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RE: Globe on John Garabedian
With all due respect--and I'm sure that Don Kelley will be able to confirm
this--the idea that Garabedian started planning WGTR sometime in the
1970s is pure nonsense. He had filed the application YEARS before the
station signed on in November 1972. My guess is around 1965. The FCC
granted a CP quite promptly (unusual even then) but had to rescind the
grant not long afterward. Another applicant had filed at the last moment
and claimed that the FCC had not properly considered its competing
The legal battle went on for years. Garbedian hired top-notch attorneys.
Ultimately, there was some sort of settlement between the applicants and
Garabedian got the go-ahead to construct, but the technical details changed.
WGTR's orignally proposed site (and I believe the site that was specified in
the original CP) was at the foot of Oak St in Natick, which is south of
Route 9 on the east side of town. The site would have provided better
coverage of places like Wellesley, Needham, and parts of Newton but
inferior coverage of Framingham, the major community in the MetroWest
As part of the settlement, Garabedian obtained the competing applicant's
proposed site in S Natick near the Framingham line. However, that site
presented an interesting technical challenge; it was several miles closer to
Philadelphia and 1060's dominant Class I station, KYW. In those days--before
the advent of pick a power--any power, the site would work only if WGTR
limited its radiation efficiency to 175 mV/m at 1 mile, the minimum for 1-kW
Class II-D stations. The next step would have been a power reduction to
500W. The solution was WGTR's very short tower (140'), which was 54
electrical degrees at 1060--just enough to meet the minimum 1-kW
radiation requirement but not enough to exceed it.
The new site showed its value almost immediately after WGTR signed on,
however. Because the site was outside of KYW's 0.5 mV/m 50% skywave
contour, WGTR was able to obtain a PSRA, albeit with only 1.6W.
However, the station could sign on year round at 6:00 AM local time,
something its competition, WKOX, couldn't do. And with the fortuitous
location, the 1.6W proved adequate to provide a listenable pre-sunrise
signal to significant parts of Framingham, Natick, Sherborn, and Ashland.
> John H. was fed up and started planning for a free channel on the dial,
> alas, WGTR (Garabedian's Terrific Radio) was born a few years later at
> at times fighting WBZ with the FCC.