The search continues
Feb 1, 2004 12:00 PM
In the summer of 2003 we began our search to find the oldest transmitter in daily use. We received some submissions directly from stations, while others came from people who suggested we contact another station. After many phone calls and e-mails, we were able to confirm that a Gates BC-1T was still in use at WNAH, Nashville. We announced our finding in the Sign Off column in the December issue.
Despite our diligent search, it seems that many readers chose not to respond to the initial request. Since then we have received submissions for transmitters that predate the 1960 unit. The letter concerning the oldest one to date follows. If you have an older transmitter that is used as a main transmitter, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
� Kari Taylor, associate editor
I was reading the December issue and saw the article on the oldest transmitter in Sign Off. I have an older one for you: WFLO-AM 870 went on the air August 1947 and we are still using the original transmitter today. It is a Raytheon 1kW AM transmitter (model RA-1000). Dan Churchill of Commercial Radio Company in Cavendish, VT, has referred to this transmitter as the Rolls Royce of transmitters. Churchill is an expert on Raytheon transmitters and helps us whenever we have technical problems. Our Raytheon purrs like a kitten and it's pushing 57 years of fulltime service as our main AM transmitter.
WFLO AM/FM, Farmville, VA, and and
WSVS AM, Crewe, VA
Debates on IBOC
What will IBOC do for FM? Only cost money (for the benefit of the equipment manufacturers) and put digital hash on the adjacent channels. In addition, the digital time delay, which might be somewhere between 5 and 10 seconds, will really mess up a call-in program.
All I can say is that I refuse to install it. I see no reason to think that it will help either the stations or the listeners. It's just the idea that digital is supposed to be better � more high-tech. Radio Shack sells digital-ready headphones. But the salesmen don't know what that means.
KBNL, Laredo, TX
There is an incredible drumbeat to push digital AM and FM with sketchy-at-best articles in the trades explaining how it will benefit anyone. Initially it looked like AM radio could get an FM-grade signal � a pretty good deal � while FM would get pretty much nothing and spend a whole lot getting it. It still looks like FM will get nothing out of IBOC.
For AM, the notion of FM quality is a good idea, but the technology seems to be flawed. For example, we can hear hash in South Carolina from WSAI [Cincinnati] 1530 at sundown when WSAI is still on IBOC. Can you imagine every station in the country generating that kind of ruckus? The people looking to make financial gain from this proposal tell us that it is not a problem. If we follow their lead, we will soon learn that dial is filled with hash, which is not good. By then it will be too late.
What's really wrong with radio? It has nothing to do with IBOC � it's the content: consultant-driven, canned, boring playlists; not a real person in the building.
WAGS/WJDJ, Bishopville, SC
I was reading the January 2004 issue and stopped to read your Viewpoint The Data Dilemma. I got to the point in the article where you identify Clear Channel as �the new champion� after �installing RBDS encoders in its stations nationwide.� No other radio operator was identified. Needless to say, I was disapponted that Entercom and its dynamic RBDS initiative was not mentioned. I believe it was Entercom (working with Allen Hartle and the RadioExperience) turning on 60 of our stations' 57kHz subcarriers and displaying artist and song title information that caught CC's attention, and got them to follow suit. I wonder if CC would be transmitting RBDS on more than 190 stations now if Entercom hadn't started doing it first?
I recall what the Shortline railroad owner had to say about the much bigger Great Northern Railroad: We may not be as big, but we're just as wide.
Entercom Corporate Engineering