WJLA-TV’s Jumbotron on the side of a Rosslyn tower cannot work with the studio’s latest technology, and the county board Saturday said it was OK if they got a new, high definition one to replace it.
However, WJLA says it can only afford the sign if it can also use some of the space for advertisements, a plan the county board rejected Saturday, so the old sign is likely to come down and not be replaced.
The current sign, which faces Wilson Blvd. on the outside of the West Arland Tower, is supposed to show WJLA-TV broadcasts, but only shows a weather map because the technology in the studio can no longer work with the sign, said Jonathan Puvak, an attorney with Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, Emrich & Walsh, who represented the building owner, 1000-1100 Wilson Owner, LLC.
"The Jumbotron can no longer carry a broadcast news feed," Puvak said. The company wants the new screen, "but the reality is it's expensive to replace, maintain and install."
He said, "A small corporate sponsorship element" using eight percent of the screen would help defer the expense.
Although county staff liked the new sign’s smaller design -- 164 square feet instead of the current 172 -- they feared the precedent that allowing commercial advertisements would set.
Puvak said the ad would be a business’s icon, but staff feared it would set a precedent that would allow advertisement from companies not on the premises.
The board agreed, and voted yes to the new sign, but no to the commercial advertisements.
“Say goodbye to the Jumbotron,” said Walsh Colucci attorney Nan Walsh after the vote.