Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
In amidst the "Big Trips" we do once a year or so (such as our recently-concluded swing through Minnesota and the Dakotas), our travels take us through some smaller markets for some much briefer visits fairly frequently.
Take, for instance, Glens Falls, New York, a small city at the edge of the Adirondacks about 50 miles north of Albany. It had been a few years since our last Glens Falls visit when circumstances (specifically, the drive home from a New York State Broadcasters Association conference) found us passing through with a couple of hours to spare in June 2011. And that gave us the chance to do some quick catching up, and to share the results with you.
We start up in Queensbury, the suburb to the north of Glens Falls, at the facility on Everts Avenue that's home to the studios of Pamal's WMML (1230 Glens Falls), WENU (1410 South Glens Falls), WNYQ (101.7 Hudson Falls) and WFFG (107.1 Hudson Falls).
We didn't get a tour, but we did get a shot of the tower out back shared by both AMs - and it's a good thing we did, because that skinny AM tower was dismantled a few months later. After several months of AM silence, both AMs returned in mid-2012 from a beefier tower at the same site that's also home to a Verizon Wireless installation...and yes, we're looking forward to going back for an updated image.
Heading downtown - and downtown Glens Falls is a pretty happening place as small upstate New York cities go - we look across US 9 (Glen Avenue) and up to the building that's home to the antenna of Adirondack Community College's little class D outlet, WGFR (92.1 Glens Falls). But we're not here for the east side of the street - we're here for the west side, which is where we find the storefront studio of Glens Falls' other radio outpost, Regional Radio Group's three-station cluster of talk WWSC (1450 Glens Falls), top-40 WCQL (95.9 Queensbury) and classic hits WCKM (98.5 Lake George).
Or rather: this was the home of Regional Radio Group's cluster, and that's why we made it a point to stop in for the nickel tour before these stations relocated to a new home on Bay Road in Queensbury, almost backing right up to the Pamal facility one block over on Everts Avenue. (I guess that makes the area the new "Radio Row" for Glens Falls and vicinity...)
This is - or rather was - a very compact and straightforward facility: the two windows facing the street look into cozy, carpeted studios for WWSC and WCKM, which face the studio for WCQL toward the back of the building. While WWSC runs mostly off the bird outside of morning drive and some local sports at night, it's all local on the two FM signals, albeit with the assistance of some voicetracking.
I believe the sales offices were deeper back in the building, or perhaps upstairs; in any event, it was the studios I was most interested in getting a quick look at, and now you can say you saw them before they were all gone, too.
And speaking of "before they were all gone," there's one more site we can show you to close out this installment. It's not the WWSC tower, which is a very short Valcom whip antenna tucked back behind a row of houses on the street known simply as "Boulevard" east of downtown Glens Falls, and which we couldn't get a clear enough view to photograph.
Instead, we leave you in South Glens Falls, alongside I-87, where the former tower for AM 1410 still stands out on Big Boom Road near a bend in the Hudson River, more than a decade after the former WSTL began diplexing with AM 1230 up in Queensbury. (In fact, 1410 briefly took 1230's longtime callsign of WBZA in 1998 before flipping to its present calls of WENU two years later, when the WENU calls left the FM dial.)
Thanks to the nice folks at WCQL/WCKM/WWSC, especially WCQL afternoon guy John Pratt, for the tour!
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Next week: Pamal Albany, 2011