Air America

Scott Fybush
Sun May 1 17:01:46 EDT 2005

At 04:37 PM 5/1/2005 -0400, Dan Strassberg wrote:
>Many years ago (until sometime in the '60s, I think) WLIB's transmitter was
>located in northern Queens. IIRC, you could see the tower as you approached
>the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge from the Bronx side. The station operated with 1
>kW-L ND-L L-WOWO. The signal was very poor in much of New York City. I grew
>up on the northwest Bronx, not far from Yonkers, no more than about six
>miles from the old WLIB Tx. Reception was abysmal.

The site was in the Hallet's Cove area of Astoria, Queens, on a pier that 
extended into the East River. I'm not sure it would have been visible from 
the Whitestone, but I can imagine it would have been quite visible from the 
Triborough. I seem to recall the tower still standing in the early 90s, 
when it could also be clearly seen from the east side of Manhattan - it was 
almost directly across from UN headquarters.

I went looking for it a few years ago and found that the concrete pier and 
tower footings were still there, but the transmitter building and tower 
were long gone.

Useless trivia: the site was briefly reactivated in 1967, just a few weeks 
after WLIB had moved over to Lyndhurst, as a temporary site for WCBS after 
the High Island WCBS/WNBC tower was taken down by a small plane.

The only East River AM site still standing is one tower of the old WNYC 
830, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; I understand that the city now uses it for 
police 2-way radio. I still need to get down there and examine it more 
closely someday.

>Then WLIB moved its Tx to the Jersey Meadowlands and increased power to 10
>kW-L DA-L L-WOWO using a three-tower array to protect WOWO during critical
>hours and during the 45 minutes between New York sunset and Fort Wayne
>sunset. The Tx is located right near WOR, WEPN, WBBR, and now also WSNR
>(which moved in many years later). WLIB has one of the best-situated
>transmitters in the New York market and the 10 kW day signal is adequate to
>cover the market quite decently. WLIB is no WOR or WINS for sure, but it has
>a solid signal in the five boroughs as well as close-in parts of northern
>NJ, Westchester and Rockland counties, the eastern portions of Fairfield
>County CT, and northern Nassau County.

I'll agree with you for the most part about the five boroughs, but WLIB 
gets killed in Westchester (and even more so in CT and on Long Island) by 
the abysmal ground conductivity of Manhattan. Without the 50 kW punch of 
WABC or WOR (especially aided by the directionality of the latter), the 
signal just peters out as it tries to cross that solid rock of granite. I'd 
be surprised if it delivers much more than 3-4 mV/m in real life to places 
like Stamford CT or Garden City LI. That's OK for car radio reception, but 
it can't penetrate apartment buildings or be useful on cheap radios.

It's a very good signal on the west side of Manhattan, at least, so they 
get the advantage of strong service to what ought to be a target base of 
listeners on the Upper West Side and down in the Village. (Though, as I've 
noted in previous posts, I doubt whether that audience really has the 
affinity to AAR that one might expect.)

>When ICBC, the company that owns WLIB, succeeded in having WOWO powered down
>at night, WLIB added night service with 30 kW. Believe it or not, though,
>desipte reducing power from 50 kW to 9.8 kW and changing its night pattern
>to further reduce its signal to the east, WOWO still delivers enough of a
>night signal to metro New York to limit WLIB's NIF signal mainly to the five
>boroughs--and only about 80% of their area--and parts of northern NJ. WLIB
>must also protect the former facilities of CHTN, which moved from 1190 to
>720 at least 15 years ago, but is still notified to the US on 1190. As a
>result, WLIB's night pattern has a null over northern Queens and the south
>Bronx. My guess is that reception of WLIB in that area is poor on most

Correct. And it's almost nonexistent in fast-growing suburban areas like 
Rockland County, where I stay when I'm down that way. It's also essentially 
nonexistent almost anywhere in northern NJ, which is a huge hindrance when 
compared with WABC or WOR, which just smother the area in signal, day and 

>ICBC, Salem Communications (which owns the former WGKA, a daytimer on 1190
>in Atlanta), and the owners of WOWO have drafted an interference-reduction
>agreement that would allow the Atlanta station to operate full-time, would
>allow WLIB to modify its night pattern somewhat (decrease the severity of
>the null toward Prince Edward Island), and would allow WOWO to increase its
>night power to 15 kW  That agreement has been hung up for many years and
>there does not seem to be much chance of its being implemented anytime soon.

IIRC, the holdup is some litigation over a rival power-increase proposal 
from the 1190 in Kansas City, which is now Radio Disney. And I think there 
was an issue with an 1190 in the Palm Beach, Florida area as well...


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