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SOWNY » The Tall One, Dick Williams Returns to 980 CFPL » February 25, 2021 12:08 pm

darcyh
Replies: 14

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What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

This will be much better than their current practice of rerunning an old weekday talk show; I have made myself a note to tune in. I wish Dick and his team much success.


 

SOWNY » Alan Cross on why he treasures the magic of AM radio » February 16, 2021 9:00 pm

darcyh
Replies: 20

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Fitz wrote:

AM can sound good but the equipment is not widely available and static filled environment is also a problem.

A new test for a reasonable AM signal. This time I tried the internet stream for AM 540 The Goat and put that through my AM stereo transmitter and it sounds good still short of FM. My basement is static city for AM but having the transmitter 2 feet from the receiver seems to mostly alleviate the static problem. This station BTW actually transmits in AM stereo.  My antenna was misaligned for the first few minutes resulting in a recption problem.

I have also included a second sample on a mono receiver that has been with the family since at least 1975 and the AM signal strength on that was at 5, a reading that receiver has not seen since the days of cable FM. The pic below is of the receiver on AM mono.

AM can sound go but the technology has by-passed us and I guess you have to be close to the transmitter to reap the benefits but a pro outfit would of course sound good a few miles out.


The Goat Album Rock in Stereo

MONO


https://lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Marantz.jpg


 

Fitz: That sure is a nice receiver. I once owned a Marantz AM / FM tuner and was pleasantly surprised by how nice a strong static free AM signal could sound. 

SOWNY » SHANE Brother Shane » February 16, 2021 8:53 pm

darcyh
Replies: 18

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I very much enjoyed his show on GR-55 and also remember the humble sign off. 

To this listener Shane had a unique style; with passion for the music and appeared to genuinely enjoy what he was doing, you could just tell that.

Sad to hear of his passing.

SOWNY » TSN 1150 Hamilton is no more » February 11, 2021 2:12 am

darcyh
Replies: 61

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There is a gentleman who has an interesting blog site http://www.engineeringradio.us/blog/
I find his site quite interesting from a radio technical point as well as his opinion which in my opinion is usually well considered. Here is his take on comedy radio, for what it's worth.

"Worse than sports radio, 24/7 comedy is the absolute death knell.  This is like saying; we are out of ideas and we do not care."

http://www.engineeringradio.us/blog/2016/08/%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%be%d1%89%d0%b0%d1%82%d1%8c%d1%81%d1%8f/
 

SOWNY » Is the clock ticking for ageing AM broadcast facilities? » February 4, 2021 12:31 pm

darcyh
Replies: 9

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Like Tim Brown 2016 says, it's the physics of the frequency or wavelength of the signal on the AM band. Many / most AM stations are directional and send their signal toward the area they wish to serve. This reduces interference and allows more use of the frequency in other areas.

Because of the wavelength stations require additional towers spaced appropriately that interact with each other to create the directional pattern. This pattern often changes at sunset / sunrise. The towers are usually spaced 100's of feet apart.  Some stations can achieve this with two or three towers, others need five or more. CJBK 1290 in London has eight or nine towers, hence the requirement for a relatively large parcel of land.

I think there are many stations that renewed their sites in the 1970's and 80's when AM was making them decent money. Forty to fifty years has passed (it sure flew by didn't it) and these transmitter sites are approaching the end of their useful life. 

When Bell shut down CKSL 1410 London, they claimed it would cost in excess of three million dollars to bring the site up to current safety requirements and the station's ratings / revenue were too low to justify the costs of doing so.
 

SOWNY » Is the clock ticking for ageing AM broadcast facilities? » February 2, 2021 12:34 pm

darcyh
Replies: 9

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From what I have read, it appears that a well built and maintained directional AM transmitter array consisting of several towers can be expected to last 40 to 60 years before the towers and ground radials will need to be rebuilt / replaced. The former CKSL was built in 1964 and its towers held up well enough to operate through 2016. That's 52 years of operation. The station owners asked to shut it down due to the expense of replacing its aging towers among other issues.

In the last 15 - 20 years CKLW AM 800 Windsor and CHYM 570 Kitchener have replaced their towers giving them another potential 30 years of service. So if say 50 years is kind of a benchmark for the life of a transmitter facility, how many AM stations are approaching the service life limit of their sites. I'm sure there are variances in my 50 year life expediency depending on the soil and type of materials used so some sites may do better than 50 years and some less.

For profitable stations that have budgeted for the eventual replacement of their towers / equipment this would probably not be a problem; they will replace as necessary. What about the marginal ones where only a small profit is made. As the site ages out what do they do? Especially if the land their site occupies is adjacent to cities with ever increasing land values. I have a feeling in the next decade we may see more stations go silent as the clock ticks.

