sowny.net | The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

SOWNY » CFTO weak signal » January 13, 2021 12:39 pm

fybush
Replies: 30

Go to post

mace wrote:

                                  Just out of curiosity, I have often wondered if any of the Toronto tv signals were ever available in Rochester under tropo conditions. I am sure Mr. Fybush would know.                    

The VHF signals didn't ever really come in here, thanks to the stronger WTVH Syracuse on 5 and the locals on 8 and 10 blocking out CFTO on 9.

On good days, back in the analog era, I could sometimes see the CN Tower UHF signals even with an indoor antenna. 41 always seemed to be the strongest once it went on the air. For a few years in the early 80s, the cable company here picked up 25 and 47 over the air and the signals were usually pretty clean. (47 I understand - it was a local Italian guy who leased the space on the cable system and sold local ad spots to reach the large local Italian community. I have no idea why the cable company thought there were Francophones here who wanted to see 25. We also had CJOH for a few years, thanks to the channel 6 relay in Deseronto showing up on cable.)

I don't usually get any of the Toronto signals over here on the southeast side of Rochester, especially where I live now in the shadow of Pinnacle Hill. But I have friends who live closer to the lakeshore on the west side who get good reception on outdoor antennas, yes, even of CFTO.

One important note: you can't directly compare power levels between VHF signals (CFTO, WBBZ) and UHF signals. It takes more power to get the same coverage at UHF. The FCC generally allows 1000 kW as the maximum power for UHF DTV, but VHF DTV is limited to 10 kW, though some VHF stations have been allowed higher power levels in order to match the coverage of the largest UHFs in their markets. 
 

SOWNY » Who Would You Nominate For An Ontario- Buffalo Radio Hall Of Fame? » January 7, 2021 12:44 am

fybush
Replies: 26

Go to post

Stateside, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association has an active Hall of Fame that's been inducting broadcasters in a variety of categories for two decades now. We don't have anything really comparable in Rochester - there was a Rochester Media Association for a few years but it fizzled out. 

Buffalo was a market where people stayed for entire careers back in the day, or where they'd really made it once they arrived. Aside from a few lifers, Rochester has tended to be a market you passed through on the way up, or maybe back through on the way down. 

A few names who ought to be automatic inductees from over here, though? On TV, Don Alhart, now the longest-running anchor in US local TV history (1966 to right now at WHAM-TV). Janet Lomax, pioneering Black female anchor at WHEC-TV. Gabe Dalmath, her longtime co-anchor there. From a much earlier era, Foster Brooks, who started here. 

On radio? Brother Wease, who's done morning radio for 40 years now. Andrew Langston, who founded WDKX, the city's first and only Black-owned station. Lawrence Hickson, the engineer who put the city's earliest stations on the air and gave his initials to WHEC (Hickson Electric Company). Gordon P. Brown, the founder and quirky owner of WSAY for more than 40 years. Jack Palvino, longtime DJ turned owner (WVOR/WHAM). That's just a start. 

SOWNY » Cable 5 and 9 question » January 4, 2021 5:38 pm

fybush
Replies: 17

Go to post

markow202 wrote:

Also,  how come a lot of the tv channels were mostly UHF in toronto?  I mean why was CBLT and CFTO in VHF (much better signals) and the rest up in the higher UHFs?   Once you go rural, VHF was for all tv stations for the most part which im guessing can travel better. 

Canada was late to the game in an area where the airwaves were already getting crowded early on. Before CBLT hit the airwaves in 1952 (and then CHCH in 1954), the US had already licensed or allocated stations in Buffalo on 2, 4 and 7 and in Rochester on 6 (changed to 5 in '52 and then to 8 in '62) and 10. 

That left room for 3 in Barrie, either 5 or 6 in Toronto (couldn't use both since they're adjacent), either 8 or 9 in Toronto (same reason), 11 in Hamilton, 12 in Peterborough and 13 in Kitchener. 

Canada did some shuffling over the years to fit more signals in, notably the 1972 CBLT move from 6 to 5 that allowed Global to use 6 at Paris. 

