Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
CALENDARS ON CLEARANCE
If you don’t have your 2023 Tower Site Calendar yet, now is the perfect time to get it. Because we have lowered the price to just $14.
The calendar has great photos of broadcast sites near and far (everywhere from Navajo Nation on the cover to Boston to Toronto to Texas, and beyond), plus a lovely “centerfold” you can keep on your wall for 2024.
It’s still shipping regularly, and you can have yours in just a couple of days!
Order your copy and you’ll see what we mean.
If you have already ordered your calendar, make sure you check out the other items in the store, too!
After our big visits in Boston last fall, we still had a few more sites to see on the way home, including a quick spin around the tower farm west of Boston in Newton and Needham.
We didn’t get in to any of these sites this time around, but we had a nice opportunity to get some close-up shots of the current antenna configurations on two of the big towers.
We’ll always call the site above the Sheraton Needham hotel the “candelabra” tower, even though the arms of the three-tined candelabra that used to carry three analog UHF stations (WFXT 25, WSBK 38 and WLVI 56) are long gone after the digital transition.
These days, there’s a VHF channel 5 antenna at the top for WGBH (virtual channel 2), with a UHF master antenna below that for WFXT, which also serves as an auxiliary for WBZ, WCVB and WGBX. (We saw this site from the inside a few years ago.)
There’s an FM aux site here too, serving what were once the CBS Radio-owned stations, now shared by several owners: Audacy’s WBGB (103.3) and WWBX (104.1), iHeart’s WZLX (100.7) and Beasley’s WBZ-FM (98.5).
And we get a good shot from here at the “FM128” tower nearby in Newton Upper Falls, longtime home of WJMN (94.5), WBZ-FM and WBGB as well as several auxes.
We also took the opportunity while in Needham to take a drive past the newest TV facility in town, the “NBC Universal Boston Media Center” that had recently opened as the home of NBC’s WBTS (“NBC 10”), Telemundo’s WNEU (Channel 60), New England Cable News and NBC Sports Boston. We’ll get back there soon, we hope, for the inside tour…
While that was our last stop in Boston, it wasn’t our last stop in Massachusetts: on the way back to retrieve the car we’d left in the Springfield area, we stopped half an hour to the east in the town of Palmer to make a long-overdue visit to one of our favorite small-town stations.
WARE (1250) is, of course, one of the answers to the trivia question “what stations have the same call letters as their city of license?,” because it’s licensed to the nearby community of Ware, Massachusetts.
(The others? WACO in Waco, Texas and WISE in Wise, Virginia, though both have the -FM suffix added.)
So where’s WARE? In two rooms of a 1910-vintage school building that’s been turned into offices – and while we didn’t find general manager Marshall Sanft (aka “Bruce Marshall”) in the business office on one side of the hallway, we soon found him behind the unmarked door across the hall where WARE’s studio lives.
WARE does a great oldies format, now heard everywhere from Worcester to Springfield not only on its original 1250 AM signal but also on a big 97.7 translator signal – and it’s a tribute to Marshall’s hard work as a second-generation broadcaster that he keeps it all flying high. (One of these days, we’ll get back out there and see the transmitters, too…)
And don’t miss a big batch of western Massachusetts IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: iHeart’s old studios, Cleveland