What do your think?
 

SOWNY » The CTV Cuts & Broadcasting's Future? » February 1, 2021 12:11 pm

darcyh
Replies: 24

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Is there any market for a classic country format?

Given CKOC's big signal they could offer a unique format to a large coverage area and solicit advertisers from out of town. I acknowledge this won't target the coveted age range of the audience everyone is after, but most of this younger audience isn't listening to AM anyway. The station could be highly automated and run with a minimum of staff.

CKNX 920 seems to be holding their own with a sort of hybrid classic and modern country format.

If not classic country, what about a mix of country, folk and rock. There is a station from Port Huron Michigan calling itself the "Hill" at 1590 and a low power translator mono FM at 92.7 doing this style.

SOWNY » Numeris II » January 20, 2021 12:29 pm

darcyh
Replies: 4

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My wife received one of these yesterday. It's a thick booklet and took her at least an hour to complete. No wonder they put a five dollar bill in it.

The survey asks extensive questions about what restaurants you have patronized as well as movies, concerts and live events. It also asks about what stores you have shopped at, travel, out of country vacations etc. Most of the questions pertain to the last year and sometimes the last month. Given the widespread lock downs / restrictions that have been on and off for the last ten months, my wife's answers were very different than they would have been if we were in 'normal' times. For example, we would have eaten at many more restaurants, traveled and shopped much more if covid was not around. Perhaps this is what they are attempting to measure?

There were also a lot of questions with respect to radio. One that stuck me as odd was how many hours / minutes do you listen to radio between 01:00 and 0:500. Unless you are a night hawk or work the night shift most people are sleeping. Then they ask how many hours / minutes do you listen to radio from 0:500 to 01:00. She and I re-read the questions several times to be clear about the time they were asking about and not confusing the time windows.

She earned the $5





 

SOWNY » Veteran CKLW Newsman Grant Hudson Has Died » January 8, 2021 12:16 pm

darcyh
Replies: 7

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Up unit a few months ago Mr. Hudson was doing a Friday night oldies music show on WTWW 5085 mhz shortwave which was very enjoyable. He certainly had style.

WTWW still has a few well known personalities from CKLW and other stations do a show from 21:00 to 01:00 EST. In addition to the shortwave signal they have a very good sounding stereo stream. Web site: wtww.us

SOWNY » Radio Disney Going Silent » December 21, 2020 11:36 am

darcyh
Replies: 5

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I recall Radio Disney purchased a station in Flint Michigan and moved it to Detroit. I think its frequency was 910 khz. They constructed a highly directional 9 tower transmitter site to enable a 50 KW signal. That would have been an expensive project. The station ran as Radio Disney perhaps for a decade and was sold at a significant loss to a Christian broadcaster. When it was on its night pattern you would lose the signal 15 miles east of Windsor.

SOWNY » Sony HD Radio » December 21, 2020 11:27 am

darcyh
Replies: 6

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Those Sony HD tuners do a suburb job DX'ing on the FM band. Great adjacent channel selectivity.

SOWNY » Tings and this and that » December 21, 2020 11:23 am

darcyh
Replies: 21

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RadioActive wrote:

WABC in New York became the most listened to radio station on the planet at the height of its Top 40 days with a playlist of just 14 songs - and a few extras to fill things out. The idea was that whenever you tuned in, you'd hear the biggest hits of the moment. It worked better than anyone ever dreamed.

If you look at the chart below, you know every single song - except perhaps "Stir It Up & Serve It" by Tommy Roe, which I can't say I've ever heard of. 

https://i.ibb.co/Sdxn16b/WABC-New-York-March-2-1970-Dan-Ingram-Chart.jpg
 

What's really striking about this list is the vast differences in the styles of music. Ballads, soul, funk, rock and even bubble-gum on one 15 track playlist of very distinct songs. Compare that to the content of today's top 40 format where one synthesizer note blends into another. No wonder top 40 radio was so popular in those times. Thanks for the list.

SOWNY » CERB song » December 13, 2020 10:32 pm

darcyh
Replies: 22

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Fitz wrote:

The CFCA clip was Ken Sylvester doing "Beat of the Bands", their Saturday night big band show.  Ken was an interesting fellow.  He even did a show and wrote and voiced lots of interesting local history bits for the noon news program on CKMS at the University of Waterloo a few years earlier.  He was even a mall santa during christmas time.

A lot of the shows in the evenings were voicetracked.  Among them, morning stalwart Fred Merritt would prepare a voicetrack for other shift on the station which started at 11:00 P.M. which featured music by, and I quote directly from him, "The strings, The Singers, and The Orchestra".
 