If Canadian regulators hadn't been determined to fit single stations in early at smaller locations like Barrie and Peterborough, Toronto might have been able to use 3 and 13 (which might have shuffled Rochester to 12 if the 12 in Binghamton could also have moved as part of the upstate shifts of 1961-62.) Even 11 could have worked at Toronto instead of Hamilton if the Canadian regulators had wanted it that way - but the priority was to put one or two signals in a lot of places instead of five or six in one big place. 

By the time that policy started to change, the VHF channels were locked into a tight spacing net that wouldn't allow for any shifting - and so the 1970s brought 19, 25, 47 and 79 to the Toronto airwaves. 
 

SOWNY » Cable 5 and 9 question » January 4, 2021 11:52 am

fybush
Replies: 17

Go to post

Believe it or not, "ingress" can still be an issue. Here in Rochester, the TV stations are all at a shared tower site, Pinnacle Hill, just southeast of downtown. Two of our stations, WHEC and WHAM-TV, operate on VHF RF channels, 10 and 9 respectively.

Spectrum Cable uses one of those same RF channels, 9, to distribute WHAM's HD signal around its system. Cable uses a different modulation scheme (QAM) for its digital signals - but there is absolutely a problem in areas around Pinnacle Hill (including here at my house) where the strong OTA signal on RF 9 gets into the cable receiver when the connections aren't tight or the drop to the house gets damaged, and the QAM digital signal can't decode.

WHAM's engineer tried hard to let Spectrum know there was going to be a problem when they repacked a year ago from RF 13 to RF 9 (which is why CFTO had to go from 9 to 8), but Spectrum didn't listen, and so they're constantly rolling trucks to try to "fix" a problem of their own making. 

(Also: "MATV" was literally a master antenna - whatever came in up at the antenna was amplified and piped down through the building's wiring into individual TVs. If CFTO was on 9, you'd tune your TV to 9 to watch it. "CATV" started out as the abbreviation for "community antenna TV," and some of those systems did remodulate signals onto new channels, especially UHF - so a CATV system in the early 1970s might get OECA on UHF 19 and remodulate it on VHF 2 or wherever. It's my understanding that at some point as early as the 70s, the CRTC imposed technical rules that required CATV/cable systems to offset local VHF channels to different channel numbers to avoid ingress, so 5 went on 6 and 9 on 8. CHCH was distant enough that it could be carried on 11 without any issues in Toronto; I assume it went on a different channel number on Hamilton systems. The FCC never had a rule like that, and probably should have. Some systems were good about it - what became the Adelphia system in Buffalo offset the V

SOWNY » Radio lists on Ontario Official Road Maps » December 18, 2020 12:25 am

fybush
Replies: 12

Go to post

I'm curious about that CFOT 1150 listing for Sarnia. There's absolutely nothing I can find about that station, even at broadcasting-history.ca, which is usually comprehensive even for defunct facilities. 

Was it a campus station? Carrier current?

SOWNY » Why More & More AM Antenna Sites Are Up For Sale » December 9, 2020 11:22 am

fybush
Replies: 15

Go to post

markow202 wrote:

Very good info.  Question on this, some independent stations back in the day especially 50k watts and up had several bays.  I remember CHAY in Barrie before they had a master fm system installed on the VR Tower was 100,000 watts omni and a 10 bay system.   The lower the power the less bays.   How come?

The number of bays isn't directly related to the power of the station. 

More antenna bays allow you to generate a higher ERP (effective radiated power) with a lower TPO (transmitter power out) - in effect, an antenna with more bays has what's called "higher gain."

You can't get something for nothing, of course - the higher the antenna gain and the more bays in use, the more concentrated the horizontal pattern of the antenna becomes. 

It's an overgeneralization, but think of a one-bay antenna as a perfect spherical radiator: the energy produced by the transmitter is dispersed in a perfect sphere around the antenna. Doesn't matter if you're directly below the antenna, or in a plane flying straight above it, or out at the horizon, you get the same amount of RF directed at you.

Start adding bays and that sphere turns into an ever-flatter donut as more of the energy is dispersed straight out and less is dispersed straight down or straight up.

