A fun trivia question

Dan Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Sun May 6 07:37:39 EDT 2007

WTRI (TV) was on Channel 35--not 45. It was by far the better of the two
facilities, with transmitter on a nearly 1000' tower atop 500' (or so) Bald
Mountain, just north of Troy. WROW-TV, meanwhile, was transmitting from a
700' tower in N Greenbush. The location of the base of the tower is actually
in the valley on the east side of the Hudson, where the land climbs steeply
by at least 300' as you go eastward and then climbs more than another 1000'
as you go further east into Mass. To the west, the land climbs more
gradually at first but it still climbs pretty far. By the time you reach
Schenectady, your height above sea level is about the same as that of the
TOP of the N Greenbush tower. (For at least the last 30 years now, the N
Greenbush tower has been home to my alma mater's noncommercial FM, WRPI

All of this conspired to give Channel 41 very poor coverage. However, the
station overcame these (literal) obstacles by acquiring additional
signals--first WMGT N Adams on Channel 74 (later moved to Channel 19 and
rechristened WCDC) and then by constructing Channel 29 in Hagaman. Channel
19 transmits from Mt Greylock, the highest point in Mass. The signal is huge
and it covers most of the Capital District pretty well. Channel 41 continued
to cover the valley areas that the Channel 19 signal couldn't reach very
well because of the topography. Hagaman is in the Mohawk Valley west of
Schenectady and the Channel 29 signal did a good job in Schenectady.

But being a network of UHF stations left what were by then WCDA (41), WCDB
(29), and WCDC (19) at a competitive disadvantage to GE's legacy VHF signal
WRGB (6). Then the engineers discovered that there was a small triangle of
land in Vail Mills, just south of Sacondaga Reservoir and about 38 miles
west of downtown Albany that allowed a full-spaced VHF drop-in on Channel
10. The location was just 170 miles from co-channel stations in Providence,
Rochester, and Montreal. A 1350' tower was constructed and Channel 10
replaced Channel 29. In the end, though, the Channel 10 signal from Vail
Mills still needed help from Channels 19 and 41 to cover the whole market.

Then, the FCC agreed to grant short spacing to Channel 10, which moved to
the Heldeberg Mountains southwest of Albany, close to the Channel 6 site
with a directional antenna protecting Providence. Because Channel 10's
signal is severely limited to the east, Channel 19 still acts as a

I am not nearly as familiar with the Channel 35 situation. But I do know
that Channel 35 did return to the air as an ABC affiliate and it was also
granted a short-spaced VHF assignment on Channel 13 protecting WNET in New
York (technically, Newark). I don't know whether the Albany 13 ever
transmitted from the Saratoga area, where it would not have been short
spaced, but I believe that it is now on what began life as the Channel 35
tower atop Bald Mountain.

I've often wondered why Channels 10 and 13 in the Capital District never
swapped transmitter sites. Although such a swap would have exacerbated the
short spacing on both channels, it would have placed the market's population
in the direction of the maximum signal strength, rather than the minimum
signal strength. Of course, everybody now has cable, so it really makes no
difference anymore. I'm sure that Scott and/or Garrett can fill us in on the
transmitter locations and channel numbers of the Capital District's Channel
10 and 13 DTV equivalents.

Dan Strassberg, dan.strassberg@att.net
eFax 707-215-6367

----- Original Message -----
From: "A. Joseph Ross" <joe@attorneyross.com>
To: "Rick Kelly" <rickkelly@gmail.com>
Cc: "Boston Radio Interest" <boston-radio-interest@rolinin.bostonradio.org>;
Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2007 12:36 AM
Subject: Re: A fun trivia question

> On 5 May 2007 at 23:15, Rick Kelly wrote:
> > WTRY was sold in '55. I don't think WTRY dropped CBS. It was the other
> > way around, with Lowell Thomas, part owner of WROW, pulling some
> > strings to move CBS over there.
> This makes sense, too, because at the same time, WROW-TV, Channel 41,
> became a CBS affiliate, putting WTRY's sister station, WTRI, Channel
> 45, off the air for lack of an affiliate.
> > I don't know who invented the Color Radio moniker. I
> > thought it was Chuck Blore, but maybe he stole it from somewhere else.
> > I don't beleive WTRY was using color radio until they bought that
> > jingle package (in '58?) - but not sure.
> I don't think WTRY was using Color Radio in 1958.  We moved back to
> the Boston area in 1957, but I discovered that I could hear WPTR at
> night, and I was listening at that time, and they were doing Color
> Radio at that time.  One of their gimmicks was to somehow
> electronically convert colors into sounds.  They'd play a sound and
> ask listeners to guess what color it was.  So they actually did have
> color radio, I guess.
> --
> A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
>  15 Court Square, Suite 210                 Fax 617.742.7581
> Boston, MA 02108-2503                    http://www.attorneyross.com

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