February 13-20, 2002

WMTW's New Home, Baldwin, Maine

I wish it were a better picture, but this is the best I can offer at the moment to depict the newest TV site in the northeast, WMTW-TV's new Channel 8 transmitter in Baldwin, Maine.

As you learned last week, WMTW finally made the move on February 5, 2002, leaving behind the site on Mount Washington, N.H. that had been its home since sign-on back in 1954 in favor of this 1600-foot stick on the west side of Sebago Lake.

And of course we had to load up the NERW-mobile and head out to see it as soon as we heard it was up! So here it is, up there on Bald Mountain, some 35 miles northwest of downtown Portland. These views are as close as you can get; the tower is reached down a mile-long paved road with a very locked gate on it.

The move of some 45 miles brings WMTW into signal parity (and then some) with its Portland competitors.

From this spot just west of Routes 5 and 113 on Douglas Hill Road (just barely within Cumberland County, despite reports that put it in nearby York County), you can easily see the other tall tower in the neighborhood, home to WCSH (Channel 6) and public radio WMEA (90.1). Across Sebago Lake, on a clear evening like this one, it's also easy to see the WGME-TV (Channel 13) tower, once the world's tallest, and, off in the distance to the east, the two tall sticks of WPXT (Channel 51) and WPME (Channel 35).

The early reports on this signal are good ones indeed; it's putting a strong signal down to the New Hampshire seacoast and across the greater Portland area. It may not have the overall reach that the Mount Washington signal did, but it's a much stronger signal in more populous areas.

We had hoped to return the next day to get some better-lit pictures than this one, but the weather was not cooperating. When we got back, so much fog had rolled in that the tower was literally invisible off in the distance - which should come as some comfort to the neighbors who loudly protested the construction of the stick!

We'll leave you with one other bonus this week, since this was a short issue and came to you late (more about that in a moment): we didn't stop at Baldwin in touring some of the new highlights of Maine's tower scene.

In addition to checking out the sites of WPHX-1220 in Sanford, WCNM-1240 in Lewiston, WKTQ-1450 in South Paris and WSKW-1160 in Skowhegan, we made it up to the paper-mill town of Rumford, up there not far from the New Hampshire line in northwestern Maine. If you've been following along in NERW, you know that the 790 in Rumford (long WRUM, then WLLB, now WTME) was reborn in December, moving from a kilowatt daytimer on that frequency to a 10 kW daytimer (with 18 watts at night!) on 780.

We had to see the stick, of course, and we found it out on South Rumford Road. It certainly looks as though WTME built a new tower (albeit at the same site) for the higher power - and isn't it amazing that a 10 kW transmitter can fit in that little shack at the base!

We'll be on the road for the next couple of weeks (first Charleston, W.V. and Louisville, then Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham), so we may not be publishing on Wednesdays - but stay tuned for much more to come on this page!