Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
Our annual Indiana visit in August 2019 took us in a new direction – all the way southeast to Louisville, Kentucky. But before we made it to some new corners of the state, we stopped off to revisit a facility we hadn’t seen in a few years.
We’d last been in Columbus, Indiana, an hour southeast of Indianapolis down I-65, back in 2010 – and we were headed the other way then, up into Indy from Cincinnati on a somewhat roundabout route.
When we showed you this building at 825 Washington Street in Columbus back then, it looked much the same on the outside: the big call letters out front announced “WRZQ,” the legal identity of the station on 107.3 that calls itself “QMIX” on the air.
QMIX is still right there with pride of place in the front studio here, looking out on the downstairs lobby at the Reising Radio headquarters, but the studio’s been refreshed since we last saw it, with a new Audioarts board. (Some things don’t change, though – that globe promoting WWW.QMIX.COM has been hanging from the ceiling since the days when the “World Wide Web” was a big deal.)
The studios around the corner behind QMIX have changed up since we were last here: WXCH (102.9) had just launched its “Mojo” oldies format when we visited in 2010, and its studio has been updated since; WYGB (100.3) is still doing country as “KORN Country,” but most of its studio facilities are now up the road in Franklin, closer to Indianapolis, leaving only a small production room down here.
In addition to the commercial Reising Radio Group cluster downstairs, there’s a noncommercial Christian radio group upstairs, Good Shepherd Radio, also run by Keith Reising and family.
Since our last visit, these stations moved down the hall to a bigger studio/office space with adjoining studios for their two services. “The Bridge,” the contemporary Christian network based here at WKJD (90.3), has the studio along the outside wall, with one of the few Nicom Atlantis boards we’ve seen on this side of the Atlantic.
From the Bridge studio, the window looks into the smaller studio of its older sister, gospel WYGS (91.1), “Your Gospel Station,” complete with lots of quirky decorations. (Its morning host is apparently very proud of his hair – and a listener gifted him with that umbrella bedecked with cans of hairspray!)
Before heading south, we actually turn north again on 65, a few exits up toward Edinburgh, Indiana, WYGB’s city of license.
Turning east on Indiana 252 brings us up a hill to the WYGB tower – but this 240′ guyed tower is more interesting than your typical random FM stick in the middle of an Indiana field.
That’s because it sits right alongside the driveway next to the garage at the home of engineer Bob Hawkins, who deliberately bought this piece of land for his house knowing it was on a nice high spot where a tower would provide good coverage between Indianapolis and Columbus.
And if you go in the door to the garage, instead of cars and boats, you’re in a transmitter room!
WYGB’s BE5T is tucked off to the left in a corner, with other rental tenants lined up on the opposite wall.
In addition to cellular and two-way tenants, there’s another broadcaster here: W219DO (91.7) is a translator for what’s now WNAP-FM (88.1 Morristown), which used to be religious WJCF but has shifted to a classic rock format.
Bob has a deck up above the garage that provides an ice shield for the roof, a vantage point for some very nice views of the countryside, and an observation point for the big tower – and for Bob’s shorter tower on the house, where his TV and FM DX rig is set up for easy viewing of Indianapolis and Louisville stations, not to mention lots of much longer DX catches. (Check out his “Recorded FM History” page here!)
Thanks to Keith Maddox and Bob Hawkins for the tours!
We have a great lineup of podcasts here on our site. While you’re catching up with your summer reading, don’t forget about your summer listening. Now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with Top of the Tower.
Our latest one features Donna Halper discussing her life in radio, from her time at WMMS when she helped Rush get US airplay, to what she learned from Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg.
Don’t forget you can still visit our store to check out our other great products. We’ll be taking preorders for the 2021 calendar soon. Stay tuned!
And don’t miss a big batch of southern Indiana IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: Scottsburg, Indiana