November 21-28, 2001
The Big Travelogue: Part Twelve
There's nothing like a good road trip to get a feel for the
state of radio these days. From June 23 until July 7, your editor
(accompanied by Boston Radio Archives creator Garrett Wollman)
hit the road to see what's on - and in - the air across a broad
swath of mid-America.
For the next few installments of Site of the Week, we'll be
recapping the many highlights of what we like to think of as
The Big Trip, 2001 edition. Come along...
here for part one
here for part two
here for part three
here for part four
here for part five
here for part six
here for part seven
here for part eight
here for part nine
here for part ten
here for part eleven
Wednesday, July 4 - Our Independence Day began on the
other side of Missouri, in Kansas City, but it will end along
the Mississippi River in St. Louis, watching the fireworks explode
above the Gateway Arch (or, if you're a stickler, the Jefferson
National Expansion Memorial...)
The sun is already
low in the sky as we approach St. Louis, circling the city to
the north so we can drive over the new Clark Bridge that crosses
the river at Alton, Illinois.
(If you're a fan of PBS' Nova, you might have seen
an excellent installment last year about the construction of
this new cable-stayed bridge.)
In any case, by the time we've checked into our hotel on the
Illinois side and set up the VCRs to capture St. Louis' TV news
offerings, the sun is setting and there's no time to do any more
tower hunting. Instead, we drive into East St. Louis, park the
car near the riverboat casinos and take the train across the
historic Eads Bridge into St. Louis itself for the pyrotechnics,
which are indeed stirring. It takes a few hours to make our way
back to the Illinois side and out to the hotel, leaving us a
short night's sleep before...
Thursday, July 5 - All of St. Louis in one morning?
Not quite, but we'll try, beginning with a drive south along
the Illinois side of the river (on I-255) towards the town of
Dupo, where we stop at the four towers of WRTH (1430), the station
known for most of its long life as WIL.
Along the way towards the river and across to Missouri, we
pass (but somehow fail to see) the night site for KSLG (1380),
the only two-site operation in the St. Louis area. (The day towers
for KSLG are on Chouteau Island, mid-river north of St. Louis.)
the river on I-255, we pass I-55 and exit to Highway 21 south,
where we're soon within sight of the tall tower that's home to
public TV KETC (Channel 9) and country WIL-FM (92.3).
There are a few more tall towers south of here, home to smaller
TV stations such as religious/UPN KNLC (Channel 24) and home-shopping
WHSL (Channel 46), but we head north, instead, to see the major
North of I-270 and a bit east on US 50, we pull into a suburban
cul-de-sac to see the tower site of KTVI (Channel 2), the erstwhile
ABC affiliate that went to Fox as part of that big New World
affiliation switch we mentioned last week in Kansas City. KTVI's
old tower (the one on the left) was apparently not quite up to
the challenge of DTV, so there's a new tall stick right next
door for KTVI-DT (Channel 43).
From KTVI, we head
east on Highway 30 and MacKenzie Road to the next tall tower
on the agenda, the Channel 4 tower built years ago by CBS when
that station was still a network O&O as KMOX-TV. Today, Channel
4 is known as KMOV and owned by Belo, but it's still on this
Also here is the
former KMOX-FM (103.3), now oldies KLOU, and WB affiliate KPLR
(Channel 11), though that station holds a CP to move to the KETC
site for both DTV and analog service.
We follow MacKenzie north again to Heege Road, where a golf
course crosses the front lawn of the old Pulitzer station, KSD-TV
(Channel 5), now KSDK and owned by Gannett, though still an NBC
KSD(FM) on 93.7 still uses this stick as well, though it's
owned by Clear Channel these days along with KLOU. (Confused
At the top of the page, you saw the "Crestwood FM Tower,"
another site very close to the KSDK tower. This community FM
tower is home to KSIV-FM (91.5), KSHE (94.7), KIHT (96.3), KYKY
(98.1), KFUO-FM (99.1), KEZK-FM (102.5), KMJM-FM (104.9), WKKX
(106.5) and KSLZ (107.7) - and, as J.T. Anderton has pointed
out, is the only place you'll find stations in classes C, C1,
C2 and C3 all on a single tower!
Just beyond the Crestwood
tower to the north, we see the tower of what's now the ABC affiliate
for St. Louis, former independent KDNL-TV (Channel 30).
From here, we turn
our attention from transmitters to studios, heading east across
the River Des Peres and then north on Hampton Avenue to the little
row house that's home to WEW (770), a little station that's been
chugging along since the early twenties, never adding night power
or increasing its day signal beyond a thousand watts.
A few blocks north across I-44, we pass a building that's
now home to the American Red Cross but was home to KMOX radio
back in the fifties and sixties, and around the corner on Berthold
Avenue, we come to the studios of KTVI, just a short distance
from Forest Park.
Religious KFUO (850
Clayton) operates from a single stick near the Fontbonne College
campus on the west side of the park, but we can't find a good
view to photograph, so we head east on Lindell Boulevard, across
the north side of the park, to see the studios of KPLR.
Those, as you can see, are in one of the upscale apartment
buildings that line the park's edges in this leafy neighborhood;
we wonder if any of KPLR's talent take advantage of the short
commute and live right there?
Now we're pointed towards downtown, for a quick visit at the
KSD/KLOU studios in a renovated older office building on Pine
Walker, a longtime NorthEast Radio Watch reader and former New
England radio guy, is the PD here (though, as we visit, we find
out he's about to head out to a new management position in Oregon);
he's taken the day off, but he's arranged a tour for us.
You don't see a jock in the KSD studio - it's voice-tracked
on this Thursday midday! (There is a live jock down the hall
in the identical KLOU studio, though.)
This building is just a block away from Union Station, where
rocker KSHE (94.7) has had its studio for quite a while;
we'd stop and visit, but time is short, and we need to see the
stations in the heart of downtown St. Louis.
KDNL, along with
Sinclair sister stations KFTK (97.1 Florissant) and WVRV (101.1
East St. Louis), operates from a building at 1215 Cole Street
that was home to KMOX-TV in the fifties and sixties.
We're reasonably certain that the tall tower out back, not
currently in use by any St. Louis broadcaster, was the original
KMOX-TV site before that new tall tower down south was built.
A few blocks south, KSDK operates from a building at 10th
and Market Streets (officially, 1000 Market St.)
From 10th and Washington, just north of KSDK, it's a clear
view east to the Gateway Arch and the river - and just across
I-70 from the arch, the tower at One Memorial Drive that became
home to the KMOX stations in the seventies.
Even though the
stations have been under separate ownership since CBS sold the
TV outlet (ironically enough, to its future purchaser, Viacom)
in the early eighties, they continue to share this facility at
the edge of the Mississippi.
From here, we'll cross the Big River for the final time this
trip, but you'll have to wait until next week's installment to
see the amazing cluster of AM sites that await us on the Illinois
side of the river as the Big Trip rolls towards its finale.
Meanwhile...you can still enjoy the Big Trip's lovely
KFAB view and eleven more favorites from Tower Site of the Week
all year long, if you order the Tower Site 2002 Calendar!
This full-color, 8.5-by-11 inch, glossy calendar features
a dozen exciting tower images, and it can be on your wall for
just $15, postpaid! (NY residents include sales tax; US$20 postpaid
You can have yours for the holidays - and our ordering deadline
has been extended, so it's not too late to send your check or
money order, payable to Scott Fybush (that's me), to 92
Bonnie Brae Ave., Rochester NY 14618.
Your purchase of
a calendar helps keep Site of the Week coming all year round...thank