How much longer will WBZ stay at 1170 SFR?

Martin Waters
Mon Jun 13 15:18:11 EDT 2011

--- On Mon, 6/13/11, Scott Fybush <> wrote:
 > The only thing that remains from 1948 inside 1170 SFR is
> the walls - and not even all of those are original!

    And outside, just about the only things from 1948 are (maybe!) the fence around the property and, certainly, the twisted steel stubs left from the original channel 4 tower that fell on the building in the early '50s. One of them now is used to anchor one of the guy wires for the WBZ (AM) backup tower.

      My take on the facility was that over the past few years I didn't hear talk about the place being inadequate. That's not to say a state-of-the-art new building wouldn't be a good improvement.

      And my guess is that they'd more than likely only sell to Harvard if the price was so high they essentially would be getting Harvard to pay for the relocation as well as the value of the SFR property -- so they'd be in a position to set themselves up in excellent new digs.

      One relocation issue would be that, as was posted, CBS corporate might want to shove WBZ (AM) in with some or all of its other radios and move the TV to a new building. Given the radio format, being physically right next to the TV newsroom has a lot of benefits -- and it goes both ways. IMO, if they moved, they ought to go in the other direction -- moving WBZ-FM into the new place with the AM and TV to gain the benefit of the same synergy. They're running two information formats on radio -- making it a whole different situation than if they were just jukeboxes.  

       Another issue would be finding a new location for the AM backup antenna. It could be an opportunity to separate it from the studio location, although having it right there makes it pretty close to bulletproof when it's needed.

      I once heard that, supposedly, one of the reasons the backup is only 10 kW is that shielding the equipment in the building from any higher power would be a nightmare. The phones sometimes get a little dicey when it's on the air.

      If they diplexed from some existing antenna or somehow overcame NIMBY-ism to find a new backup location of their own, they might be able to have a backup as high as 50 kW. (Around 15 or 20 years ago, WCCO (AM) built a separate backup site that's licensed for about 48 kW.) 

      WBZ (AM) loses a lot when they have to run 10 kW for extended periods (during weekdays) every time the salt air peels the paint off the ancient towers in Hull. Ten kW gives you only (very rough quick-and-dirty math here, based on non-directional antennas) about 45 percent of the signal you get from 50 kW. And that doesn't take into account that their directional pattern from Hull pushes out something in the neighborhood of 90 kW or 100 kW equivalent at its maximum point(which is just about due west). 

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