November 21-28, 2001

The Big Travelogue: Part Twelve

There's nothing like a good road trip to get a feel for the state of radio these days. From June 23 until July 7, your editor (accompanied by Boston Radio Archives creator Garrett Wollman) hit the road to see what's on - and in - the air across a broad swath of mid-America.

For the next few installments of Site of the Week, we'll be recapping the many highlights of what we like to think of as The Big Trip, 2001 edition. Come along...

Click here for part one

Click here for part two

Click here for part three

Click here for part four

Click here for part five

Click here for part six

Click here for part seven

Click here for part eight

Click here for part nine

Click here for part ten

Click here for part eleven

Wednesday, July 4 - Our Independence Day began on the other side of Missouri, in Kansas City, but it will end along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, watching the fireworks explode above the Gateway Arch (or, if you're a stickler, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial...)

The sun is already low in the sky as we approach St. Louis, circling the city to the north so we can drive over the new Clark Bridge that crosses the river at Alton, Illinois.

(If you're a fan of PBS' Nova, you might have seen an excellent installment last year about the construction of this new cable-stayed bridge.)

In any case, by the time we've checked into our hotel on the Illinois side and set up the VCRs to capture St. Louis' TV news offerings, the sun is setting and there's no time to do any more tower hunting. Instead, we drive into East St. Louis, park the car near the riverboat casinos and take the train across the historic Eads Bridge into St. Louis itself for the pyrotechnics, which are indeed stirring. It takes a few hours to make our way back to the Illinois side and out to the hotel, leaving us a short night's sleep before...

Thursday, July 5 - All of St. Louis in one morning? Not quite, but we'll try, beginning with a drive south along the Illinois side of the river (on I-255) towards the town of Dupo, where we stop at the four towers of WRTH (1430), the station known for most of its long life as WIL.

Along the way towards the river and across to Missouri, we pass (but somehow fail to see) the night site for KSLG (1380), the only two-site operation in the St. Louis area. (The day towers for KSLG are on Chouteau Island, mid-river north of St. Louis.)

Crossing the river on I-255, we pass I-55 and exit to Highway 21 south, where we're soon within sight of the tall tower that's home to public TV KETC (Channel 9) and country WIL-FM (92.3).

There are a few more tall towers south of here, home to smaller TV stations such as religious/UPN KNLC (Channel 24) and home-shopping WHSL (Channel 46), but we head north, instead, to see the major stations' towers.

North of I-270 and a bit east on US 50, we pull into a suburban cul-de-sac to see the tower site of KTVI (Channel 2), the erstwhile ABC affiliate that went to Fox as part of that big New World affiliation switch we mentioned last week in Kansas City. KTVI's old tower (the one on the left) was apparently not quite up to the challenge of DTV, so there's a new tall stick right next door for KTVI-DT (Channel 43).

From KTVI, we head east on Highway 30 and MacKenzie Road to the next tall tower on the agenda, the Channel 4 tower built years ago by CBS when that station was still a network O&O as KMOX-TV. Today, Channel 4 is known as KMOV and owned by Belo, but it's still on this stick.

Also here is the former KMOX-FM (103.3), now oldies KLOU, and WB affiliate KPLR (Channel 11), though that station holds a CP to move to the KETC site for both DTV and analog service.

We follow MacKenzie north again to Heege Road, where a golf course crosses the front lawn of the old Pulitzer station, KSD-TV (Channel 5), now KSDK and owned by Gannett, though still an NBC affiliate.

KSD(FM) on 93.7 still uses this stick as well, though it's owned by Clear Channel these days along with KLOU. (Confused yet?)

At the top of the page, you saw the "Crestwood FM Tower," another site very close to the KSDK tower. This community FM tower is home to KSIV-FM (91.5), KSHE (94.7), KIHT (96.3), KYKY (98.1), KFUO-FM (99.1), KEZK-FM (102.5), KMJM-FM (104.9), WKKX (106.5) and KSLZ (107.7) - and, as J.T. Anderton has pointed out, is the only place you'll find stations in classes C, C1, C2 and C3 all on a single tower!

Just beyond the Crestwood tower to the north, we see the tower of what's now the ABC affiliate for St. Louis, former independent KDNL-TV (Channel 30).

From here, we turn our attention from transmitters to studios, heading east across the River Des Peres and then north on Hampton Avenue to the little row house that's home to WEW (770), a little station that's been chugging along since the early twenties, never adding night power or increasing its day signal beyond a thousand watts.

A few blocks north across I-44, we pass a building that's now home to the American Red Cross but was home to KMOX radio back in the fifties and sixties, and around the corner on Berthold Avenue, we come to the studios of KTVI, just a short distance from Forest Park.

Religious KFUO (850 Clayton) operates from a single stick near the Fontbonne College campus on the west side of the park, but we can't find a good view to photograph, so we head east on Lindell Boulevard, across the north side of the park, to see the studios of KPLR.

Those, as you can see, are in one of the upscale apartment buildings that line the park's edges in this leafy neighborhood; we wonder if any of KPLR's talent take advantage of the short commute and live right there?

Now we're pointed towards downtown, for a quick visit at the KSD/KLOU studios in a renovated older office building on Pine Street.

Rob Walker, a longtime NorthEast Radio Watch reader and former New England radio guy, is the PD here (though, as we visit, we find out he's about to head out to a new management position in Oregon); he's taken the day off, but he's arranged a tour for us.

You don't see a jock in the KSD studio - it's voice-tracked on this Thursday midday! (There is a live jock down the hall in the identical KLOU studio, though.)

This building is just a block away from Union Station, where rocker KSHE (94.7) has had its studio for quite a while; we'd stop and visit, but time is short, and we need to see the stations in the heart of downtown St. Louis.

KDNL, along with Sinclair sister stations KFTK (97.1 Florissant) and WVRV (101.1 East St. Louis), operates from a building at 1215 Cole Street that was home to KMOX-TV in the fifties and sixties.

We're reasonably certain that the tall tower out back, not currently in use by any St. Louis broadcaster, was the original KMOX-TV site before that new tall tower down south was built.

A few blocks south, KSDK operates from a building at 10th and Market Streets (officially, 1000 Market St.)

From 10th and Washington, just north of KSDK, it's a clear view east to the Gateway Arch and the river - and just across I-70 from the arch, the tower at One Memorial Drive that became home to the KMOX stations in the seventies.

Even though the stations have been under separate ownership since CBS sold the TV outlet (ironically enough, to its future purchaser, Viacom) in the early eighties, they continue to share this facility at the edge of the Mississippi.

From here, we'll cross the Big River for the final time this trip, but you'll have to wait until next week's installment to see the amazing cluster of AM sites that await us on the Illinois side of the river as the Big Trip rolls towards its finale. can still enjoy the Big Trip's lovely KFAB view and eleven more favorites from Tower Site of the Week all year long, if you order the Tower Site 2002 Calendar!

This full-color, 8.5-by-11 inch, glossy calendar features a dozen exciting tower images, and it can be on your wall for just $15, postpaid! (NY residents include sales tax; US$20 postpaid to Canada).

You can have yours for the holidays - and our ordering deadline has been extended, so it's not too late to send your check or money order, payable to Scott Fybush (that's me), to 92 Bonnie Brae Ave., Rochester NY 14618.

Your purchase of a calendar helps keep Site of the Week coming all year round...thank you!