Blaw-Knox towers and Nashville

Doug Drown
Thu Mar 17 14:52:12 EDT 2011

   I've been in Milwaukee several times on business, and WLW could be 
clearly picked up there all day long on my digital car radio (WGN 
notwithstanding).  I'd have to look at the specs; is the signal 
omnidirectional?  -Doug

Quoting Kevin Vahey :
I it a tossup for me which was more impressive - WSM or WLW ( edge to 
the latter because of the calls on the tower )
However there was a Waffle House near WSM :)
WLW however seems to have a better signal as even in Nashville it is 
quite strong. 

On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM, Scott Fybush  wrote:
Doug Drown wrote:
The WLW tower is the one seen on "WKRP in Cincinnati." It's immense. Back
in the '60s, when I saw it, it dominated the whole city skyline. Probably
still does. A little clarification: the tower on Chickasaw Street that 
was seen in the WKRP opening sequence belonged to WLWT (or "WLW-T," if 
you prefer), the erstwhile TV sister station to WLW. It was indeed a 
dominant presence on the city's skyline...until WLWT built a taller 
tower right in front of it. The old tower was torn down a couple of 
years ago. 

There are three TV towers in close proximity on that ridge just north 
of downtown: WKRC-TV 12, WLWT and WCPO-TV 9. 

The WLW radio tower cannot be seen from downtown Cincinnati; it's in 
Mason, about 25 miles to the north, and it does dominate the skyline 
out there, such as it is. 

The engineering principles of the time dictated that "high-power" 
stations (anything above a kilowatt!) be located at a considerable 
distance from population centers to avoid overloading the very 
non-selective receivers of the time. That's why WBZ built its 
high-power facility out in Millis in 1931, and why the initial NBC and 
CBS New York high-power AMs were built far out of town, CBS at Wayne, 
NJ and NBC at Bound Brook NJ (WJZ) and Bellmore, Long Island (WEAF). 

I think Dan may have somewhat overestimated the number of Blaw-Knox 
"diamond" towers that ever existed. There were certainly several 
prominent examples that no longer stand, including CBS' WABC tower at 
Wayne and the WCAU tower in Newtown Square, PA, outside Philadelphia. 
But those were all very, very early in the history of vertical AM 
radiators, and the diamond-shaped tower proved to be very expensive to 
build and maintain, with no particular technical advantage over the 
simpler square- or triangular-cross-section guyed or self-supporting 
towers that became the industry standards. 

And the adoption of the vertical radiator was by no means immediate; as 
late as 1947, there were still prominent network O&O 50 kW stations 
using T-type longwire radiators. (KPO/KNBC in San Francisco may have 
been the last to convert; WEAF was also quite late in the game.)

I don't believe, in the end, that there were ever more than perhaps a 
couple of dozen Blaw-Knox "diamond" towers. 

Blaw-Knox is still in active existence as a heavy equipment manufacturer. I
saw a fairly new Blaw-Knox bulldozer just a short time ago. It took me 
by surprise.  -DougThe nameplate was sold several times over the years, 
and now apparently belongs to Volvo Heavy Equipment. 


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