North East RadioWatch: February 19, 2001

WBUR and Lydon - A Missed "Connection"?

by Scott Fybush

This issue of NERW reaches you a day or so later than usual because we've been on the road...and what a trip it was!

Our first few days were occupied largely by non-radio endeavors, but we did get a chance to see a few sites around Philadelphia that were new to us. Thanks to Mega Communications' Bill Sullivan for an interesting visit to the rebuilt sites of WSSJ (1310 Camden NJ) and WEMG (900 Philadelphia); we'll feature those as Sites of the Week on sometime soon. We also managed to get up to the far northwestern reaches of Philadelphia to see the WJJZ (106.1) tower, a big self-supporter that was the original home of one of the big Philly TV stations -- but now we've forgotten whether it was channel 3 or channel 6.

Wednesday found us making our way north up the Jersey Shore, starting at the new 1000+ foot stick in Tuckerton that carries Telemundo affiliate WWSI (Channel 62) to Philadelphia, moving north through Ocean and Monmouth Counties, and ending up at the brand-new home of WJLK (94.3) and WADB (1310) Asbury Park, adjacent to the Seaview Square mall where the stations used to be.

Thursday brought us to the heart of Manhattan and a visit to Clear Channel's new auxiliary FM site at 4 Times Square and its transmitters at the Empire State Building -- and you may rest assured that those will be prominently featured as Sites of the Week very soon (many thanks to John Lyons of WAXQ for playing tour guide for us!)

After a quick stop on Staten Island to see the WSIA (88.9) tower now that they're back on the air (and to drive the block or two that part-15 "WHPW" 1690 covers from its building on Tompkins Avenue), it was off to Brooklyn (where the guards at Kingsborough Community College didn't want us taking a picture of WKRB 90.9, public property or not) and then to Long Island, where in the course of a day and a half we saw nearly every stick on the Island.

That includes, of course, the legendary WLNG (92.1 Sag Harbor), where GM Paul Sidney, midday jock Brian Bannon and the rest of the crew showed us all the carts (yes, carts), jingles, bells and such that makes the station such an entertaining throwback to an earlier, more innocent day of broadcasting. That, too, will be a Site of the Week soon -- and we'll also try to show you the new tower of WRIV in Riverhead, the strange H-shaped tower that holds WBAZ (101.7 Southold), the tall TV sticks of WHSI (Channel 67) and WLNY (Channel 55), and so much, so much more.

We left Long Island by way of Maspeth, Queens and the four towers of WQEW (1560), which hide behind a warehouse on Grand Avenue. We made a return visit of sorts to City Island and WCBS/WFAN, so expect that Site of the Week to be updated soon, and we even got to see a few Connecticut sites once we'd fought our way through city traffic -- including W203BB (88.5 Norwalk), that very directional KAWZ translator that somehow wedged itself into the little space that doesn't really exist between WEDW-FM Stamford and WVOF Fairfield on the same channel. (Thanks, Dennis and John, for playing tour guides!)

The final day of the trip took us to some little AM sites: WLNA (1420 Peekskill), just down the hill from the former studios of WLNA and WHUD (100.7), which seem to have moved in with sister stations WBNR/WSPK in new digs on Route 52 in Fishkill. We went east to the single stick of WPUT (1510 Brewster), above the railroad station there, and then west to Cornwall, where we could just barely see the single unpainted stick of WWLE (1170) behind a house on a little private road south of Route 94.

And then, just four sites short of being able to say we'd seen EVERY AM site in the Empire State, we tried to find WGNY Newburgh. It wasn't at the "old" 1220 site just north of the studios on Little Britain Road. Next we tried to find it at the site where it apparently moved when it went to 1200, off County Road 23 between routes 17K and 52 north and west of town. The signal was good and strong, especially as we drove Racquet Drive just off CR 23 -- but the towers? We never saw them. Anyone know where WGNY can be found? We'd love to know!

And from there, instead of going north to Kingston and checking two more sets of calls off the list (sorry, WKNY and WGHQ; we'll be back!), we headed for home, aided by the entertaining sounds of Dead Air on WKPQ (105.3 Hornell).

More pictures to come on Site of the Week...we promise! (or is that a threat?)

One more thing before we go: NERW needs some help from all you good folks out there. For several years, we've taken care of our blank-tape needs for all our airchecking (and we're talking 400-500 tapes a year!) at a certain Massachusetts-based warehouse club, where we could get 16-packs of Maxell UR90s at a reasonable price, complete with cardboard trays in which we could store the tapes.

Now that certain two-letter warehouse club has switched to another brand of tape, without the trays and in those silly slim-line cases that don't store easily...and NERW needs another way to get case-quantities of Maxell UR90s. Anyone who can point us to a suitable wholesaler or similar source will have our gratitude.

And speaking of airchecking, your editor needs engineering assistance! The Aiwa walkman-style recorders that we use to tape stations while we travel are showing their age, and one of them is significantly broken. A generous reader donated a parts unit -- but now it's time for these units to go into the shop for a thorough cleaning, overhaul, and in the case of the broken one and the parts unit, a complete rebuild.

If you have the skills to work on these little units, and would be willing to do so at a reasonable rate (or even as an in-kind donation to NERW), or if you can suggest a reputable place to take them for repair, please drop your editor a line -- I'd be grateful! (Aiwa stopped making units of this quality a few years back, and the new ones they make just don't fulfill NERW's needs...)

And that's it for another week here at NERW. We'll be back on our regular schedule next Monday; see you then!

As of market close, February 23, 2001
NERW's Northeast Television Index 93.55

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