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Saturday dawned much colder, with the forecast for Flagstaff calling
for, yes, snow. But a plan's a plan, so we awoke far too early and
headed north on Cave Creek Road out of Phoenix, past the site shared
by KFNN (1510 Mesa) and KCTK (960 Phoenix), up to Carefree Highway
(which would make a good name for a Gordon Lightfoot tune, wouldn't
it) and the KFNX (1100 Cave Creek) towers, and from there to I-17 and
two hours north to Flagstaff.
On the way up, we checked out some of the sounds from the Prescott
market, particularly KAHM (102.1), one of the last beautiful music
stations in America. "Calm" was doing live news and weather, and still
calling for a chilly day up in Flagstaff.
Sure enough, by the time we got there it was 31 degrees and the snow
was falling (in Arizona! in late April! What the...?), but we
dutifully made the rounds, stopping on the east side of town for the
studios of KNAZ-TV (Channel 2) and the studio/transmitter of KVNA
(600), part of a combo with AC KVNA-FM (97.5) and rocker KZGL (95.9
Cottonwood). A small studio building on Route 66 downtown accounted
for another cluster, oldies KWMX (96.7 Williams), country "Kolt" KSED
(107.5 Sedona) and AAA-ish KFLX (105.1 Kachina Village), while another
studio facility on 66 west of town was home to country KAFF (930) and
KAFF-FM (92.9). The KAFF(AM) tower was just north of 66 nearby, while
most of the FMs and TVs are on Mormon Mountain, 30 miles or so south
Heading west on old 66 and new I-40, we arrived in Williams, one of
the "classic" route 66 towns. The tower of KYET (1180) was easy enough
to find, in the city fairgrounds east of downtown, but it might not be
there anymore. The station was apparently feuding with the city over
its lease on the land, and was slated to go dark April 30 unless the
issue was resolved. On the air, KYET was running announcements asking
listeners to call the city council and ask them to save their "local"
station - which would carry more weight if KYET's studios weren't
hours away in Kingman!
Go north an hour from Williams on Arizona 64 and US 180 and you'll
arrive at the Grand Canyon, and that's just what we did, after a quick
stop behind a motel in Tusayan (10 miles south of the canyon) to find
the antenna for KSGC (92.1 Tusayan), the local radio station at the
Canyon. While we were there, we noticed a very strong KSGC signal on
92.5 as well, though it faded rapidly as we drove away. Could KSGC be
doing its studio-transmitter link in plain sight like that? We've seen
it done like that elsewhere, so we wouldn't be surprised.
As for the world's most famous hole in the ground: we never saw
it. No, really: not only was the wind blowing and the snow snowing,
there was so little visibility that we could barely see below the
South Rim, much less all the way down to the canyon floor. And so it
was that we set out to the east...only to have the snow stop and the
sky clear just as we passed the "Leaving National Park" sign.
Fortunately, the view along the canyon east of the park was still
plenty spectacular, and the radio became somewhat more interesting as
we turned on to US 89 north heading towards Page. KGHR, 91.5 out of
Tuba City, is a Navajo-run rock station (really), while KTBA 1050 is
In Page itself, a small town overlooking Lake Powell at the northern
edge of Arizona, KPGE 1340 was doing satellite oldies, while KXAZ 93.3
was satellite rock. Crossing over the Glen Canyon Dam and entering
Utah, we switched over to KONY (101.1) from Kanab as we drove through
the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through Kanab itself,
and over towards Zion National Park along Utah 9.
If you take nothing else away from this travelogue, please remember
these two things: first, you've got to visit Zion National Park
someday. Even in our limited time there (the hours just approaching
sunset on this very long Saturday), we were awed by the drive down the
red highway, through the psychedelic rock formations, into the long
tunnel along the canyon wall, and then out into the canyon itself
before suddenly dropping down a half-dozen hairpin turns to the canyon
floor and out of the park.
The second bit of advice comes from fellow radio traveler George
Greene: Check out the FM dial just as you burst out of the tunnel and
before you start descending. George says you can hear Las Vegas from
up there, and who am I to argue?
As darkness set in, we pointed the NERW-mobile down Utah 9 to I-15 and
into St. George, Utah for an evening of Salt Lake City TV. Stay tuned
to part two of our travelogue, next week here in NERW, for the rest of
our travels through St. George, Las Vegas, Kingman and vicinity, then
back to Phoenix and the plane home. We'll see you then!
(Want to see all the pictures, too? Find them at fybush.com -
<http://www.fybush.com/nerw-010514.html>, where you can read NERW
"live" every Monday!)
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2001 Scott Fybush
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