BETHESDA, Md. — Cumulus Media station WMAL(AM) 630 transitioned from its 77 year-old Bethesda, Md., transmitter site to a new location in Germantown, Md., on May 1 around 2 p.m. WMAL(FM)’s northern Virginia location remains unchanged.
Former chief engineer David Sproul had the honor of throwing the switch — err, pushing the button — on the Nautel NX10 transmitter. The occassion was filmed for posterity and can be viewed below.
The 1940s era transmitter building was demolished in September 2016.
In a phone call with Radio World, Sproul described the 7115 Greentree Road site as “the most conservatively and best-designed AM in the Washington, D.C., market” — apparently a widely held opinion.
Money, not technology necessitated the move. Sproul said that the new site, which WMAL will share with WWRC(AM) 570, will provide less coverage, but even so Cumulus’ economic outlook made a lucrative sale to developer Toll Brothers a logical development.
Sproul retired in 2014. In the video, he noted that WMAL Radio was his first employer out of college — and the only one throughout his career, despite ownership changes.
After shutting the transmitter down, Sproul became a bit emotional about WMAL’s history and the prospect of the station reaching the milestone of 100 years under the same call letters in October 2025.
“Good luck, WMAL!” Sproul said before signing off.