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WHGM Waits on Ospreys Before Expanding FM Signal

New antenna and birds’ departures expected in September

When Jeff Davis, president of WHGM(AM) in Havre de Grace, Md., first planned a new antenna for its FM translator W284BE, he expected to have to wait for approval from the FCC and then the construction and installation of the antenna from PSI in Pennsylvania. (The AM and the FM translator together operate as 104.7 The Point.)

One factor he did not anticipate waiting on, however, was a family of ospreys nesting on the tower.

The nest was discovered back in April, around the time when Davis applied to the FCC to add the antenna to take the station’s translator from 10 to 250 watts. After consulting with the Maryland Natural Resources Police, WHGM was told its crew could climb the tower, as long as they did not disturb the nest in any way. However the station made the decision to hold off on climbing until it received approval from the FCC and the new antenna was available.

Approval was granted by the FCC as of July 7, and last week WHGM officially put its order in for the six-bay directional antenna from PSI. Davis expects the antenna to be completed by September, which according to wildlife authorities is also when the ospreys are expected to migrate out of the area. If the ospreys are not gone by the time WHGM is ready to move forward, the station will have to consult with biologists on what the best steps are.

“It’s our duty to make sure these species are protected,” said Davis. “And though it may be an inconvenience for some, at the end of the day we are doing the right thing for our environment, for the ecosystem by being patient.”

If all goes according to plan, though, Davis expects to have the antenna installed sometime in September, which will expand WHGM’s FM reach all across Hartford County, Md., to an estimated population of about 158,000 people.

Lawrence Behr Associates is serving as the consulting engineer firm on the project. Jerry Brown is WHGM’s chief engineer.

WHGM is owned by the Imperial Broadcasting Co.