There's rarely a need for an FM station to radiate upwards, of course; the need to radiate downward or at shallow angles depends heavily on where your population is in relation to the tower. The VR tower is out in a relatively thinly populated area, as I recall, with more of the desired population for CHAY at some distance. So using multiple bays works in two ways: first, it still directs the 93.1 signal where the population is, and second, it allows the use of a relatively low-powered transmitter to combine with antenna gain to produce a 100 kW ERP signal. I'd guess the CHAY transmitter is probably somewhere in the 20 kW range, which is cheaper on the hydro bill than it would be to run 100 kW of

SOWNY » Will These Be The 1st Cdn. OTA TV Subcarriers Or Something Else? » December 7, 2020 2:59 pm

fybush
Replies: 23

Go to post

RadioActive wrote:

Does anyone else experience this issue with this particular station?  

It's possible you're actually getting too MUCH signal, depending on how close you are to the CN Tower. DTV tuners don't like getting overloaded, and it can manifest itself as a loss of signal. You might try to use less antenna - maybe even as little as a bent paperclip - and see if it helps matters any.

If it does, you can get tuned traps (Tin Lee right there in Toronto makes good ones) that can reduce the signal level for Global (RF 17, if memory serves) that will reduce the signal level for just that station while still letting other signals through at full amplification. 
 

SOWNY » Will These Be The 1st Cdn. OTA TV Subcarriers Or Something Else? » December 7, 2020 11:55 am

fybush
Replies: 23

Go to post

Here's the most comprehensive explanation I can give of who's gone where in Buffalo during the repack:

WGRZ: Has always operated from its longtime site in South Wales (southeast of Buffalo). Stayed on RF 33 in the repack. 

WIVB: Analog in Colden (south of Buffalo), original RF 39 digital in Colden, initial pre-repack (2017) signal sharing with WNLO from the WNED tower on Grand Island on RF 32. Final post-repack signal on RF 36 shared with WNLO back at the WIVB tower in Colden. (Initially at lower power from a side-mounted antenna there, then at full power beginning June 2020.) 

WKBW: Has always operated from its own tower in Colden, just south of the WIVB site. Moved from RF 38 to RF 34 in the repack. (I think there had been some discussion with WKBW about channel-sharing with WNED at one point, but nothing ever came to fruition.)

WNED: Has always operated from its own tower on Grand Island. Moved from RF 43 to RF 31 in the repack. 

WNLO: Analog on the WNED Grand Island tower, pre-repack digital on Grand Island RF 32, shared with WIVB since 2017, final post-repack digital shared with WIVB at the WIVB Colden tower, on RF 36. 

WUTV: Analog on its own Grand Island site (just west of WNED), pre-repack digital from Grand Island on RF 14, temporary post-repack digital under STA on RF 32 from the former WNLO facility on the WNED tower (April-September 2020), permanent post-repack digital at the WUTV Grand Island site on RF 32. 

WNYO: Analog from Cowlesville, Wyoming County (east of Buffalo), pre-repack digital from Cowlesville on RF 49, post-repack digital (first under STA and since Sept. at full power) from the WUTV Grand Island site on RF 16.

WPXJ: Analog and pre-repack digital (RF 23) from Pavilion, Genesee County (halfway between Buffalo and Rochester), post-repack digital from the former WNYO Cowlesville site on RF 24. (No more indoor antenna reception in Rochester for us!)

WBBZ: No changes in the repack - its digital signal on RF 7 is the same as it's a

SOWNY » Will These Be The 1st Cdn. OTA TV Subcarriers Or Something Else? » December 6, 2020 9:37 pm

fybush
Replies: 23

Go to post

We have come a long, long way from the days where one transmitter = one license = one programming stream = one "station."

In a sense, Canada was already a bit ahead of US regulators: in the US, in the analog era, every transmitter required its own separate license. Some ("translators") might not have originated their own programming, but they still had individual licenses that could be sold or moved or transferred or what have you, independently of the station they relayed. By contrast, Canada was quicker to separate "license" and "transmitter" into separate categories - CHCH had its original channel 11 license in Hamilton, and then added more transmitters in London, Ottawa, cottage country, etc., all under the CHCH license. 

Then came digital TV and its ability to broadcast multiple program streams over a single transmitter. The "display channel" can be whatever you set it to be in the encoder - it's literally just a forwarding address that tells the tuner in your TV which video and audio streams to pull out of the overall data stream and display to you. 

