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Heldebergs antenna farm
Scott: You asked about WXKW-FM. The FM never went on the air. Eventually, as
you noted, the allocation for 95.5 in Albany became WROW-FM. You mentioned
the current calls, but I didn't take note of them. However, the 95.5
incarnation of WROW-FM was not the first WROW-FM. The original was on 93.9
with, I believe, 800W from a single-bay antenna atop a probably 30'
telephone pole at the old WROW (AM) site in Glenmont.
After Capital Cities bought WROW from the original owner, Harry L Goldman,
the FM license was surrendered to the FCC. Capital Cities was the company
that eventually went on to buy ABC and merge with Disney, but WROW was the
company's _first_ property and the cities to which that famous name referred
were Albany, Schenectady and Troy. That's a piece of broadcasting trivia
that a lot of people should recall, but I believe that _very_ few do. BTW,
Goldman eventually built WEEE Rensselaer (I've lost track of the current
calls) as a 5-kW daytimer on 1300. WEEE was directional from the git-go, but
I doubt that it had six towers until it went full-time.
In any event, after the original WROW-FM went dark, a group of enterprising
students at then campus-limited carrier-current WRPI (AM) had the idea of
getting WRPI on the air as an FM. WEVR at Hudson Valley Tech, then just down
the street from RPI, had gone dark, and Ralph Asher, who was responsible for
preparing the WRPI-FM application, was going to apply for WEVR'as old
frequency, 91.3. I don't know that it was terribly important, but I (by then
an RPI alum studying for an MS at MIT) instructed Ralph to stay as far away
as possible from Channel 6. I suggested that he apply instead for 91.5,
which was the highest channel on the noncommercial band available in the
Capital District, because WFLY was on 92.3.
The students also made it a point to befriend WROW's general manager, Roger
Bauer, a network personality from New York who in earlier, more glorious
days, had originated and regularly appeared on the weekly Mutual network
prime-time stand-up comedy show, "Can You Top This?" It didn't take a lot of
coaxing to get Bauer to sign off on the tax-deductible donation to WRPI of
WROW-FM's old 1-kW GE TX, which was languishing at the Glenmont site. The GE
TX was installed backstage in RPI's 15th St Lounge building, then the home
of the WRPI studios, where I and many others had misspent so much of our
time in college. Another wooden pole about the size of the one that held the
WROW-FM antenna in Glenmont was erected behind the Lounge 15 building and a
single-bay Gates antenna was side-mounted on it. As far as I know, this was
a new antenna, not the one WROW-FM had used.
Several years later, after WROW-TV had moved to Channel 10 in Vail Mills
from Channel 41 at the N Greenbush site, the relationship between WROW and
WRPI came to good use again. WRPI-FM increased its ERP to 10 kW and moved
its antenna to the 700' tower that had previously hosted the WROW-TV antenna
at the N Greenbush site. At one time, that site was also the home of the
offices and studios of WROW AM and TV, though it quite possibly no longer
housed any of WROW's operations when the WRPI-FM TX moved in.
So as someone has said on the radio a time or two, "Now you know the
r-r-r-r-est of the story."
Dan Strassberg, Senior Technical Editor, EDN Magazine, 275 Washington St,
Newton, MA 02458-1630, USA
1-617-558-4205, Fax 1-617-928-4205, ALTERNATE Fax 1-617-558-4470,