WBCN, Channel-13, and the old Hancock tower

John Andrews w1tag@charter.net
Wed Dec 1 09:20:18 EST 2021

On 12/1/2021 2:32 AM, A Joseph Ross wrote:
> WSRS, which used to be WTAG-FM?  What's its story?


WSRS was born as W1XTG on June 17, 1940, on 43.4 MHz from a turnstile 
antenna mounted on WTAG's #2 tower in Holden, MA. It was owned, of 
course, by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, with programming coming 
from 18 Franklin Street in Worcester. The station would have been on the 
air earlier, except the original three WTAG towers were leveled in the 
1938 Hurricane. Trivia: parts of that original turnstile antenna are 
still visible about 20' down from the top of the #2 tower.

The T&G bought 20 acres of land on Little Asnebumskit Hill in Paxton in 
August, 1940. They filed an application for 300 kw from a 300' tower at 
that site, but that app was a casualty of regulations and WWII.

Programming during WWII was complicated due to labor shortages (the 
station had an all-female staff at one point), network restrictions on 
simulcasts, lack of revenue on the FM side, and so on. In 1944, the call 
letters became WTAG-FM, and the frequency was moved to 46.1 MHz. After 
the war, the 92-108 MHz band came along, and they moved to 102.7 MHz. 
That was done by hack-sawing the brass pipe used in the turnstile 
antenna, after modeling by Prof. Hobart Newell at WPI showed that the 
higher frequency signal would not be badly distorted by the shorter 
antenna inside the tower.

They moved to 96.1 MHz in 1947. The postponed move to the present Paxton 
site was not done until December, 1948. Allowance in developing that 
location had been made for TV operations on Channel 5 and Channel 20, 
but they never took place for reasons covered in earlier email trails on 
this reflector. The original Paxton tower was 192', and is still there, 
and has an auxiliary antenna on it.

As is well-known, WTAG-FM was sold to Norman Knight in 1963, and it 
continued in Knight Communications' ownership until the Capstar sale in 
the late '90s. They put up a new 330' tower in 1991, and that is 
currently in use, although with an antenna less ice-sensitive than the 

John Andrews (WTAG 1970-96)

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