Licenses still exist on paper and still matter for some aspects of the broadcast regulatory scheme south of the border. Because WNLO is a separate "full-power" license from WIVB, it enjoys certain rights, especially with respect to asserting must-carry rights on cable and satellite - it's entitled to those rights in a way that a "subchannel" of the WIVB license wouldn't be. 

(And yet - WNLO could start using 4.2 as its virtual channel and would still be considered a separate license with its own must-carry rights; those go with the license on paper and not with the virtual channel number.) 

Another twist down here involves "low-power" licenses and channel sharing. You can have a station that held a low-power analog license but has entered into a channel-sharing agreement with a full-power station, like the NBC owned-and-operated station in Boston. "Low-power?" Only in its license status (which means it's

SOWNY » WBUF-FM Buffalo Doesn't Know Jack After Format Flip » November 26, 2020 1:57 pm

fybush
Replies: 19

Go to post

mace wrote:

Fybush: Are any of the other Toronto area FM's somewhat listenable in the Rochester area. I am familiar with most of the major Rochester locations [92.5, 96.5, 97.9, 98.9, 100.5, 101.3 etc.] However, I don't know the suburban or probably numerous translator frequencys in the area.

It's pretty much all gone here now. 98.1 was always tricky because of WPXY on 97.9. 102.1 was creamed a few years back when a new religious station went on the air in Albion, about 25 miles west of here, on the same frequency. Q107 was decent here... until Canada allowed CJTN in Trenton/Quinte West to share that channel. That created a fight between the two Canadians on 107.1 here, and then a translator for WDCX-AM 990 was licensed on 107.1 on the west side of Rochester.

Up closer to the lake (I'm on the southeast side of town), CKFM still comes in adequately in some areas. CJRT is probably the single best Toronto FM that's usable here, assuming you're not too close to the HD from WXXI-FM on Pinnacle Hill two channels up. And although we have a class A signal on 94.1 here, once you get to western Monroe County it sometimes gets a fight from CBL-FM in Brockport and points west. 
 

SOWNY » WBUF-FM Buffalo Doesn't Know Jack After Format Flip » November 26, 2020 11:01 am

fybush
Replies: 19

Go to post

RadioActive wrote:

WBUF used to come in here like a local. Then a few years ago, I seem to recall they moved their transmitter farther south and they all but disappeared. I can't recall the last time I got a listenable signal from them.

In fact, come to think of it, almost all the Buffalo FMs used to come in great. Outside of the superpowers like WTSS and WDCX (and I suppose WKSE) almost nothing comes in here anymore. I remember when both WGRF and what was then WYSL-FM put amazing signals into Toronto. Not anymore. I used to love WHTT. Haven't heard it over the air in years.

Believe it or not, the move WBUF made in the early 2000s was northward, not southward. The original 92.9 site was in the hills south of Buffalo, just off Rt. 219 in the town of Boston, and it was a superpower signal - 75 kW, I think. 96.9 was on the channel 2 tower a few miles to the east. Those were great, high-altitude sites for wide-area coverage, but they had issues in the city of Buffalo because the three FMs on the Rand Building (93.7, 96.1, 106.5) right in the middle of downtown tend to overload the front ends of radios and make it hard to get anything from outlying towers. 

So 92.9 and 96.9 both moved into the city of Buffalo, on the old Channel 17 tower in North Buffalo (which sits behind the channel 4 studios on Elmwood Avenue.) Better signal strength in the core of the market, a little less wide-area coverage. 

And even though both signals moved a little closer to Canada, in the meantime Canada filled its FM dial with new interference. It's harder to get 92.9 in Toronto than it used to be because of the new 92.9 in Haldimand-Norfolk, the power increase on CKIS (and the addition of HD to that signal), and so on. 

We've made the same mess of things down here, of course. The last vestiges of my ability to listen to CHUM-FM over the air around Rochester went away when a new translator hit the air on 104.5 from Bristol Mountain. I have to be west of Batavia now to hear CHUM

SOWNY » 50th anniversary of an FM Antenna - nothing for CN? » November 3, 2020 1:30 pm

fybush
Replies: 11

Go to post

RadioActive wrote:

This one's for you Mr. Fybush. I'm not certain if anyone else will be interested in it, but the Washington Post has the story of the end of an era involving legendary D.C. radio station WMAL. 

