...and speaking of anniversaries...

Dave Doherty dave@skywaves.net
Sat Jun 13 21:20:16 EDT 2009

Hi Dan-

I had a memo from Healy to the board, and may still have it somewhere. It 
was from the late 40's or early 50's. In it he said that they could not 
justify the cost of the buildout in Delmar without a network affiliation. 
Clearly, it was written when WOKO was at that old site north of Albany, 
probably in Menands.  I did not know they shared it with WABY, but it was 
definitely not the site WABY was using by the the late 1960s.

Thanks for pinning down the frequency of WXKW. I knew it was somewhere 
around there.  The CE at WROW in the late 60's, whose name escapes me now, 
described the machinations they had to go through with that pattern, which 
according to him never worked right. His opinion was that the construction 
of the NY Thruway through their transmitter plant was a mercy because the 
investors got most of their money back on the land taking.  As I recall, the 
description that came down to me was a six tower array with some really odd 
spacings and orientations.

By the time I worked at WOKO in 1967, the CE was Charlie Heisler. We had a 
Bauer 5kW main and an ancient Western Electric 1kW aux with mercury vapor 
rectifiers and TH type power tubes. I don't recall him mentioning an earlier 
Gates 5kW, but the Bauer was fairly new at the time, and it had clearly 
replaced something. I just assumed it was a WE 5kW, but I have nothing on 
which to base that assumption.

Many years ago, I saw some other documentation of WOKO's early history. It 
includes at least one, and I think two, previous locations - prior to 
Menands - well down the Hudson. One was a shared-time facility, maybe down 
in Beacon or Newburgh, or possibly even farther south.  One of these may be 
the site Linc mentioned as "Mount Beacon"


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dan.Strassberg" <dan.strassberg@att.net>
To: "Boston Radio Interest" <boston-radio-interest@rolinin.bostonradio.org>
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 9:51 AM
Subject: Re: ...and speaking of anniversaries...

