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850, 1510 Night signal improved in the West, 680 the same
Hello Dan and everyone,
WRKO's signal out here in the Springfield area has not had any detectable
change since the 60's.
A group of us college students (and radio nuts) were just leaving MidTown
Springfield for Bangor, Maine to do a basketball game for WAIC from U Maine
in the Spring of 1971. Somehow the radio landed on "scratchy" WRKO. There
must have been real good tune on for us to put up with the static. At the
segway, the DJ said something to the effect of "Whether you're in
Springfield, Mass or Bangor, Maine, you're on WRKO". We were all amazed at
the coincidence of both the DJ's comment and the inference that WRKO
actually had listeners in Springfield! We wondered if Bangor had better
reception than Springfield. The next tune wasn't quite so good and somebody
pushed the button for HYN or TXL or DRC or maybe even POP and that was it
for WRKO 'til we got past Worcester. Yeah--we were doing a basketball game
for a real decent comtemporary Rock/Urban fairly tightly formatted FM
college station and traveling in a car without an FM radio--typical for back
then. Oh heck, for a bunch of 18-20 year olds, there wasn't much programming
on FM in 1971 anyway, except for some interesting college stations!
WRKO is mostly unlistenable now because of the proliferation of noise-making
devices. A few years ago, when I was at WNNZ, we got wind of a "secret"
replacement for afternoon talk show host Bob Grant. Everybody was guessing
who it was going to be. I tuned around a lot, but couldn't find any talent
worthy of the switch. Then WRKO came to mind. It took a while to get away
from the computer noise, but there was a happy guy named Howie Carr on. What
I heard on his talk program sounded more entertaining (for a talk show) than
anyone else on my dial during that time slot. Hmm-680 drops off around
Worcester and 640 picks up not to far west--this fit the logic. Incredibly,
logic worked in this case--rare for radio programming! And Howie (a very
pleasant, friendly person) dropped by the station a couple of weeks later. I
wish I had put some money on my bet with some of the other station
Now If, somehow, you find a spot without a lot of noise, you'll find the
same signal strength you would have had in 1971.
The daytime signals of Both 850 & 1510 (WHDH & WMEX back then) were
non-existent in Springfield in the 60's & 70's. I could catch either one or
both occasionally around sunset for a few minutes, but that was it. Sometime
between then and about 5/10 years ago both signals improved in this
direction both day and particularly, at night. It's rare to hear competing
Western or Southern stations any longer. I can remember listing for several
nights to 850, hearing only faint whispers, and then KOA would pop in
occasionally. 1510 was almost always a low key jumble. Now, after the
computer, the flourescents, the alarms, the instant-on TV, the automatic
emergency light and all the other offending modern devices are unplugged,
you can hear both of these Boston outlets most any night.
Anyone know what the changes were, ( and when?), that made this "new"
Mark Casey - K1MAP - Hampden MA 01036 - FN32sb84EH09
South View Communications & Topo Maps - 413-566-2445
----- Original Message -----From: Dan Strassberg <Dan.Strassberg@att.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 3:56 PM
Subject: Re: Improved night facilities for 680 and 850 (was WBZ Reception Is
> WRKO and WEEI must each protect a _bunch_ of stations to the west and
> southwest. Aside from the dominant co-channel Class As (KNBR on 680 and
> on 850), both frequencies are heavily used in the east, midwest, and
> Canada. On 850, the legacy station in the east, other than WRKO itself, is
> WPTF Raleigh NC. Canada has made heavy use of 680. There is a 50 kW-U AM
> in Toronto.......