Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
Chautauqua County, New York is a fascinating place, stretching from vineyards and gritty Dunkirk along the Lake Erie shore on the west, past the artsy charm of the Chautauqua Institution, down to the reviving city of Jamestown at the other. We spent just enough time there last summer with Mike Fitzpatrick of NECRAT.us to show him many of the county’s different faces – but let’s start here with the rest of the Jamestown stations, which we started showing you last week.
As far as commercial radio in Jamestown goes, most of it is now consolidated under the MediaOne banner. We visited MediaOne’s facility on Orchard Road in 2016, and with a weekend looming, there wasn’t anyone around for a new tour this time, so we didn’t get to see the newest station to be added here. In addition to the city’s two AMs, WJTN (1240) and WKSN (1340), as well as their FM counterparts WWSE (93.3) and WHUG (101.9), plus WQFX (103.1 Russell) over the border in Pennsylvania, MediaOne added what had been a competitor, top-40 WKZA (106.9 Lakewood).
The tower for WWSE next to the studios has a new addition, too: the FM antenna for WJTN’s new translator at 101.3, W267CN, now sits under the WWSE antenna, giving WJTN’s mix of local news and AC tunes an FM home.
WHUG is where it’s been for a long time, on a hill east of town just north of the I-86 expressway that connects Jamestown to the world. Just to the south off Horton Road, another tower holds a former LPTV signal and two translators, a 98.7 that relays Calvary Chapel’s WTWT (90.5 Bradford PA) and a 91.9 that’s fed by satellite from Bible Broadcasting’s WYFQ in North Carolina.
More noncommercial signals appeared here in the 1990s and 2000s, starting with WUBJ (88.1), one of two Southern Tier relays of WBFO (88.7), the NPR news station from Buffalo. It’s located north of Jamestown, overlooking Chautauqua Lake from a tower next to a BMX track near Bemus Point. Just to the east on Beck Road, a small tower with a side-mounted directional antenna holds WYRR (88.9 Lakewood), which carries Family Worship Center programming from Louisiana.
Even up here in the hills, you can still get a sense of the separation between Jamestown’s stations and the Dunkirk/Fredonia area, 30 or so miles to the north on the other side of the hills. There’s surprisingly little radio overlap – except for WWSE’s big class B FM, you can’t hear most of the Jamestown stations in Dunkirk, and the same would be true for Dunkirk’s stations into Jamestown except for one little translator.
W262BX (100.3), on top of an old house turned into offices along the busy Route 394 commercial corridor west of downtown Jamestown, picks up country station WBKX (96.5 Fredonia) and provides it with a signal into the city to compete with WHUG.
Which brings us to a note about TV: all of Chautauqua County is in the Buffalo TV market, even though reception from Buffalo’s network affiliates is all via cable in Jamestown. There’s one Jamestown-licensed station we’ve mentioned here tangentially in the past: the old analog channel 26 allocation started in the 1960s at the Orchard Road site that’s now Media One (it was Lowell Paxson’s WNYP), then went dark for years. In the 1990s, channel 26 returned as a Buffalo rimshot, building a tall tower in Arkwright overlooking Lake Erie and the Thruway.
Owner Tri-State Christian TV swapped its bigger Buffalo channel 49 signal to move its WNYB-TV here to Arkwright and the Jamestown channel 26 allotment, which had been sitting dormant under the WTJA calls. TCT later took a payout in the DTV repack to move WNYB from RF channel 27 to RF channel 5, and even if you can’t get the signal from the panel antennas here very well in Buffalo, there are plans for a UHF translator that will fix that.
So what’s actually in Dunkirk and Fredonia down below? We’ll show you those stations next week.
2023 IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK…
The 2023 Tower Site Calendar is in pre-production at the moment. We will be taking early-bird orders very soon!
While you’re waiting, we have some great books about broadcasting in our store.
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And don’t miss a big batch of Jamestown IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: WDOE/WBKX and more of Dunkirk