"For Bethesda resident David Sproul, who was WMAL’s chief engineer when he retired in 2014 after 40 years at the station, losing the towers feels personal. 

“I think I’ve seen that site my whole adult life,” Sproul said. “When it’s gone, it’s going to be a real blow. It will definitely be the end of a long, long chapter that’s bigger than any one of us.”

"When Sproul started at the station as a relief engineer in 1973, the station’s studios were near the towers in a small brick building. While the Beltway now emanates a distant, dull roar, the area was once so quiet that announcers would broadcast with the windows open."


WMAL Radio Towers Coming Down After 77 Years 

Dave gave me a very nice tour out there a few years ago, just before they moved the transmitter and demolished the building. 

https://www.fybush.com/site-of-the-week-62416-a-last-look-at-wmal-washington/

Under other circumstances that wouldn't involve a two-week quarantine (and missing election night coverage at WXXI!), I'd have made the drive down to DC to watch them come down. 
 

SOWNY » Can You “Rent” An FM Frequency? It’s Forcing A Station Sign-Off » November 3, 2020 12:11 pm

fybush
Replies: 9

Go to post

Saul wrote:

That's one I've heard (once only, June 2018) from north Kawarthas. Guess no more...

The signal is still on the air, being programmed by the actual licensee while they look for a new buyer/renter. You'll hear it again!
 

SOWNY » 50th anniversary of an FM Antenna - nothing for CN? » November 3, 2020 11:58 am

fybush
Replies: 11

Go to post

That was a really fun night at Empire! It was an incredible amount of engineering talent all packed into one room for the evening. Alas, the Alford antenna came down during renovations at the building a few years ago. (But I managed to get one antenna bay, which now lives in my backyard.) 

I think the Alford at Empire got attention because it was first. By the time CN went up, big combiner installs had become relatively commonplace. And yes, the original combiner (with some later additions for 107.1, 102.1 and 97.3) is still in use up there, so far as I know. 

SOWNY » 1510 kHz Caledon and 1110 kHz Caledon East? » October 29, 2020 7:10 pm

fybush
Replies: 4

Go to post

A couple of things here:

First: FCCData.org isn't the FCC. It's an independent broadcast consultant, Michi Bradley, who does a really stellar job of trying to synthesize data from the FCC, CRTC, ISEDC and other worldwide broadcast regulators and present it in clearer forms than the agencies themselves do. 

Second: The data the FCC itself collects has never purported to be an accurate list of what facilities are actually on the air in Canada. It's only in the FCC database to provide the information we in the US need to file applications that provide the protections to Canadian stations required by international treaty. What's reported to the US by Canada (and vice versa) isn't what's really on the air. It's a list that combines what's on the air, what was once on the air and remains "internationally notified," and in some cases facilities that have been "proposed," have never been on the air and will never be on the air. 

In some cases, facilities that change in Canada don't get properly re-notified to the US, and that seems to be where CHML got caught when it made its big move, 30 or so years back, from the escarpment near Stony Creek way out to the new 8-tower site halfway to Cambridge. The FCC database still contains the 5 kW facility on the Escarpment, and the day and night facilities that are really on the air from the current site. 

Michi's site does show most of this data correctly, but there are some glitches. For some reason, her version of the FCC data for CHML puts all three records (the old 5 kW facility and the current 50 kW day and night) at the escarpment site. I don't know why, and will drop her a line to see about getting it fixed. 

If you choose the Canada data tab on her site and search CHML by calls, you get both the correct current CHML 50 kW facilities (listed as "CHML") and its auxiliary/backup 5 kW plant at that same site ("CHML-AX1"). Her site is a little glitchy when it comes to the kind of distance search Scorpio was trying to do.

SOWNY » Leading With Their "CHIN": A Question About Call Letters » October 22, 2020 2:18 pm

fybush
Replies: 17

Go to post

RadioAaron wrote:

fybush wrote:

As for ratings: nobody's writing anything about "CHIN" or "91.9" in a diary, because Toronto is a PPM meter market.

Numeris does run a simultaneous diary survey in PPM markets. It's not publicy published (you can find it if you know your way around one of the ratings software programs), but used for the audience profile information that the sales departments love.

For PPM, the CHIN stations don't encode anyway.
 

