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Re: WITS.....man, what station ;) !

At 03:18 PM 4/7/97 +0000, you wrote:
>     First, the worst mistake they evr did was to ditch a 50 year old set
>of call-letters.  First time I heard the call-sign W-I-T-S, I could only
>think of "Witless Radio".  WMEX was a well known call sign in the market
>even through countless format changes over the years.  They should have
>left well enough alone.  Sorry, Pat Whitley.....you blew it there.

Peter: I don't think Whitley was responsible for the WITS calls.

>     Secondly, the transmitter move.  They should have stayed in Squantum.
>The current site is a disaster both in terms of effectiveness and cost
>of operation.  The current owners are paying a disgusting rent every
>month well into the 5 figures.

According to the president of Communicom in a provate communication, the
rent is $15,000/month. So, yes, it's five figures.

>The signal simply SUCKS, period.  I
>find the logic of moving a transmitter site from the best ground system
>in the world (The Atlantic Ocean) to one of the worst areas in the
>country in terms of ground conductivity (Waltham), to be very, very
>S T U P I D.  That move in essence sealed 1510's fate to be nothing but
>a fourth tier (in a market of three) station.  Sure, its' 50,000 watts
>certainly....but it serves the "fishies" in Scandanavia.  When a once
>mighty rocker falls into the abyss of paid religion.....the end is
>inevitable.  IMHO.

Every time I read this it makes my blood boil! Peter: although much of what
you say is absolutely true, THEY COULD NOT HAVE STAYED IN SQUANTUM AND
a grad student at MIT (1956-58), the night signal ON MEMORIAL DRIVE IN
CAMBRIDGE was unacceptable; the splatter from both WKBW and WTOP was BAD.
Then WNLC moved onto the frequency and THEN, the station in Sherbrooke PQ.
Finally, in the early 70s, the State St South complex went up to the west of
the Squantum Site. That was the clincher. The night signal here in Arlington
Heights went from unlistenable to inaudible! At the time, I was working on
Route 1 in Norwood. I can tell you that the same situation existed all
around the west side of 128. People who say that they should have stayed in
Squantum lived in areas that were not affected, like Peabody, which always
got a clean signal over salt water all the way.

But the folks at the station knew they had a problem and they tried many
things. One was beefing up the ground system, which was totally ineffective.
At the time of the grant of the move to Waltham, WITS also had a pending
application to change to DA-3, still from Squantum and still with 50 kW-D/5
kW-N. The CH pattern would have been the old day pattern. The new day
pattern would have improved the signal to the southwest somewhat. This
indicates that they recognized that they even had a problem during the day!

The only answer to their nighttime coverage problem was an increase in night
power. The problem was that they were severely contrained, not just by
geography and available, acceptably zoned land, but by FCC regs, which, back
then, required a 25 mV/m signal over the principal business district of the
COL. Because 1510 is at the high end of the band, where signal strength
drops off rapidly with distance, this forced a location relatively close to
downtown Boston. The need to protect the station in Sherbrooke, roughly 200
miles _due north_ of Boston _forced_ a location in the northern part of the
market. The need to protect WLAC, forced a location in the western part of
the market. Probably the ideal location would have been at the WRKO site in
Burlington. But, on 1510, it would have been necessary to push just about
everything to the southeast to meet the 25 mV/m requirement in the downtown
area. The current day pattern provides decent coverage to the north and east.

I don't recall who owned WRKO back then, but I rather doubt that WRKO would
have entertained the idea of another station sharing their TX site.
Diplexing was much less common in those days. Also, with the exception of
the center tower, WRKO's towers are too tall for use at 1510, so this would
have added another complication. In any event, as I've pointed out in other
posts, a lot of WITS/WSSH/WNRB's problems (I know I've missed at least one
set of calls that the station has used from the Waltham site) stem from
violence done to the ground system subsequent to the original construction
in 1980-81. A four story office building was built ON TOP of the ground
system. and I personally observed some of the ground wires being cut during
installation of the lighting for the parking lot that covers much of the
rest of the ground system!

The bottom line is that although the TX move cost WITS a lot of daytime
coverage, necessitated an expensive interference abatement program, and has
raised the station's ongoing operating expenses, the nighttime coverage IS a
BIG improvement over the old 5 kW night signal. This is true notwithstanding
the station's coverage problems to the north, west, and southwest.

- -------------------------------
Dan Strassberg (Note: Address is CASE SENSITIVE!)
ALL _LOWER_ CASE!!!--> dan.strassberg@worldnet.att.net
(617) 558-4205; Fax (617) 928-4205