Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
You’d think after all of these years that there wouldn’t be any transmitter sites within a three-hour drive of home base in upstate New York that I hadn’t seen and documented – but you’d actually be wrong. So when the weather gave me a break last fall, off I went, pulling my intrepid Jetta up and down the hills of New York’s Southern Tier and adjoining parts of Pennsylvania to document some tower sites of stations I’d long heard but never seen.
While WMTT (94.7) is licensed to Tioga, Pennsylvania, it’s been part of the Elmira-Corning, New York radio market since this signal signed on back in 1991 as WPHD. After a very brief few months on 93.3, WPHD shifted to 94.7, and for most of the last two decades it’s been the Twin Tiers’ rock station as “The Met.”
(I say “most” and not all because when Seven Mountains took over here in 2020, it briefly moved WMTT to its 100.9 signal in Elmira, turning 94.7 into part of its “Bigfoot Country” network as WQBF, but WMTT came home a year later in another round of format shuffles.)
These days, 94.7 is a class B1 signal, making its home on a tower up at the top of a hill near Woodhull, off to the southwest of Corning just a few miles from the Pennsylvania border.
Crossing the border and stopping for lunch at a little diner in Elkland, Pennsylvania, our rambles this November day take us to the southern fringe of the extended Elmira-Corning market. Follow Route 14 south out of Elmira, where it’s the north-south main drag, and you’ll come to Troy, Pennsylvania, some 20 miles to the south.
The AM-FM combo here lives in a little white building on Redington Avenue, a block south of Main Street (US 6), home to country “Wiggle” (WHGL 100.3, which is to the south in Canton, where we still need to visit the tower it rebuilt after a tractor accident a few years ago took down a guy wire) and oldies WTZN (1310 Troy).
WTZN’s tower isn’t far away, up on the side of a hill a mile or so to the west on Redington. This was a late addition to the AM dial, signing on only in 1983 as a 500-watt daytimer and later increasing to today’s 1000 watts by day and 72 watts by night.
As for “Wiggle,” it had a translator on Comfort Hill just south of Elmira, but it got swapped off to Seven Mountains and now relays “Bigfoot Country Legends” from WENI (1450) in Corning.
Head back up Route 14 toward Elmira and veer eastward into the hills and you approach the small town of Ridgebury, just south of the state line. There’s a little class A FM signal up here that’s been on the air since the early 1990s under a variety of owners and callsigns, all from a phone pole amidst the farmland up on Tyler Hill Road. Originally WMKB (a sister station to Elmira’s WEHH, then on 1590), this 96.9 signal spent most of the 2000s as a religious outlet, WREQ, then became part of Europa Communications’ small regional cluster, which at one point made it a sister to WMTT.
Why is it using a horizontal-only antenna? Because for a long time, it supported an on-channel booster on 96.9 on Comfort Hill aimed into Elmira, which brought a usable 96.9 signal over that hill and into the “big city.” It was WZKN for a while, simulcasting a sister station on 103.9 in Dushore, WNKZ – and then the two also simulcast as “Yes FM,” WVYS/WDYS, before 96.9 went to Seven Mountains and became WZBF, a simulcast of “Bigfoot” WNBT-FM in Wellsboro.
These days, the Elmira booster is gone (since Seven Mountains has its own separate Elmira “Bigfoot,” WCBF 96.1), but WZBF still has a second 96.9 booster in the other direction, WZBF-FM2 in Towanda, serving the US 6 corridor to the east. (It also feeds a 107.3 translator in Ulster that serves Sayre, southeast of Elmira, with “Bigfoot.”)
Our last stop isn’t far away, and it’s even more closely tied to Elmira: when WCIH (90.3) signed on from this site a few miles south of the state line on Baptist Hill Road just west of Route 14 near Snedekerville in 1989, it was licensed to Elmira and was one of the first signal expansions for Family Life Ministries beyond its original home base in Bath, New York, long before that group began peppering the region with dozens of full-power and translator signals. (We’ll see more of those before long.)
WCIH changed community of license to Ridgebury in 2018 but stayed put at this site (it was part of a deal with the then-licensee of Ridgebury’s 96.9, which paid for the community of license change with a translator license, though whatever it had planned for a move of 96.9 never panned out.)
In early 2023, 90.3 here changed calls to WCDN-FM when the WCIH calls moved north after Family Life bought the former WLVY (94.3).
And that brings us up to date with what’s south of Corning and Elmira for now – but stay tuned for more sights and sites along that US 6 corridor heading over toward Scranton…
WE’VE LOWERED THE PRICE!
It’s officially summer. Have you still not ordered your Tower Site Calendar?
Good news! You can now purchase it for just $8. You also still have the option of getting it signed for $13, or buying a storage bag for $1.
And don’t miss a big batch of Pennsylvania IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: Lighting a Tower in Scranton