I did not know that! I don't believe Nielsen Audio does anything similar in PPM markets here, but I'm not a ratings expert. (I'll ask my guru friends about it, though.)
 

SOWNY » Leading With Their "CHIN": A Question About Call Letters » October 22, 2020 11:18 am

fybush
Replies: 17

Go to post

As for ratings: nobody's writing anything about "CHIN" or "91.9" in a diary, because Toronto is a PPM meter market. That may be one reason CHIN hasn't bothered to sort out any confusion - Numeris provides separate encoders for 1540, 91.9 and 100.7, and the meters log separate listening for each frequency. 

And about that "CHIN-FM-AX1" - ISEDC, unlike the FCC, appears to issue a completely separate license for auxiliary/standby facilities. "CHIN-FM-AX1" is the auxiliary/standby to keep CHIN-FM 100.7 on the air when the CN Tower is out of service - it's a 230-watt signal from the Church Street studios, if I'm reading the records correctly. It has nothing to do with 91.9.

If there were a standby/aux for 91.9, it would presumably be CHIN-1-FM-AX1. My head hurts!

SOWNY » Leading With Their "CHIN": A Question About Call Letters » October 22, 2020 11:13 am

fybush
Replies: 17

Go to post

The FCC database is not a reliable source of information about Canadian call letters. Canadian data in the FCC database exists only to tell US consulting engineers (like me) what Canadian signals must be protected under international treaty obligations. It often bears little to no resemblance to what's actually on the air across the border, because treaties often require protection to facilities that don't exist anymore or in some cases never existed. Sometimes there are no call letters attached to those protected facilities at all. 

The better source for actual callsigns, to the extent those matter anymore, is ISEDC (the old Industry Canada). Looking at the ISEDC database via FCCdata.org (which is not an FCC site, but rather a privately-run, US-based site that amalgamates data from several international regulators), it appears the actual record for the current 91.9 facility is this one:

https://fccdata.org/?lang=en&canfm=CHIN-1-FM

The callsign for 91.9 is "CHIN-1-FM," which in the ISEDC system is distinct from "CHIN-FM" or a hypothetical "CHIN-FM-1," To the extent I understand how ISEDC does it, it works like this:

"CHIN" (four letters, no suffix) would be an AM station.
"CHIN-FM" (four letters, -FM suffix) would be an FM station.
"CHIN-1" (four letters, number suffix) would be an AM station, generally one that relays another AM station.
"CHIN-1-FM" (four letters, number suffix, then -FM) would be an FM station that relays an AM station.
"CHIN-FM-1" (four letters, -FM, then number suffix) would be an FM station that relays another FM station.

So it makes sense that "CHIN-1-FM" would be an FM station (originally on 101.3, then on 91.9) relaying "CHIN" from the AM dial, right? Just like it makes sense that "CJKX-FM-2" is an FM station (on 89.9, in this case) that relays another FM station, CJKX-FM from Ajax.

But there are some caveats.

First, ISEDC isn't always consistent. The 107.7 signal in Oshawa really should be "CKDO-1-FM," since it's an FM relay of "CKD

SOWNY » CityPulse's smashing LiveEye truck » October 15, 2020 7:03 pm

fybush
Replies: 14

Go to post

RadioActive wrote:

The article talks about using the phrase "The City Is Our Newsroom." I know the guy who suggested this and it was hardly original. He saw it in an ad used by WABC-TV and suggested it to Stephen Hurlbut, the news director. He loved it and the station effectively stole it from the New York station. It certainly fit their image. 

Everybody steals from everybody.

When I started in TV here in Rochester in '97, it was at an all-news local cable channel owned by what was then Time Warner. 

It operated out of a newsroom set with lots of fake exposed brick, with the anchors moving from desk to desk and perching on the corners to do their intros. The whole on-air look was blatantly ripped off from City, and our (now late) news director happily admitted as much. 

