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Saturday morning found us touring Clear Channel's Lima operations:
news-talk WIMA (1150), country WIMT (102.1), "Mix" WMLX (103.3
St. Mary's), and oldies WBUK (107.5 Fort Shawnee), all squeezed into
the WIMA/WIMT studio building downtown. The nice folks there also
took the club for tours of the WIMA and WIMT transmitters south of
The rest of the afternoon was spent north and east of Lima. Findlay
provided locally-owned WFIN (1330) and WKXA (100.5), as well as
another Clear Channel cluster: "Buckeye Country" WCKY (103.7 Tiffin),
rock "Eagle" WQTL (106.3 Ottawa), and oldies "Majic" WIMJ (107.7 North
Baltimore). The Buckeye and Majic formats are Clear Channel
voicetracked, supplied from central studios in Columbus, Cleveland,
and other big cities to smaller stations statewide (in fact, the WIMJ
jocks are those of Cleveland's WMJI!)
Down the road in Upper Sandusky, we found locally-owned WYAN (95.9)
and religious WXML (90.1), then headed to Marion, which is another
Clear Channel town. In addition to Buckeye Country on WMRN-FM (106.9)
and "Mix" on WDIF (94.3), there was local AC, of all things, on WMRN
(1490), from a nice brick building on the north side of town.
Two more stops on the way back to Lima: AC WKTN (95.3) on the side of
Route 309 near Kenton, and Ohio Northern University's WONB (94.9), a
commercial station on the college campus in Ada -- the only tower
we've ever seen topped by a U.S. flag!
Saturday night brought the NRC banquet and auction, more fun with
"WNRC" AM & FM, and the usual late hours talking radio, sharing
photos, and trading stories.
Sunday took us towards Columbus, with stops en route at locally-owned
WBLL (1390) and WPKO (98.3) in Bellefontaine, the WUCO studios in
downtown Marysville, and the side of US 33 halfway from Marysville to
Columbus, where the Marysville-licensed WZAZ (105.7) rimshots Columbus
as "105.7 the Fox."
In Columbus itself, we found an unusually interesting city to tower
hunt, simply because there seems to be a lot of history still standing
We started on Olentangy River Road, near the Ohio State campus, at the
studios of NBC O&O WCMH (Channel 4). This was once part of the WLW
family, as WLW-C, and out back stands what appears to be the original
Just down the road and behind a cemetery sat a mystery we still
haven't solved: a well-maintained guyed tower with a batwing antenna
on top and the backup antenna for WOSU-FM (89.7) on the side. The
original site of channels 6 or 10, perhaps? We don't know...
A block or so south, we found the OSU conference center that's also
home to the WOSU stations: news, talk, jazz, and folk on AM 820,
classical on FM 89.7, and public TV on channel 34.
WOSU(AM) was once a daytimer, and the daytime site is a single tower
on the OSU golf course a couple of miles away. There was nobody at
the building that doubles as the transmitter shack and maintenance
shed, but peering through the window we clearly saw an old RCA
transmitter with a custom "WOSU" logo in place of the circular RCA
Along the river west of downtown, we found a row of studios, starting
with WMNI (920), WCOL (92.3), and WFII (1230) at 1458 Dublin Road,
continuing with WTVN (610) and its Clear Channel sisters at 1301, then
with the former WTVN-TV 6, now WSYX-TV and its duopoly partner,
WTTE-TV 28, next door, and winding up with Paramount's UPN station,
WWHO 53 (licensed to Chillicothe). Around the corner on Twin Rivers
Drive, we saw the studios of WBNS-TV (Channel 10) and the Ohio News
Network (in an attached set of trailers!) and the towers that sit
behind. An old self-supporter for WBNS-TV seems to have been
supplanted by a candelabra that carries channel 10, channel 4, and
most of the city's big FMs.
