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Re: W. New England Radio & TV

On Fri, 11 Apr 1997, Dan Strassberg wrote:

> 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 :-)

I'm not sure when they were Capital Cities.  At the time I lived in
Albany, the name was "Hudson Valley Broadcasting" and that's how they used
to answer their phone.  I also remember that name being used in the
newspaper item about Channel 19 coming back as part of the Channel 41-29
> 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.

Actually, the first thing they did was get Channel 29.  That came first. 
Meanwhile, a storm blew down the tower on Mount Greylock, throwing WMGT
off the air.  When it came back, it was as WCDC, after the start of the
WCDA-WCDB combination. 

> Moreover, even without the
> reception problems, conversion of TV receivers to UHF was going very slowly.

That I would dispute.  I was acutely aware, back in 5th and 6th grade,
that I seemed to be the only one who couldn't watch Disneyland and Mickey
Mouse Club because everyone else could get Channel 41.  My parents
wouldn't get a new TV set while this one still worked and wouldn't get a
UHF converter because this TV set was old and we would need a new one

> 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.

I remember a newspaper article about Channel 10 being assigned to Vail
Mills, but at the time it was unclear who would get the channel.  There
was also an FCC proposal to make the Capital District all UHF (I think it
was called "De-intermixture.") by moving WRGB to Channel 47 and shifting
the Channel 6 allocation to Syracuse.  
> 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. 

Well, this was after I had left the area, but I remember a letter from a
friend there who referred to channels 6, 10, and 35.  

> 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.

I think I remember seeing a White's Radio Log which listed both Channel 13
and Channel 35 in ALbany.  But White's Radio Log was not always an
accurate reference.

  A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                                          617/367-0468
  15 Court Square                                       lawyer@world.std.com
  Boston, MA 02108-2573                        http://world.std.com/~lawyer/