SOWNY » Is AM Equipment Obsolete? Stn. Insists That's Why They Should Be On FM » September 30, 2020 8:44 pm

fybush
Replies: 11

Go to post

There's some legitimacy to the general argument CKDY is making. There aren't many companies making AM transmitters anymore, especially at higher power levels. Harris/GatesAir, which was one of the biggest players in the field, phased out its existing AM lines a couple of years ago and hasn't replaced them with promised new models. That's a big problem at power levels above 5 kW, where the choices were already down to just GatesAir's aging DX10 and 3DX50 models, or Nautel's newer designs. Now it's literally a single-source product: if you want a 10, 25 or 50 kW transmitter, it's Nautel or nothing. At lower power levels, there are some options from Broadcast Electronics and Armstrong, but they're also old designs and/or rebadged imports. Many of the other companies that were once in the field, such as Continental, no longer offer AM transmitters at all. 

The number of companies that still do the very specialized work of designing and manufacturing AM-specific components such as phasors and antenna tuning units is also shrinking, and too many of them are one-man bands run by engineers in their 60s, 70s or older. Once they go, there aren't very many people out there with that specialized expertise. 

I am a relatively young engineer, at least by US broadcast engineering standards (and I'm pushing 50), and while I can find my way around an FM installation fairly competently, I don't even begin to pretend to know high-power or directional AM well enough to do those jobs solo. We're insanely lucky here in Rochester to have at least three guys in town younger than me who do have those AM skills, so our AMs here aren't in any immediate danger. But I know a lot of other markets where that's no longer the case, and that's very worrisome. 

SOWNY » Does Big Deal Mean Big Changes Coming To Some Buffalo Subcarriers? » September 24, 2020 1:07 pm

fybush
Replies: 4

Go to post

Read this on thefly.com: "Katz today pays leasing fees to other broadcasters for multicast distribution. As Katz's current distribution contracts expire, its programming will be migrated to ION stations' digital subchannels."

SOWNY » Does Big Deal Mean Big Changes Coming To Some Buffalo Subcarriers? » September 24, 2020 12:00 pm

fybush
Replies: 4

Go to post

The FCC rules for a deal like this say that you can't have more than two full-power licenses under common ownership in any market, and that in markets that would have fewer than eight separate owners, you can't form a duopoly at all, unless you get a "failing station" waiver.

Buffalo currently has eight owners: TEGNA (WGRZ), Nexstar (WIVB/WNLO), Scripps (WKBW), WNYPBA (WNED), TCT (WNYB), Sinclair (WUTV/WNYO), Ion (WPXJ) and ITV (WBBZ). So the letter of the rules says Scripps can't buy WPXJ.

In theory, they could apply for a failing-station waiver. In practice, the trades are reporting that Ion and Scripps have a deal where 23 of the 71 Ion stations will be spun off to comply with ownership rules, and while it doesn't say so specifically, I'm sure WPXJ is among those 23. 

But there's always a "but," and the but here is that they've lined up an unnamed buyer who will maintain the Ion affiliations on those 23 spinoff stations. My guess is that it will end up being a shared-services deal (like the one under which Sinclair manages WHAM-TV here in Rochester, and that WPXJ will still end up being effectively run by WKBW anyway. 

SOWNY » Mighty Q Once More! » September 17, 2020 11:12 am

fybush
Replies: 42

Go to post

Radiowiz wrote:

AMFM wrote:

Elmnt should never have jumped into the PPM's this quickly.  How many books can you have; before the very upper brass notice that 0.0 is never going to make it.  Even Jazz FM & Classical; which are considered fringe formats have always shown something.  Especially Classical.

See, now that's why I was wondering if there's a PPM tone even when a station doesn't pay for it. No pay = 0.0 
Paying would give a more accurate reading, maybe?

I'm not sure how Numeris does it, but in the US Nielsen sends encoder boxes to every station in a PPM market, whether they're subscribers or not. Data for those stations is collected and is available to paying subscribers, but is not included in the public ratings releases from Nielsen. 

My experience is that most stations in PPM markets install the boxes even if they're not subscribers - but I know of at least a few that don't, either because they think the PPM tones reduce the quality of their audio, or because they simply have no interest in participating in the ratings system. 
 

SOWNY » New Book Traces History Of Buffalo Broadcasting » September 17, 2020 10:11 am

fybush
Replies: 10

Go to post

Steve's not wrong about how expensive the postage has become. I cringe every time I have to pony up to send one of my Tower Site Calendars across the border. The shipping nearly doubles the US$20 cost of he calendar. 

