New HD Radio/IBOC signal in Washington: 107.9 WLZL Annapolis, MD

HD Radio display while tuned to 107.9 WLZL Annapolis, MD
HD Radio display while tuned to 107.9 WLZL Annapolis, MD

107.9 WLZL Annapolis, MD has recently turned on HD Radio–the first Washington, DC-area station to voluntarily do so in years.

WLZL’s digital signal, at 39 miles away from my Northern Virginia home, doesn’t seem to pose any DXing threat. One of the frequencies affected by WLZL’s IBOC, 107.7, is already occupied by local 107.7 WWWT Manassas, VA at 32 miles away. The other IBOC sideband, at 108.1 FM, is outside of the FM band. WLZL’s HD signal doesn’t decode when my antenna is aimed away from the station’s transmitter, so I predict it will be of no nuisance during strong tropo or Sporadic E openings.

Interestingly, until 2012, WLZL’s Spanish format and “El Zol” name used to be on nearby and co-owned 99.1 in Bowie, MD.  The station was listed on the Ibiquity website as ‘coming soon’ for HD Radio service for years.  In 2012, station owner CBS Radio flipped 99.1 to an all-news format and apparently the Spanish format, as well CBS’ plans to turn on WLZL’s HD signal, moved to 107.9

logo-wlzlLocal station adaption of HD Radio has been an ongoing spectacle in the Washington market, with many stations turning the service on and off at random since its introduction in 2006. Although most signals have kept their IBOC signals steadily on-air, some stations, including DC’s 105.9 WJZW Woodbridge, VA, turned off their IBOC signal for the forseeable future. Other area signals, such as 104.1 WPRS Waldorf, MD, stopped running HD Radio for years before reinstating their digital signal.

The above screenshot from WLZL has been added to my HD Radio/RDS Screenshots page where you can find hundreds more similar screenshots from FM radio stations.