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Three-letter callsigns (was: Re: WEVD (was WFAN New York))

<<On Thu, 7 Aug 1997 09:19:15 -0400 (EDT), fybush@world.std.com (Scott D Fybush) said:

> Nope...that seems to be the lone vestige of regulation that remains
> in place at 1919 M Street NW.  The only way to have a three-letter
> call these days is to keep the one you have.

Actually, not quite.  As recently as the early 80s, WGH was able to
relinquish its callsign and get it back again a year later.  What we
have to keep in mind, however, is that the type of station is encoded
in the callsign, and ``three-letter'' callsigns are supposed to be
given to a specific class of non-broadcast facility (IIRC it's the
shore end of ship-to-shore where the power is greater than a specific
threshold), and so if a broadcast station gave up its three-letter
callsign, it would likely be reassigned to some other service and
thus unavailable to a broadcast facility.

> You can move it from
> band to band within the market (Salem just recently did that in NE
> Ohio, where they bought WTOF-FM Canton and renamed it WHK-FM, to match
> their WHK Cleveland), but if you give it up for good it's gone.

Well, this example does not quite fit the statement preceding, since
those are five-letter callsigns, which are somewhat easier to get
(viz., WJZ-TV).  A more apposite example would be when the city of
Dallas sold off their AM station, in the process changing WRR-FM to
WRR (taking the three-letter callsign of said AM).

- -GAWollman

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