In this week’s issue… New simulcasts, antenna plans rescue struggling small AMs – VT cluster shuffles management – No new station in Quebec City?

By SCOTT FYBUSH

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*If small-market AM radio is past its heyday, it’s far from dead, at least.

That’s the takeaway from two developments last week in northern NEW JERSEY, where one station was just days away from losing its license and another lost its transmitter site but is hoping to stay alive with a new antenna.

It’s been a year now since former owner John Silliman took WGHT (1500 Pompton Lakes) dark after several decades of fun small-town radio, full of local news and oldies. Silliman donated WGHT to the borough of Pompton Lakes, which had been maintaining strict (you’ll forgive us) radio silence about its plans for the little daytime-only signal. (The borough did at least keep up with the FCC’s filing deadlines to get a translator construction permit, W252ED (98.3), which was granted in May but has not yet made it to air.)

With WGHT’s silent STA set to expire this coming Friday, it wasn’t clear whether the borough would get the signal back on the air – at least until late last week, when listeners to Bud Williamson’s WALL (1340) up in Middletown, New York started to hear promos announcing that WALL was adding a simulcast on 1500 in north Jersey.

WGHT returned to the air Thursday afternoon with the simulcast, which Williamson tells NERW is only temporary.

“The borough has been good to work with,” he says – and word is that at some point, new permanent programming (and perhaps a buyer) will be on the way to WGHT. Will the FM translator, once it’s built, help overcome the limited daytime-only AM signal? (On Thursday, it had to sign off less than an hour after it signed on!)

We’ll be listening…

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