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Re: W. New England Radio & TV

At 04:55 AM 4/11/97 +0000, you wrote:
>No, no.  Channel 41 began as WROW-TV, then later became WCDA, with a relay
>in Hagaman (I think) called WCDB on Channel 29.  Later the former WMGT,
>Channel 19, on Mt. Graylock, became WCDC, as it still is.  Sometime after
>1957 (when my family moved back to the Boston area), WCDA-WCDB became WTEN
>on Channel 10.  WCDC on Channel 19 has continued to relay the WTEN
And the original Channel 10 site was a 1350-ft tower in Vail Mills, NY just
south of Sacondaga Reservoir about 35 miles west northwest of downtown
Albany. Remember that WROW (AM and TV) were the first properties of Capital
Cities (hence the company name). The rest, as they say, is history :-)

The original site of Channel 41 (both studios and TX) was in North
Greenbush, south of Troy. WROW-TV's 700 ft tower still stands; it is the TX
site of RPI's student-run WRPI-FM (91.5). With all of the troubles with
reception of early UHF, WROW-TV was not doing well from the N Greenbush
site. The first thing that WROW did was lease the facilities of (then) WMGT
North Adams, now WCDC (originally Channel 74, later--and still--Channel 19).
UHF receivers of the day didn't work well on high channels like 74, but the
station had an excellent location on top of Mt Greylock, the highest point
in MA. The WMGT calls stood for Mount Greylock TV. The move to Channel 19
really helped reception.

Still, WROW-TV was dying, especially in Schenectady. The N Greenbush tower
was 700-ft high, but it was built on land near the Hudson and the land rises
quite steeply to the east and west of the site. Consequently the Channel 41
antenna really didn't overlook Schenectady. Moreover, even without the
reception problems, conversion of TV receivers to UHF was going very slowly.

People kept searching for a way to drop another VHF assignment into the
Capital District. In those days, though, with the exception of stations that
were short-spaced to adjacent-channel stations (new Haven's Channel 8--short
spaced to WABC-TV and WOR-TV was an example), there were no short-spaced
allocations. That is, no TV station was short spaced to a co-channel
station. Hence, when someone at CapCities discovered this little traingle of
land in Vail Mills that was just 170 miles from Rochester, Montreal, and
Providence, there was great Jubilation.

The site had problems, though. The main one was the distance from Albany.
Further, much of Albany's population at the time lived in the valley, which
was shielded from the signal by the higher terrain to the west. So, although
Channel 10 delivered a very good signal to Schenetady, making channel 29 in
Hagaman unnecessary, it didn't help a lot in Albany and Troy. For that
reason Channel 41 remained on the air. Joe Ross mentioned the calls; I think
they were WCDA. And of course, Channel 19 remained to serve the Berkshires
and the area between the Capital District and the Mass line. Anyhow,
eventually, the FCC started to allow TVs that were short-spaced to
co-channel stations, and Channel 10 was able to move to the Heldeberg
Mountains southwest of Albany. This is the area where Channel 6 and most of
the higher powered FMs in the Capital District are located.

One thing I've never learned, though, is whether, when Channel 35 moved to
Channel 13, the VHF station took to the air immediately from its current
site at the old channel 35 site (which is on Bald Mountain notheast of
Troy). Or did Channel 13 have to start out from a site well to the north of
Albany to maintain the 170-mile spacing to Channel 13 in Newark NJ (New York
City)? Such a site, though a few miles further from Albany than Vail Mills,
might actually have worked better, because there is high terrain there that
looks right down into the Hudson Valley, which lies immediately to the south.

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


End of boston-radio-interest-digest V1 #11