On Sept. 5th the road to the transmitter sites at West Tiger became
blocked when a very long, side-dumper truck tried to go around a sharp
corner with its rear-end going off the road. The big rig, hauling a
load of large rocks, was finally pulled free after dumping the load
over the edge. I have no idea of what the driver was thinking
trying to get up this road. My guess is they were on the
wrong-road. There is another way into the broadcast sites,
unfortunately keys to the East-Side Gate are very hard to come by.
For those of you not familiar with this
site, there are two 350-foot towers. Shown here is the East
Tower. Mounted below the TV antenna is the FM Master Antenna
that’s used by 6 FM stations via a combiner. What the future holds
for this, now vacant space, is anyone’s guess. ATC built the
facility with 4 suites for TV stations….Now two of them are vacant. Well, it finally
happened. After a rather long period of negotiating with all the
parties at this multi-user ATC site on West Tiger, the KUNS antenna was
removed by Seacomm. What’s left is the pole that supported the
antenna, beacon and climbing ladder. What’s left had to be painted
orange. Work started at 8 p.m. for several nights. The
weather gods were certainly with us as we were pushing the coming of the
wet. Here are a couple of before and after pictures.
Still on Radio - Was at West Tiger recently while Dave Ratener was
showing the Hubbard DOE Dave Garner their new Nautel GV30
transmitter. Dave is based at WTOP in WDC. Sorry about not
thinking of getting a picture. My problem is that I am used to
taking pictures of ‘things’ and not people.
A Kaypro 10 portable computer. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Andrew Kay, whose Solana Beach-based company developed the popular
Kaypro II in the early days of personal computers, died last week in
Vista at the age of 95. His company, Non-Linear Systems Inc., was
once the world’s largest maker of portable computers, introducing in
1982 a rugged, boxy machine with a monochrome green screen and 5.25″
floppy disk drive that quickly became a hit with authors and
journalists. In fact, Arthur C. Clarke wrote his 1982 novel 2010: Odyssey Two
on a Kaypro. Kaypro computers used the CP/M operating system and
missed the transition to Microsoft’s MS-DOS, which evolved into Windows.
The company, renamed Kaypro Corp., filed for bankruptcy in 1990.
Kay was born in Akron, OH and graduated from MIT. He started his
career with Bendix, followed by two years at Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. In 1952 he invented something we are all familiar
with….the digital volt meter, and founded his company to produce the
Have you been following the saga of the suspicious cell towers?
Apparently someone has been installing cell sites in major cities…and
they are not owned by the wireless carriers. Lots being written
about them of late. Probably the same outfit that flies black
The FM Band continues to fill up with a number of new stations receiving
CP’s from the Commish. Here is a list of some of some recent FCC
Grants: 95.3 - Tacoma, 100.3 - Seattle, 105.7 - Seattle and 106.5 -
Will be interesting to see how many of these are still on the air in 5 years, when the novelty wears off.
Rumor has it that KING & KONG TV along with NWCN etc. will be
leaving their long time home on Aurora for the Sodo area. Over the
past few years, that area of Seattle has been the focus of a lot of new
interest with Starbucks in the old Sears building, car-dealerships
etc. KING is apparently following that rule that states that a
station's studio location should NOT be located where there is a good
microwave path to their transmitter. Just look at KCPQ, KIRO Radio
You have to hand it to Andy Skotdal at KRKO/KKXA - When others are
dumping AM stations, he has been investing. Now the news that he
is about to turn off his AM and turn his stations into a test-bed for
digital only tests. This has generated a lot of buzz (No pun) with
some major players coming to town to participate….include NAB
Labs. The results of these tests will likely be publicized in
coming months for all to read.
Since the late '80s I’ve been involved with the 1210 operation in Auburn
under various owners. First it was Viacom, then Entercom, then
Bustos and, for the last 4 years, Adelante Media Group. The other
day I received a call informing me that the stations (now including 99.3
FM) was, again, going to change hands. The surprise was that it
will be back to Bustos. I met with Amador Bustos recently and he
said he is moving from Portland (where he operates stations) to
here. Bustos, apparently in the same transaction, will again
operate a number of stations in Eastern Washington. Doug Fisher
and Co. maintains the 99.3 FM Transmitters on South Mountain.
