ESPN-Boston problems?

Dan Strassberg
Mon Jun 18 12:37:58 EDT 2007

890 is in the process of upgrading its night pattern and power. According to
both Glen Clark, who designed the new phasing network, and Chris Hall, CE of
WAMG/WLLH, the upgrade (from 3.4 kW-N to 6 kW-N with a slightly modified
pattern) did not require replacement of the night phasor--just replacement
of some components (inductors and capacitors). As far as I am able to tell,
that part of the work has already taken place and WAMG is operating with the
new pattern, though adjustment of the pattern may or may not be complete. I
believe, but do not know for sure, that the station was operating with the
increased night power for a time. At present, it may or may not still be
operating with the higher night power. I have not seen anything in the FCC
actions about an application for a license to cover (or for that matter, an
application for modification of CP to augment the new night pattern), but
the fact that I have not seen such applications means very little; I miss
quite a few of the ones I look for.

Where I live (about 16 miles northeast of the transmitter site) on two good
AM radios as well as on my car radio, WAMG's night signal is usually
acceptable (especially at times when I suspect the new pattern and power are
in use). I really notice no change in loudness at the pattern changes and
only a barely perceptable change in the background noise (absolutely
requires the trained ear of an AM geek or DXer). On some nights, WLS is
quite audible but usually not until several hours after local sunset here.
Even then, WLS is still not what I'd call a serious problem. And where I
live, the signal strength (I calculate ~6 mV/m) with the new night pattern
and power is about 1/2 (give or take) of the NIF value (12.5 mV/m). In other
words, I live outside of WAMG's protected night contour. The interference
from WCBS is not serious, though it may become so once 880 starts running
IBOC at night. Since I live so close to WWZN, I don't have any
first-adjacent problems with 1510 but the one-two punch of WTWP and WWKB has
got to be a worse problem for WWZN than WCBS is for 890. Back when 1510 ran
5 kW-N from Quincy, the nighttime signal here was pretty much unlistenable.
The worst co-channel problem was not from WLAC, which I don't recall ever
noticing; it was from CJRS back then. The two first adjacents, OTOH, were
murder--and that was decades before anyone even thought of IBOC.

Maybe Davidson took a look at the rent on the WWZN Tx site and decided that
890 suddenly looked A LOT more attractive. Maybe the possibility of ESPN
moving to 1510 was what triggered the backtracking on the ethnic format for
1510. If I were choosing which of the two signals to buy, 890 would be my
choice because it provides good night coverage of MetroWest (excluding
Marlborough, where I doubt the signal is audible at all when the night
pattern--either the old one or the new one--is running). No, 890 does not
have a killer night signal in Boston proper, but it's usable on a decent

Dan Strassberg,
eFax 707-215-6367

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott Fybush" <>
To: "Kevin Vahey" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: ESPN-Boston problems?

> Kevin Vahey wrote:
> > Was talking to a freiend who works at ESPN in Bristol and he says the
> > network is looking very hard at the new owner of 1510 to possibly move
> > ESPN Radio there.
> >
> > Problem is a nutshell is the 890 nightime signal and they have
> > received many complaints from would be listeners of World Series and
> > other sports playoffs that they simply can not hear the station.
> >
> > It is rare that someone would look at 1510 as an option for a better
> > signal but it certainly is at this point.
> >
> > This might explain why the new owners sent out a release saying they
> > would stay sports.
> I suspect anyone switching from 890 to 1510 in search of a significantly
> better night signal is going to go home disappointed. Neither is a
> full-market night signal, nor can it ever be one. It all comes down to
> what portion of the metro you're most interested in serving. 890 is, as
> you'd expect from the Dedham COL, most potent along a line from its
> Ashland transmitter site through the southwestern suburbs of Boston. It
> doesn't have the raw signal strength to be very useful in Boston proper,
> and its pattern doesn't favor the northern suburbs at all. It also
> suffers a lot of incoming interference from WLS and WCBS.
> 1510, by contrast, is most effective along a line from its
> Waltham/Belmont transmitter into downtown Boston, and is decent in the
> northern suburbs. It's lousy to the south and nonexistent to the west,
> and suffers massive incoming interference from WLAC.
> Neither signal is useful in the growth areas of the market - southern
> NH, west of Framingham, the South Shore.
> > BTW maybe Scott knows for sure but are the Spinners just going to be
> > on 1400 and not 890?
> As best I can tell, yes, that's the case. I expect the ESPN network feed
> would continue on 890.
> s

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