Skirting downtown still, we stayed on the west side of the Scioto
River to see the single stick shared by WRFD (880) and WFII, then the
tall tower of WSYX-TV (as well as WOSU-FM and Christian contemporary
We chased the sunset south of town, checking out the five towers of
WMNI (with the old WCOL antenna on the tall tower #1), the six-tower
night site of WOSU(AM), and ending up at the six towers of WTVN (610),
which apparently hasn't yet built its new 50-kilowatt site some 35
miles south of Columbus near Chillicothe.
Listening to the folk show on AM 820, we heard numerous mentions of
the sunset site change, then heard the change itself from a spot
southwest of Columbus as the solid daytime 5kw gave way to the very
directional 790-watt night signal.
Labor Day morning itself began north of Columbus, at the tall tower
that was built for WOSU-TV and now also holds WTTE (Channel 28) and
Westerville's WEGE (103.9). We saw the old WTTE studios near
Westerville, then headed for downtown.
WNCI (97.9) was owned for years by Nationwide Insurance, and its
transmitter still sits atop One Nationwide Center (though the studios
inside the building were traded off to WLVQ (96.3) in a big
Jacor/Infinity swap some years back.)
Parked outside the Ohio Statehouse, we could see the Art Deco tower
that's capped by public radio WCBE (90.5), a darned fine AAA station
indeed, as well as the office towers that are home to WCKX (107.5).
And the best came last in Ohio's capital city: the one site on the
east side, WBNS (1460). It's not just the really cool twenties-style
transmitter building, or the two self-supporting towers in the rear of
the array. No, what makes WBNS special is its status as one of the
last half-dozen stations in America using a Blaw-Knox diamond-shaped
tower, in this case complete with WBNS lettering midway up.
Thusly thrilled, we fought our way through I-70 construction
eastbound, passing Zanesville to arrive at Cambridge, one of the
communities we'd skipped on our westbound trip. A whole cluster of
stations operate from a little building on a hill west of town, led
off by WILE (1270), WILE-FM (97.7 Byesville), and WCMJ (96.7), all
operating from the tower out back. We also heard college station WMCO
(90.7 New Concord) from nearby Muskingum College, asking for new DJs
to join the staff.
More construction, more closed roads, another swing through Wheeling,
and we ended up in Weirton, West Virginia, then across the bridge to
Steubenville, Ohio and up the hill to WTOV-TV (Channel 9). Its
commanding mountaintop site is also home to the transmitters of former
sister stations WSTV (1340) and what's now WOGH (103.5), one of
Keymarket's several "Froggy Country" stations in the region. (Both
WTOV, now a sister station to Pittsburgh's WPXI, and WOGH hold CPs to
move to a transmitter site much closer to Pittsburgh itself.) We found
the WSTV/WOGH studios in downtrodden downtown Steubenville, then
pressed north to East Liverpool as the hour grew later.
We saw the tower of WOHI (1490) and WOGF (104.3) behind the trees on
the ridge above the Ohio River west of town, and saw the studios
behind a shopping plaza north of downtown. WOHI is oldies, and WOGF
is another "Froggy."
A quick stop in Youngstown finished the day, as we revisited (in
Garrett's case, visited) the big transmitter sites and heard some of
the changes since our June visit (NERW, 7/14-21/2000). Oldies WBBG
has indeed moved from 93.3 Youngstown to the much weaker 106.1 Niles,
and is now simulcast on WRTK 1540 Niles as well. The former 106.1,
WNCD "The Wolf" is now "CD93 The Wolf" on 93.3. Clear Channel's CHR
"Beat" has indeed moved from 101.9 Hubbard to 95.9 Sharpsville PA,
formerly WTNX, and the 101.9 signal is now simulcasting standards WNIO
(1390 Youngstown). And the talk simulcast on 1330 (WASN Campbell) and
1440 (WRRO Warren) rolled over the top of the hour with no local ID.
On that note, we packed the radios away and settled in for the long,
dark drive up OH 11 to I-90 and home...where we're still going through
the tapes and pictures!
*That's it for another week. See you next weekend, with (we hope)
more actual New England news.
---------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2000 Scott Fybush
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