Ah, CFCA, 'An Experience to Remember' was their tagline for many years.  What a great easy listening / beautiful music station it was. I believe Fred's evening program was called "Night Flight" from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am. Before that show I think they did some classical stuff. They played quite a variety of music. 

I think CFCA had a lot of dedicated listeners with the beautiful music format. In the early 2000's they changed format and ownership. Many of the announcers left the station with some re-surfacing on CKWR FM 98.5 a local community station. Fred Merritt being among them. For a while they re-created the CFCA sound through the day albeit on a much less powerful station signal wise. That seemed to continue for a few years. The format must have had some success or CKWR would not have continued with it for so long. 

CFCA became Kool FM with a rather banal assortment of cookie-cutter music for the younger demographic. Last time I checked seemed to be broadcasting the Virgin format whatever that is. CFCA today is certainly not "An Experience to Remember" All dates quoted are very approximate.

SOWNY » CERB song » December 13, 2020 9:52 pm

darcyh
Replies: 22

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With no musical talent to profess I've had this great idea floating in my head for a CERB song. It would certainly be uniquely Canadian with the reference to the acronym CERB. 

The song would have to be a heavy rocker with a great guitar riff and the vocals would go some thing like:
I want my CERB money; then lots of guitar, the vocals would pick back up: I need my CERB money; more guitar, Just have to have that CERB money. That's the chorus. Any takers?

SOWNY » Why More & More AM Antenna Sites Are Up For Sale » December 11, 2020 11:27 am

darcyh
Replies: 15

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Another reason AM transmitter sites require so much room: generally there are about 120 'ground radials' wires buried a few inches below the surface of the ground. These radials come out from the tower base like spokes on a wagon wheel and can be hundreds of feet in length depending on the tower height and frequency of the station. Directional stations use multiple towers to aim their signal thus requiring additional space. For me a directional AM array is a tribute to engineering and a sight to behold.

SOWNY » Where Were You The Night John Lennon Died? » December 8, 2020 8:47 pm

darcyh
Replies: 6

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Great story paterson1. The days when radio was live. Sure do miss those.

SOWNY » Boom & Stingray To Play Nothing But John Lennon & Beatles On Dec. 8 » December 8, 2020 8:43 pm

darcyh
Replies: 18

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Well, there there goes their cancon commitment for the day.

In my opinion Lennon and the Beatles were and still are overrated.
 

SOWNY » A Little Red Meat For the CBC Haters.. » December 5, 2020 12:33 pm

darcyh
Replies: 21

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I've said it before. If the entire CBC machine went off the air tomorrow would anyone be hurt?

Assuming that was transferred to the provinces and used for this purpose, how many hospitals could have been built with the last 10 years with CBC's budget?

CBC may have been relevant in the early days of broadcasting to 'unite' Canadians, but all it does now is sew dissent between the left and right. Hardly a uniting factor.

I understand lots of folks will disagree and I respect their opinions.

SOWNY » Short-term formats » December 5, 2020 12:23 pm

darcyh
Replies: 33

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The now silent CKSL 1410 London was probably ahead of its time with their News Talk for the 90's format. It was backed with top-notch and probably expensive talent. They had a great morning team, an excellent news guy (George Gordon I believe) and two of the best talk shows hosts in the market: Jim Chapman and Andy Oudman.  Alas, it did not seem to last very long; maybe two years then it went to a oldies format.

I listened to CKSL a lot during that time, I wish they had been able to make this profitable. Perhaps if they had they would not be silent today. Here's a you tube link for a TV commercial from that era.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0epgSelThsU


 

SOWNY » Short-term formats » December 5, 2020 12:09 pm

darcyh
Replies: 33

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paterson1 wrote:

Bayshore is still not afraid to create new formats.  89.1 MAX FM in Orillia has their Alternative North offering.  Pretty daring for a commercial station to have this format in a small market and in the middle of cottage country.  They play alternative music. new music, some local artists and songs/artists rarely heard in much larger markets, other than maybe college radio.

I agree with paterson1

Bayshore is one of the bright lights out there in terms of keeping their stations somewhat local and distinct. 

 

SOWNY » suggestions » December 3, 2020 8:44 pm

darcyh
Replies: 32

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One Tin Soldier by (take your choice) Coven or The Original Caste

SOWNY » Rogers' 1310 News Flips To FM In Ottawa. Is National Rebranding Next? » December 3, 2020 8:37 pm

darcyh
Replies: 47

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That 1310 is a pretty big signal. I believe its 50 kilowatts. In Southern Ontario it overrides a Spanish language station from Detroit after sunset.

