low-power AM signal to three television stations and a robust, the mission remains the same: to provide the residents of Delmarva with the very best television and online experience possible. That is what WBOC has always done, and that is what we will always try to do in the future.

WBOC-TV, FOX21, WBOC Classics and are locally owned and operated by Draper Holdings, which also owns Loblolly, LLC.

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