Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Tall Towers of Texas

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. I always say that the flat and featureless landscape just makes it look that way. But they certainly built their radio towers tall in Texas. While KVLY-TV in Fargo, ND is the tallest in the U.S. , the lone star state has several of the worlds tallest towers.

The Federal Aviation Administration has a voice in tower construction. it's due to them that they must be certain colors, and carry lights above specific heights. They also limit total height. There are only 24 radio towers in the U.S. that reach this raw limit. Three of them are in Texas.

In 2006 Liberman Broadcasting erected a 2000-foot tower in Rosston on the MK Ranch. it is the most recent addition to the tall towers club, #24 on the FAA's least-wanted list. It was for 93.7 KNOR in Krum, TX a C1 that rimshots north Dallas. The ranch owner was a ham radio man and was pleased to lease the land to them. Liberman actually allowed him to use a portion of the tower for his own uses at the 1500-foot level.

The other two Texas giants are both 1999 footers. Clear Channel put up the 107.5 KLDE tower in 2002 just outside Houston. Salem's 94.5 KSOC and 100.7 KWRD share another 1999-foot tower in Gainesville near the Liberman "Era" tower. The advantage of the behemoths is that they make city of license moot. On flat terrain it's all too easy to massage H.A.A.T. and power into a bigger metro. Dallas seems to pick up a new rimshot every other year as the FCC gets less and less serious about localism. More here.

This is from Salem Communications Corp. document:
"A station's studios are generally housed with its office in a downtown or business district. We generally select our tower and antenna sites to provide maximum market coverage."
This statement evades addressing the fact the FCC has mandated a radio station's main studio be in their city of license.   Here they state what they "generally" do.  I don't' mean to single out Salem. I have no specific knowledge that they violate this law, nor that any of the stations in the post do either.  Their choice of language is more to my point. they don't address it because it's immaterial.  When the FCC allows a perpetual process of  voice-tracking, automation, satellite fed syndication and metro-area move-ins paired with continual changes in city of license the term local becomes a nearly meaningless.