SOWNY » Have You Noticed Something Odd About Current Pop Top 40 Music? » November 27, 2020 2:22 am

darcyh
Replies: 14

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Geez, I can hardly tell when one song ends and the next begins; they all sound the same.

SOWNY » Rogers cullings go deep and wide » November 27, 2020 2:15 am

darcyh
Replies: 5

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I hope they have a back up plan in case the network ever goes down or there will be a lot of quiet carriers in place of programming.

SOWNY » Toronto Station Gets Extension For 1490 AM Repeater Sign On Date » November 9, 2020 5:05 pm

darcyh
Replies: 11

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RadioActive wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

Paul Jeffries wrote:

An AM repeater for an AM station? That's the first time I've ever heard of that. I wonder what type of hoops they had to jump through to get that?


PJ

I think back in the day there were a few AM stations that had repeaters.  CFOS 560 Owen Sound had CFPS in Port Elgin, oddly enough at 1490.  CFPS signed on in June 1978 and was a repeater for CFOS for decades.  CFPS did have offices and a few news reporters to cover the Huron coast.

Now the station is known as the Beach at 97.9 and has been more or less a stand alone station since 2005.  CFPS will have a repeater FM satellite in Tobermory later this year, branding themselves as The Wave.

And let's not forget CKBB 950 AM Barrie and CKCB 1400 AM in Collingwood. I remember before the station(s) switched to FM what a mouthful it was having to say the two sets of call letters every time they ID'd themselves on air.

I think CKCB also had some periods where it provided local content separate from CKBB.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdqZXmO1eGU

SOWNY » GTA's Reception Congestion: 7 FMs Crowded Into One Area Of The Dial » October 29, 2020 11:22 am

darcyh
Replies: 20

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Jody Thornton wrote:

The two tiny stations I worked at went from AM to FM:

In Cambridge, CFTJ at 1320 KHz later became CIAM (AM 96) at 960 KHz.  In 1998, it switched to 92.9 MHz to become the The Zone@92.9.  They later moved to 107.5 MHz as CJDV.  To become Dave-FM, or Dave Rocks now, I suppose it is.

In Simcoe, CHNR at 1600 KHz, became CHCD at 106.7 MHz, known as CD-106.7.  They are part of the MBS group now known as My FM at 98.9 MHz.
 

Wasn't CKKW Kitchener on 1320 for many years up till the early 70's perhaps? I recall they moved to 1090 and somehow CFTJ was impacted by this. But I could be mistaken too.

SOWNY » Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From? » October 21, 2020 11:25 am

darcyh
Replies: 85

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K-Tel offered good value for their records. Always just enough 'good' songs to make the purchase worthwhile. I still have several in my collection.

In addition to shortening some of the songs by even removing verses (think Charlie Daniels Uneasy Rider for one) they also used really fine grooves on the record to squeeze extra time out of it. But, boy those records were easy to scratch. I have a couple of releases that are in excellent condition and listening to them on a good turntable and headphones you can hear significant surface noise. They were never meant to be audiophile quality for sure.

Great memories.

SOWNY » Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper » October 20, 2020 7:56 pm

darcyh
Replies: 17

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For whatever reason my wife and I have been asked to complete these diaries at least twice in the last decade. We have done so honestly and diligently. At the end of the diary is a page (use an additional piece of paper if needed) to tell them your thoughts with respect to radio. Hoping this would be a good venue to provide feedback and perhaps get managements' attention we both enclosed well considered constructive ideas on how to make the stations better (in our opinion of course). Generally I expressed concern over less live programming, bland / boring talk shows and very narrow cookie cutter playlists. Nothing ever improves. If anything it gets worse.

We gave it our best shot, if they ever call again and ask us to participate we will decline with thanks and tell them why.

Good luck doing the survey. Perhaps your comments will be more helpful then mine.

 

SOWNY » Jon Pole Says MyFM Wants More Stations As Firm Blows Its Own Horn » October 17, 2020 9:48 pm

darcyh
Replies: 10

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I can receive three "My FM" stations; St Thomas, Strathroy and Exeter. They almost always have the same content with time blocks for local commercials, weather, news etc. I assume that's the successful formula to keep costs low. They tend to run fairly low power and cover towns that arguably could not support a full service operation. I do not ever recall hearing a live voice; even the news is canned. Never a time or temperature check.

Hats off to them for making it work.

SOWNY » WGR, WBEN & CKLW: The Way They Were » October 14, 2020 10:24 am

darcyh
Replies: 1

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Thanks RA.

The WBEN transmitter building is impressive; it looks like something you would see at an institution like a university. From a time when stations were proud of their transmitters. I wonder what it looks like today.

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