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October 24-31, 2002

WSAJ, Grove City, Pennsylvania

Sorry about the grain on this week's picture, but we had to do a little digital enhancement to bring out the important element of this interesting image from September, 2001.

You're looking at Rockwell Science Hall on the campus of Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, a sleepy little burg about 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh and south of Erie. Today, Grove City is probably best known to drivers on I-79 as the home of a big outlet mall - but for radio history buffs, it deserves mention for a different reason: WSAJ radio.

The calls alone (part of an early run of sequentially-assigned ones) should serve as an indication that this station dates back to the very earliest days of radio licensing, 1921 to be exact (and even then, it was the successor to an amateur station, 8CO.) If that's not enough, check out that longwire "cage"-type antenna! Yes, that's the mighty WSAJ(AM) on 1340, still carrying on its 80-plus year legacy of broadcasting, a few hours a week at least.

WSAJ, you see, is the remnant of an ancient share-time arrangement with what's now WOYL on 1340 in Oil City, 40 or so miles to the northeast. WOYL used to be WKRZ, and it would sign off for a few hours on Sunday mornings and two nights a week when WSAJ took the air for an hour or so with its broadcasts from Grove City, running all of 100 watts into that wire.

The share-time is long since gone, with both sides agreeing that 100 watts from Grove City really wasn't interfering with 250 (and later 1000) watts in Oil City. (And that, friends, is why WOYL is one of a handful of directional graveyard-channel AM signals...) But WSAJ continued to be only an occasional voice on the AM dial, especially after the debut a decade or so ago of WSAJ-FM on 91.1, transmitting full-time from those two bays behind the old wire cage antenna.

When we took this picture a little more than a year ago, WSAJ(AM) was completely silent and had been for a while, since the demise of its antiquated (installed in 1950, and not necessarily brand-new even then) GE transmitter. While a new LPB transmitter was already in place inside Rockwell Science Hall at that point, the resumption of broadcasts on the AM side awaited repairs to that old antenna, which were finally completed in the spring of 2002.

So WSAJ carries on, and if you're close to the campus on the right Sunday morning or weekday evening, you too can tune in to the continuation of this very long-running bit of Pennsylvania radio history.

Next week, we'll show you why there was no Site of the Week last week, as we begin a multi-part look at the many wonderful towers of the Dallas-Fort Worth market!

Like our recent WTIC picture? It's one of the more than a dozen Tower Site images featured in the 2003 Tower Site Calendar, coming this fall from Tower Site of the Week and fybush.com.

If you liked last year's edition, you'll love this one: higher-quality images (in addition to Avon Mountain, this year's edition includes Providence's WHJJ; Mount Mansfield, Vermont; Buffalo's WBEN; KOMA in Oklahoma City; the legendary WSM, Nashville; Brookmans Park, England; WPAT, Paterson; Four Times Square, New York; WIBC in Indianapolis and more), more dates in radio history, a convenient hole for hanging - and we'll even make sure all the dates fall on the right days!

This year's calendar will go to press in late October, and if you order now, you'll have yours in hand by mid-November, in plenty of time for the holidays. And this year, you can order with your Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express by using the handy link below!

Better yet, here's an incentive to make your 2003 NERW/Site of the Week subscription pledge a little early: support NERW/fybush.com at the $60 level or higher, and you'll get this lovely calendar for free! How can you go wrong? (Click here to visit our Support page, where you can make your NERW contribution with a major credit card...)

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