NERW midweek update: Boston fire affects Pru FMs

*It was a scary night for thousands of people in Boston’s Back Bay on Tuesday, when a transformer fire knocked out power to an area that included the Prudential Tower. Other media sources have provided plenty of coverage of the evacuated hotel guests and closed restaurants and such – but if you’re a NERW reader, you’re no doubt wondering “what about the radio stations on the Pru,” and for that, we’re here to help:

The Pru, of course, is normally home to seven FM signals: Greater Media’s WBOS (92.9 Brookline), WTKK (96.9), WROR-FM (105.7 Framingham) and WMJX (106.7); CBS Radio’s WZLX (100.7) and WBMX (104.1) and Clear Channel’s WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford). The word from transmitter-site guru Mike Fitzpatrick of NECRAT.us is that only the four Greater Media stations had backup generators at the tower, so they stayed on the air with only a brief blip as the generators came up to speed.

CBS recently built a new FM auxiliary site at the “candelabra” tower in Needham (in the old WSBK-TV 38 analog transmitter space), and its two stations jumped over to that site (and are still there as of midday Wednesday). And “Kiss” has a backup transmitter at the “FM-128″ tower in Newton, sharing space with sister station WJMN (94.5); that backup, too, is still on the air as of midday Wednesday.

It’s a testament to the importance of backup sites in a big market – you just never know when something like this will happen, and the price of preparedness is relatively low compared to the cost of lost revenue from being off the air.

*Some of the other stories we’re following for next week’s NERW:

New England’s Quinn and Cantara have resurfaced as the new morning show at Albany’s WPYX, with some morning changes coming down the Hudson Valley, too.

The CRTC rejects a bid for multilingual content at Montreal’s CJLV

Boston’s WCVB turns 40

Portland’s WPME sells for a bargain price

And of course more on the Rush Limbaugh fallout, too…all next Monday here on fybush.com.

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Comments

  1. laurenceglavin says

    Where I live, about 30 miles north of Boston, when WXKS 107.9 went to its auxiliary antenna, I could pick up Hillsboro, NH’s WTPL 107.7 very well on my home receiver, and could hold it while driving in the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts.

  2. says

    The CBS backup isn’t in WSBK’s old space but rather a communications room next door to it. I credit my information to engineers from two different clusters who verified what I said in the email.

    • says

      Well, yeah…but you were the one who did the legwork assembling that info, so you get the credit. (Plus, I’m trying to put a link to NECRAT in every post on the site…haven’t you noticed? :)

      As for the backup, I think the combiner room is actually in what had been the WSBK storage room; the transmitter space is the old communications room next door – right?

  3. richardgrimsell says

    Do the auxiliary sites generally have the same power as the regular sites or are they somewhat less?

    • says

      Usually somewhat less. The contour of the aux signal can’t exceed the contour of the main signal at any point, so the Pru stations with auxes at the Newton/Needham sites have to reduce power on the auxes to avoid sending signal further west than the main Pru signals reach.

  4. says

    I don’t remember, I haven’t been inside there yet. Hopefully that will be corrected this summer.

    I did not notice it, but I do now. I appreciate it.
    You still have a link on my front page, and are on my links pages.
    I like the link trade.

  5. aaronread says

    Anyone know what, if anything, happened to:

    1. The OFC stations (WFNX, WERS, WHRB)
    2. WRBB
    3. WMBR, W242AA
    4. WZBC
    5. WJIB

    I believe all of them were outside the zone of lost power, but I’m 3000 miles away so it’s hard to know for sure. :)

    • says

      AFAIK, they were all unaffected. I’d surely have heard from Bob by now if he lost power. I suppose WRBB could be off for a while before anyone noticed…