WBCN, Channel-13, and the old Hancock tower

A Joseph Ross joe@attorneyross.com
Thu Dec 2 00:43:18 EST 2021

Thank you for this bit of history.  I remember first hearing WTAG-FM 
from Bedford when I got my first FM radio, back in 1957.  At that time, 
they were simulcasting WTAG (AM), mainly for some newscasts, but mostly 
carrying the QXR network.  Awhile later, WXHR also started carrying the 
QXR network for awhile.

On 12/1/2021 9:20 AM, John Andrews wrote:
> On 12/1/2021 2:32 AM, A Joseph Ross wrote:
>> WSRS, which used to be WTAG-FM?  What's its story?
> Joe,
> 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 
> original.
> John Andrews (WTAG 1970-96)

A. Joseph Ross, J.D. · 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 · Newton, MA 02459
617.367.0468 · http://www.attorneyross.com

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