Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
In a normal summer, we’re on the road for three or four weeks total, visiting far-flung places, seeing lots of people, visiting lots of sites and probably seeing lots of baseball, too.
The summer of 2020 was far from a normal summer, of course. We didn’t go very far and hardly saw anyone, but there was at least some solo driving, which resulted in a handful of pictures that might ordinarily have been saved for longer updates – but we don’t have a lot of longer updates, and so we’re presenting some summer miscellany here, with a promise of more focused columns again starting next week.
We’ve shown you WGY (810) in Schenectady, New York before (here’s our full tour from 2007), and we’ve driven by it a few times every year since, always admiring the call letters on the big Blaw-Knox tower right where the Thruway meets I-88. But at dusk on a perfect summer night? How could we not pull off (briefly!) for a shot of the big tower against the sunset? (You’ll see this one in Tower Site Calendar 2022, for sure, marking WGY’s centennial.)
The longest drive we took last summer was down to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where we were able to stay socially distant while showing the kids around the battlefield.
But on a nice day with a late sunset, could we resist the chance to get a tower picture or three on the way home? Of course not – and so we headed out of town on the old road north, now Business Route 15/Old Harrisburg Road, to go past the local AM station, WGET (1320).
WGET is now part of Forever Media’s larger cluster serving greater York, with studios based over in Hanover at sister station WHVR (1280)’s longtime studio/transmitter complex on Radio Road. (It and WHVR share a similar classic hits format as “Happy 93.7/1320” and “Happy 95.3/1280.”)
The old studio building here in Gettysburg that once held WGET and its FM partner, WGTY (107.7), is now leased out for other businesses, so it’s just the tower site out back that’s still used by WGET. The day pattern uses two of the three AM towers, while all three are used at night; the translator (W229DK) sits on the other tower at the site, right next to the back of the neighboring shopping center.
The other long drive we took last summer was tied in to the visits you’ll see on this page in the next few weeks; before we had a long day seeing sites in and around New York City, we took a drive down the Garden State Parkway that was mostly about listening to signals and less about stopping at towers.
But when a tower was right there near the spot where we turned around to head back north, we weren’t going to leave without a couple of pictures – and so here’s the American Tower site off Exit 63 near Manahawkin. It’s home to a bunch of non-broadcast tenants, but also to WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres), with its two-bay antenna near the top. There’s a three-bay antenna a couple of levels below that, for translator W265CS (100.9), relaying the “Praise FM” network from Cape May’s WJPG via an HD subchannel of WSJO (104.9) – and somewhere lower down, there’s an antenna here for WVBH (88.3 Beach Haven West), a little 100-watt signal that rebroadcasts “Reach Gospel Radio” from WXHL in Delaware.
The 2022 Tower Site Calendar is coming soon, and it’s going to make a big splash!
Actually a big boom.
This year’s calendar will focus on the 100th anniversary of America’s radio boom, when the industry really took off and stations erupted all over the country.
More details and ordering information coming soon!
And don’t miss a big batch of new IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: WFME 1560, New York