Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
By the time the late spring of 2021 rolled around, we were getting more than a little eager to be on the road for anywhere other than upstate New York. It’s not that we don’t love our home turf, but the road was calling, loudly – and so we were eager to meet up with RadioInsight’s Lance Venta and head down through the mid-Atlantic states to spend some time in Virginia, seeing some new sites and sharing them with you… which we’ll do, starting next week.
Along the way, though, we took advantage of some sunny weather to spend an afternoon along the New York-Pennsylvania state line, up in the Catskills and the Lake Wallenpaupack region of northeast Pennsylvania.
Commercial radio around “Lake Wally” is entirely in the hands of Bold Gold, a regional chain that stretches from the Scranton market into the Catskills, and it’s mostly on one tower near Beach Lake, east of Honesdale. Here’s where we find WDNH (95.3 Honesdale), WYCY (105.3 Hawley) and W282BF (104.3), one of several translators for Bold Gold’s “Wayne Pike News Radio,” WPSN (1590 Honesdale).
Up on a steep hill overlooking Lake Wallenpaupack (and it’s a lovely view, indeed), a drive through a resort home community brings us to a county-owned tower site that’s home to several smaller FMs that are part of larger networks. WPAU (91.5 Palmyra Township) is the one-bay antenna on the left side of the tower, relaying public radio WVIA from Scranton, while WBYH (89.1 Hawley), on the two-bay antenna on the right, is part of the huge “Word FM” Christian network that stretches across much of eastern Pennsylvania. (There’s also another WPSN translator up here, on 102.5.)
Back across the state line we go, to visit two sites belonging to public radio WJFF (90.5 Jeffersonville). These nice folks (who also happen to be Fybush Media clients) are in the midst of moving their studios, which have been located for many years just off Route 52 east of Jeffersonville, in a little house right on the banks of Callicoon Creek near a hydropower dam.
We couldn’t get inside, alas, because of COVID protocols – but we’ll get back there for sure in the next few months before WJFF moves eastward down Route 52 closer to Liberty, where it’s moving to a larger space in what used to be a farm store just downhill from its current transmitter site.
We were able to get inside this building to snap some “before” shots of the big empty space before it gets divided up into an air studio, production room, office space and a sizable open community room that can be used for live performances and meetings.
Looking up the hill from the side of the new WJFF building (there’s also a big lawn where they can do outdoor performances in nice weather, and a second building being used for storage), we can see up to the hill where WJFF recently moved its antenna. This site is also home to WGWR (88.1 Liberty), part of the regional Sound of Life network.
From here, we continue down Route 52 into Liberty and then down Route 17 to Monticello, where WJFF had a translator, W233AH (94.5), mounted atop a vacant building right along Broadway, the main drag through downtown. That translator has since gone silent (Interested? Give Fybush Media a call!), but you can say you’ve seen it now.
Right along Route 17 on the east side of Monticello, there’s a big tower that’s home to WSUL (98.3), part of Bold Gold’s cluster on the New York side of the line. We’d seen it for years driving back and forth on the highway, but had never traveled up the steep side streets that lead to the hilltop site and the cluster of prefab enclosures at its base.
And with some daylight still remaining and no huge hurry to get to our overnight stop outside New York City, we make our way south out of Monticello on Route 42 and then 97, the roads that end up hugging the Delaware River down into Port Jervis, New York, then continue along the river on US 209 for a few more miles into the pretty tourist town of Milford, Pennsylvania.
Without having planned it this way, we end up in Milford almost exactly on the tenth anniversary of the town’s first and only radio station – it was in May 2011 that Bud Williamson added what’s now WYNY (1450) to his ownership group, which also includes WDLC (1490) in Port Jervis and WABD (96.7) down the river in Lehman Township.
WYNY operates from the Port Jervis studios, so all that’s here on this skinny tower east of downtown is the AM station and an 88.1 translator that formerly relayed Bud’s jazz network, WJZZ (88.1 Montgomery NY). There is an FM translator on 106.9 for WYNY’s “Lite” AC format, but it’s at a separate site uphill closer to I-84.
Thanks to the staff of WJFF for the tours!
The Tower Site Calendar is nearly sold out.
We have only a few copies left, and then it’s gone.
If you haven’t ordered yours, now is the time. Click here.
And don’t miss a big batch of Catskills and NE PA IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: On the road to Virginia