Check off another big rating number for KCPQ-13, a recent Seahawk game
they carried netted a 79 share. Guess being on Gold Mountain is OK
now? Apparently there will be some ownership changes coming
too. Rumor is that Fox will be acquiring the station from
Tribune. Guess that would leave Tribune with Joe-TV. Wonder
how that will impact things at the studio?
Several years ago in this column I used to keep track of the diminishing
number of AM Stations in showing up in the radio-ratings top 10.
Perhaps there is a Seahawks connection here too? According to the
latest numbers KIRO-AM-710 is at #7. This makes them, clearly, the
leader on the AM band with KOMO-AM coming in at #18. While we are
acknowledging success at 1820 Eastlake, should mention that
KIRO-FM-97.3 is listed at #4. Hard to believe that this station
was once owned and operated by Tribune Publishing in Tacoma as KTNT-FM.
The term Border Blaster comes to mind when the ongoing dispute over the
proposal to install an AM radio transmitter at Pt. Roberts, shown below
as the south end of a peninsula that just happens to be south of the
I recall, in my younger days, late at night, listening to some of the
legendary border blasters coming from Mexico. For more background,
you can search the topic and read about some very interesting technical
facilities, some running a LOT of power and some interesting characters
Wikipedia defines a border blaster as a broadcast station that, though
not licensed as an external service, is, in practice, used to target
another country. The term "border blaster" is of North American
origin, and usually associated with Mexican AM stations covering large
parts of the United States and United States border AM stations covering
large parts of Canada.
For many years we have had broadcast stations, located in Whatcom
County, that were not designed to just serve the residents of that area,
but the much larger population to the north. The effort by KRPI
to move to Pt. Roberts has set off whole new debates for several
reasons. 1) High Powered anything is ‘fuel for fear’ in the minds
of many. 2) Pt. Roberts has no prior experience with this sort of
thing, 3) Tswwassen is located a short distance away. 4) The
proponents are not approaching this matter in the same way a large
corporation would. What makes this issue perhaps unique is that
there are two countries involved. In the interest of full
disclosure, I was contacted by someone that wanted to know if I would be
an expert witness for the opposition. Their arguments were very
familiar, having heard the same things regarding AM’s on Vashon and FM’s
on Cougar. In the end it appeared that I could not help
them. This coming decision will attract a lot of attention and
will be covered by many organizations.
Recently, on the local SBE Remailer, I was teased a bit about being
old. I reminded everyone that old-age is a privilege that is NOT
granted to everyone. This is especially heavy in my mind of late,
having seen the passing of many friends. Was nice to hear from
Dick Harris who informed us he is about to turn 90.
Speaking of old age, and looking back, here are some interesting items to ponder if you look back 100 years.
In closing this month’s column, this
reminds me of a conversation involving a young person from another
department and the station's senior engineer. The young person was
remarking about all the technology we have today. He was
reminding the seasoned engineer how we used to have tape recorders and
now we have computers and servers…..And how we used to have vacuum
tubes, and no Internet or email or cellphone or……(he went on and
on). Finally he stopped and asked the Engineer what did he do back
then without all these new inventions – He paused, smiled, and told the
young lad….’We invented them’ I recall one of my favorite
T-Shirts that boldly states…Where would the world be without Engineers?
- The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
- Fuel for cars had to be purchase in a drug store. (There were no gas stations).
- Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub. (Now they are being removed in favor of showers.)
- Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone….“Hand-Crank” telephones were a new innovation and only in cities.
- The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
- The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
- The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
- A competent accountant could expect
to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian
between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about
$5,000 per year.
- More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.
- Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
- Coffee was fifteen cents a pound (Think Starbucks).
- Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
- There was no such thing as under-arm deodorant or tooth paste. (Things must have smelled different.)
- Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
- The American flag had 45 stars.
- The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30! (Today, NAB attendance is 100,000.)
- Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.
- There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
- Two out of every 10 adults couldn't
read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from
high school. (Gee some still can’t read or understand instructions.)
- There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.! (Compare that to Chicago now.)
Have a great fall - NWS is saying the PNW is supposed to be warmer and
dryer than normal. Just think 2015 is less than 90 days away!
Hopefully, Lord willing, I’ll be here next month.
73, Clay, K7CR, CPBE