I have some Canadian fans who buy the calendar, and I'm happy to send it if they're willing to pay the price, but yeah, it's steep, and Steve's also correct that the customs forms have become more complex. 

I'm wide open to finding an easier solution that would allow both of us to better serve Canadian audiences!

SOWNY » Classical 96.3 Breaking Format For Unusual Religious Broadcasts » September 17, 2020 10:08 am

fybush
Replies: 1

Go to post

Over here across the lake, my synagogue has simulcast its Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur evening services on classical WXXI-FM for many years. 

This year, we're not holding services in person, and so we're doing Zoom-based services and simulcasting that audio on WXXI. I hope it all works!!

SOWNY » Can A Newscast That Promises Opinion-Free Stories Get An Audience? » August 31, 2020 11:14 am

fybush
Replies: 7

Go to post

You won't actually see NewsNation in Canada, because it's on the "WGN America" cable channel, which is a completely different program schedule from WGN-TV in Chicago - and because of the way the CRTC regulates cable superstation carriage, it's the WGN-TV Chicago feed that gets carried in Canada, not WGN America.

(Same deal with the TBS Network versus the former WTBS-TV Atlanta, which is now the "Peachtree TV" WPCH-TV independent station that you get across Canada, while we get the national TBS network. Those services aren't even commonly owned anymore - TBS Network is part of the former Turner Broadcasting, which became part of TimeWarner and eventually AT&T, while WPCH-TV is now owned by Meredith.)

SOWNY » The old 1510 AM CKOT Tillsonburg transmitter location » August 24, 2020 1:31 pm

fybush
Replies: 2

Go to post

The three-tower array was south of Courtland off the south side of county road 21, just east of county road 23. 

I have pictures, somewhere, from the last days of AM operation there...

SOWNY » Caribbean Canadian radio station up for sale » July 16, 2020 4:10 pm

fybush
Replies: 38

Go to post

RadioAaron wrote:

96.7 *shouldn't* count as it's just a fill-in repeater. Durham Radio in Oshawa is the only precedence-setting example I can think of.

Plenty of examples of FM transmitters for an AM licence not counting against the FM cap - in Chatham/Kent, CFCO's 92.9 doesn't prevent them from owning two full-power FMs in town, 94.3 and 95.1. Same in Sarnia, with the 103.9 fill-in for CHOK 1070 co-owned with two full-power FMs, 99.9 and 106.3. 
 

SOWNY » WJJL to become WEBR » July 14, 2020 4:38 pm

fybush
Replies: 54

Go to post

Dale Patterson wrote:

]Found this on the Channel 7 report on Jack Horohoe, linked above. (They've put up a video if you visited the page earlier and didn't see the story.)

It briefly shows an ad for WNIA (now WECK) at 1230 AM, and it's a perfect example of a terrible idea that was once a part of broadcasting. All the names listed on the promotional material were owned by the station - and everyone who worked there had to use them, depending on which time slot you were on. Mike Melody, for instance, was the afternoon drive jock. Forever.

As the afternoon guy at the moment on 1370 in Rochester, WNIA's erstwhile sister station WSAY (which predated WNIA in Gordon Brown's ownership by 20 years)... I've been tempted now and again to introduce myself as "Mike Melody" just to continue the tradition!
 

SOWNY » WJJL to become WEBR » June 24, 2020 9:38 am

fybush
Replies: 54

Go to post

paterson1 wrote:

Maybe they will apply for a "translator" at some point to better compete with Jewel's big coverage area? 

The FCC had only a limited series of application windows for AM stations to apply for new FM translators, and those windows have been closed for two years now.

WJJL didn't ever apply for one, and so they're most likely out of luck now when it comes to getting one. (Not that there are any available frequencies, even if the FCC were still taking applications.) 

As for WZDV, it indeed wipes out useful CKPC-FM reception over a big swath of the Buffalo area now. But it was deliberately designed with a rather directional antenna. It's impressive to hear how well the WZDV pattern protects the Canadian border. You can take a 10-minute drive from the 290/990 interchange in Amherst, almost within sight of the WZDV antenna (it's on WBFO's tower next to the UB north campus) over to the south Grand Island bridge, and by the time you've crossed Grand Island and headed into Niagara Falls NY, WZDV has completely given way to CKPC.

Board footera