In this week’s issue… NYC AM finds new home – Alhart steps back – A move on the Vineyard – Stafford out in Toronto – New HD in Canada
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*It’s already been four months since Family Stations flipped the switch to take WFME (1560) in NEW YORK silent following the $51 million sale of its longtime transmitter site in Maspeth, Queens (shown below last year).
At the time, the word we heard from sources in the New York engineering community was that Family had two plans for returning its programming to the airwaves in market #1: the purchase of another license in town, and eventually a rebuilt 1560 at a different location.
With a third of the one-year silent period already having ticked away, there’s been no sign of the rumored station purchase – which may explain why last week, Family filed a request for special temporary authority (STA) to put a limited 1560 signal back on the air at reduced power from a surprising location: a longwire antenna strung from the tower on First Mountain in West Orange, New Jersey that was Family’s New York-market base of operations from the 1960s until 2013, when Family sold what was then WFME (94.7) to Cumulus. (It’s now Audacy’s WNSH, and has a CP to move from West Orange to the East Rutherford tower site of iHeart’s WOR 710.)
Family never actually sold that 200-foot tower on Mount Pleasant Avenue, which is also used by WFMU (91.1) and as an auxiliary site by several other New York FMs. While it’s hardly an ideal spot for an AM station, located in an area with awful ground conductivity, it’s apparently the best option available at the moment to get 1560 back on the air – and so WFME is now proposing to use no more than 12.5 kW day and night into a slanted wire extending from a midpoint on the tower to an ATU on the roof of the transmitter building.
It won’t be a great signal, putting only 1 mV/m over the far reaches of New York City, but it will at least keep the 1560 license alive and keep Family’s programming available to determined listeners in the metro area. Is this Family’s end game? Surely not – and we’ll be following the next steps as Family figures out how to better restore full service, whether it’s on the 1560 license or somewhere else on the dial.
WE’VE LOWERED THE PRICE!
It’s officially summer. Have you still not ordered your Tower Site Calendar?
Good news! You can now purchase it for just $8. You also still have the option of getting it signed for $13, or buying a storage bag for $1.