The importance of local talk radio

Sat Nov 22 07:22:25 EST 2008

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Don A" <>
To: "Doug Drown" <>; "Laurence Glavin"
<>; "Scott Fybush" <>
Cc: "Boston Radio Group" <>
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:27 AM
Subject: Re: The importance of local talk radio
>>(re: WRKO) . . . But, forty years later, you still can't get it
>>after dark in Fitchburg!


Because no changes were made in the night pattern and changes to that
pattern that would have in any way improved the night signal in
Fitchburg and surrounding communities were apparently not permitted 40
years ago. In addition, such changes are not permitted under FCC rules
that have been in effect for at least 25 years. I'm speaking of the
so-called ratchet rule, which requires AM stations that make any
changes to their antenna systems to reduce interference to co- and
first-adjacent-channel stations. AFAIK, the FCC had to adopt the
ratchet rule because of a law passed by Congress.

About five years ago, when WCBM 680 in Baltimore purchased a 690
daytimer in VA and took it dark to enable an upgrade from 10 kW-D/5
kW-N DA-2 (four towers) to 50 kW-D/20 kW-N DA-2 (six towers at a new
site), it had to increase nighttime protections to WRKO. WCBM's new
patterns are much narrower than its old patterns, but in the center of
the main lobe, the new signals are a lot stronger and travel a lot
further than the old. Of course, the magnificent new six-tower array
is also quite a bit further west of Baltimore than was the old one, so
the (quite strong) signal in downtown Baltimore, may or may not be

When WINR 680 in Binghamton NY increased its day power from 1 kW to 5
kW some years back, the station was able to let out its day pattern to
the east and thus provide new daytime service to a rather large but
sparsely populated area of the Catskills east of Binghamton. This
change was possible because it did not encroach on WRKO's protected
daytime service area. WINR did not change its 500W night pattern at
all, however.

Dan Strassberg (
eFax 1-707-215-6367

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