Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
We took a somewhat extended mid-season break from this column over the holidays, but we’re back to finish out our look at all the broadcast sites we saw in 2022.
Many, of course, are worthy of entire stories about a single station or a single city – but our camera folder also ends up filling up with “one-off” shots, and so this week we pull a few of those together for you that have nothing in common other than being from the summer of 2022.
Let’s start very close to home, on Rochester’s Pinnacle Hill, where Sinclair’s Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31/RF 28) recently made a big upgrade in its transmitter room. When this space (in a former AT&T Long Lines facility) was built out before the DTV conversion in 2009, it included exactly what most Sinclair sites had: a transmitter made by Sinclair-owned Acrodyne. WUHF eventually added a second cabinet for more power, but after a decade and a half, transmitter technology had improved considerably, which is why this space still has one of the Acrodyne cabinets as a backup, but a sleek (and tiny!) new Rohde & Schwarz liquid-cooled rig as a main transmitter, all ready for whatever transmission needs WUHF might have going into its next decade.
(We also got an updated shot of one of the more potent translators in town: Holy Family Communications’ W225AR on 92.9 runs from a corner of this room, simulcasting the Catholic programming of WHIC 1460.)
Later in the summer, it was time to drop off the eldest child to start her first year in college in New York City, followed the next day by a fun minor-league baseball game, one of the last outings of the Frontier League’s New Jersey Jackals at their longtime home at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University.
The stadium (and the adjacent Yogi Berra museum) are just a few hundred yards from a local tower landmark, the big self-supporter that was built 50 years ago for the New Jersey Network’s then-WNJM-TV (Channel 50). WNJM eventually became WNJN, then sold its valuable UHF spectrum at auction and now operates on a channel-share from the VHF channel 8 transmitter of its sister station WNJB down in New Brunswick. The tower then got a new tenant, multicultural WMBC (Channel 63/RF 18), which moved from its old analog site in the mountains of northwest New Jersey to cover New York City better from this site. And as we were here in mid-August, WMBC was moving its main transmission facility from this tower right into New York City at One World Trade Center, leaving behind its aux here, along with the little single bay of Montclair State’s WMSC (90.3), with just 10 watts from 152 meters up the tower.
Our camera roll from the summer also had a few quick pictures from an otherwise radio-tower-free jaunt to Las Vegas, where we did catch a few pictures while driving around the city and out into the desert.
Las Vegas sprouted several LPFM signals in the last two rounds of applications, most of them off in the decidedly non-touristy parts of town. At some point, maybe when we get bored during NAB week, we’ll drive around and get all of them – but we did catch one, Spanish-language religious KFDG-LP (95.9), behind the Trinity Life Center church a mile or so east of the Strat off St. Louis Avenue.
On the way up to Arizona and Utah, I-15 passes several very tall (1200-foot) towers built in recent decades for Vegas-rimshot signals that are mostly augmented by in-channel boosters in or near the city.
Look east as you approach Moapa, 45 miles or so northeast of Las Vegas, and you’ll see two tall towers off in the hills. The northern one (at left below) carries Univision’s KRRN (92.7 Moapa Valley) and Air 1’s KAER (89.3 Mesquite), while the southern one (at right) carries Kemp’s KVEG (97.5 Mesquite), which plays rhythmic top-40 as “Hot 97.5” from studios just south of the Strip, a long way from the lonely I-15 roadside up here.
Keep going a bit north of Moapa and there’s a 500-foot tower just off the west side of 15, carrying the 14-bay antenna of soft AC KJUL (104.7 Moapa) and below that the six bays of Spanish religious KVID (88.5 Moapa).
And there’s another tower off in the distance, not shown here, that’s home to two more north-of-Vegas rimshots, KADD (93.5 Logandale) and KXLI (94.5 Moapa).
As long as we’re going all random here, what could be less closely related to Las Vegas than Windsor, Ontario? (They do at least both have casinos, I guess…)
On the way back home from Indiana in July 2022, we took the north-of-Lake-Erie route, passing through Detroit and across the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor on the way to an overnight stop in Niagara Falls.
At some point, we need to do a proper Windsor visit to see all the new FMs that have sprouted here in the last few decades, but even the most cursory drive into town offers a nice view of the two bays of CJAM, the University of Windsor’s station right atop one of its buildings close to the bridge. CJAM used to be on 91.5, but found a clearer frequency on 99.1, one of many Windsor stations now nestled on second-adjacent channels to high-powered Detroit FMs (in this case, WDZH 98.7 and WYCD 99.5).
And as for Niagara Falls? Later in the summer, we had a very comprehensive visit to many southern Ontario sites – stay tuned for that in this space in the weeks to come!
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!
And don’t miss a big batch of new IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: where