> ons in the Capital
> District, the ABC affiliate in 1952 was most definitely WXKW 850. It
> was absolutely not WOKO 1460. I don't recall whether WOKO had any
> network affiliation at that time. If it did, it would have been
> Mutual. In 1952, WOKO was operating from Delmar with 5 kW-U DA-N
> (three towers), the same facilities that the 1460 station uses to this
> day. I strongly doubt whether this setup was brand new in '52. The
> studios were in a hotel whose name I can't recall on State St in
> Albany--about half-way from the River to the State Capital. It was on
> your left as you walked up the hill. I am pretty sure that at least a
> few years before 1952, WOKO had moved from a site north of Albany
> shared with WABY 1400. WABY continued at that site after WOKO moved.
> When the two AMs shared that site, the tower may have been diplexed
> (AM diplexes existed in the '30s) or there may have been a second
> tower. If there was a second tower, it no longer existed by 1952. From
> its old site, WOKO ran 1 kW-D/500W-N ND-U. Scott Fybush may be able to
> provide some clues about when WOKO increased power. Prior to the move,
> WOKO, WHEC Rochester, and WHP Harrisbutg had similar ND-U facilities
> on 1460 and all three increased power and went DA-N at about the same
> time. In the early/mid '50s, WOKO was owned by an eccentric
> silver-haired gent named "Colonel" Jim Healey, who was totally
> fascinated by the sound of his booming voice. He broadcast Lowell
> Thamas-style news and commentary at least once each day (maybe twice)
> on WOKO. The commentaries were ad-libbed and really sounded it;>(
> Some more odd facts (OK; recollections--somebody is BOUND to prove me
> wrong on some point--and maybe more than one) that occurred to me:
> WOKO's Chief Engineer in the early/mid 50s was an older guy named Al
> Sardi. He had a very thick Swedish accent. WOKO was odd-man out among
> 5- and 10-kW Capital District AMs of that era with regard to the
> manufacturer of its transmitter. WROW and WTRY had RCA BTA-5Fs; WXKW
> had a BTA-10F (IIRC, from the front, it looked like a BTA-5F with an
> extra cabinet). Now somebody is going to say, so WOKO, where budgets
> (except those for Col. Healy's cigars) were always very tight, had a
> Gates--the very popular low-priced brand. And IIRC, that would be
> wrong. Maybe Sardi--or the consulting engineer who designed the WOKO
> plant--was adamant that he didn't like RCA and didn't like Gates. I
> don't know whether Healy owned the station or Sardi was CE when the
> 5-kW Tx was purchased, but it was a Collins--the high-priced spread.
> -----
> Dan Strassberg (dan.strassberg@att.net)
> eFax 1-707-215-6367
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: <linc45r-n@lincster.com>
> To: "Dave Doherty" <dave@skywaves.net>; "A. Joseph Ross"
> <Joe@attorneyross.com>; "Dan.Strassberg" <dan.strassberg@att.net>
> Cc: <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 12:23 AM
> Subject: Re: ...and speaking of anniversaries...
>> Very early on wasn't WOKO located on Mount Beacon?  The two tower
>> that supported the hammock were still there in the 1970's and may
>> still be part of the head end for the local cable TV company.
>> Linc
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Dave Doherty" <dave@skywaves.net>
>> To: "A. Joseph Ross" <Joe@attorneyross.com>; "Dan.Strassberg"
>> <dan.strassberg@att.net>
>> Cc: <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
>> Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 8:26 PM
>> Subject: Re: ...and speaking of anniversaries...
>>>I think  WOKO was an ABC affiliate prior to that big swap.  I had
>>>some correspondence from the early 50's indicating that the buildout
>>>in Delmar was conditioned on a network affiliation with ABC. Prior
>>>to that, the transmitter was on the north side of Albany, maybe in
>>>Menands. They built the site in Delmar about 1952, so it seems they
>>>must have been affiliated with ABC - or somebody - prior to the
>>> -d
>>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>>> From: "A. Joseph Ross" <Joe@attorneyross.com>
>>> To: "Dan.Strassberg" <dan.strassberg@att.net>
>>> Cc: <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
>>> Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 4:14 PM
>>> Subject: Re: ...and speaking of anniversaries...
>>>> On 11 Jun 2009 Dan.Strassberg wrote:
>>>>> IIRC (I think it was in the spring of 1956 but it could have been
>>>>> a
>>>>> year or more earlier than that), CBS radio switched from WTRY
>>>>> (AM) to
>>>>> WROW (AM) and CBS TV switched at the same time from WTRI-TV
>>>>> Channel 35
>>>>> to whatever the station on channel 41 was then called (maybe
>>>>> still
>>>>> WROW-TV).
>>>> I think it was earlier than that.  It was sometime in 1956 that
>>>> WTRI
>>>> returned to the air as an ABC affiliate, and for the fall TV
>>>> season
>>>> that year, for the first time in that market, each network had its
>>>> own station.
>>>>> However, by the time of the switch (or AT the time of the
>>>>> switch),
>>>>> WTRY (AM) changed hands. I think Channel 35 stayed with the
>>>>> former
>>>>> owners of the AM but the AM was sold to a Providence RI-based
>>>>> group
>>>>> that also owned WEAN there. The guy who headed the group was a
>>>>> fellow named Mowry Lowe. Lowe was a strong believer in
>>>>> independent
>>>>> stations and music-and-news formats (later known as MOR and
>>>>> Top-40). Instead of picking up the ABC Radio affiliation that
>>>>> WROW
>>>>> (AM) was dropping, WTRY became an independent and continued to do
>>>>> very well both in ratings and sales. I think ABC radio then moved
>>>>> to WPTR.
>>>> Yes, there was a big network shift at that time.  CBS went to
>>>> WROW,
>>>> ABC went to WPTR, and Mutual, formerly on WPTR, moved to WOKO.
>>>> The
>>>> only affiliation that stayed the same was NBC on WGY.
>>>> -- 
>>>> A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                   617.367.0468
>>>> 92 State Street, Suite 700            Fax: 617.507.7856
>>>> Boston, MA 02109-2004           http://www.attorneyross.com
> orneyross.com

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