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I wonder

LBA Technology AM antenna systems, RF
shielding, and test equipment

Update:  Apparently the pictures in this post have upset some people. Even though there is no identifying information; no call letters, no company name, no location given certain folks have been putting a lot of pressure on the guy I work for. I do not want to make any problems for him, so I removed the pictures.  After all, the last thing we would want to do is acknowledge there is a problem.  The commentary stays.

Well, we have returned from our semi-vacation. Sumat to do with the other side of the family;  a road trip to Canton, Oklahoma, a brief study on mineral rights,  then a family reunion.  On the return home, several side trips to interesting things like the Abraham Lincoln museum in Springfield, Illinois and the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis.  We also stopped in Springfield to see Santa Anna’s leg, which seems to be generating some controversy of late.  I do not like to announce such things ahead of time because it seems like an invitation for a house break in.

But, all good things come to an end, so back to work it is.

And then there is this:

transmitter site

transmitter site

A transmitter site for a group of stations not too far from here.

transmitter site

transmitter site

Class B FM station (50,000 watt equivalent) running 100 watts.

transmitter site

transmitter site

And filth, lots of filth.

transmitter site

transmitter site

As more full time broadcast engineers drop off line, we seem to be picking up more and more work.  That is good for business, but some of these sites are downright depressing.

It is very sad to see such disrepair and makes me think that we are in the last days of terrestrial radio.  Truth be told, the end may be many years off, but the decline gets steadily steeper every year.  In the end; Television, Video, Satellite, the internet and took small bites of radio, but radio owners are the true culprits when it comes to who killed radio.

It is hard to make predictions; so many have failed in the past, but ten years maybe.  Perhaps a few more.  It will depend on whether or not business still find value in radio advertising.  Right now that looks pretty far fetched, but who knows…

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2 comments to I wonder

  • Rob

    I know the feeling you describe at seeing some of these sites.

    Years ago I was involved with a station that shared a middle-of-nowhere mountaintop site (the kind where the access road makes you want to verify that your will is up to date, and where the access road after the spring rains makes you want to verify that your soul is prepared for the afterlife) with several other concerns including a few FM aux’s which probably wouldn’t have fired up if they’d been called upon, a UHF low power TV, an FBI radio repeater, and some miscellaneous two-way gear from the local Ham group.

    The facility had been built in a grand fashion originally, back in the days when AM radio was state of the art and where the engineer had to live at the site for potentially long periods of time if weather prevented his replacement from making it up the hill… The sleeping area, sink, etc… was still there, though that room was padlocked, a few of the original bits were still present (an electric clock bearing the name of the then-local jeweler, no doubt a promotional consideration, was still hanging on the wall, though not working). In short, once upon a time the site had been loved, attended, maintained, and the pride of an engineer who still had a few darns to give.

    In the years since the rules had been relaxed, the station had moved their AM transmitter site, and the original site had been subleased repeatedly. The security system consisted of a prop video camera/wireless on-off key fob that made zero difference whether or not you pressed any buttons, and a wasp nest adjacent to the padlock enclosure by the door handle, which probably made the most difference in keeping unauthorized individuals from trying to get at the lock. The inside didn’t look lie it had been cleaned since the last live-in engineer had been relieved of his duties by the rules change. There was a large fan to draw air out on hot days but the louvers were permanently open so dust, mice, bugs, etc… were more prevalent than the old discarded components that littered the floor from the various get in/get out repair jobs by tenants for the past several decades. In short, it was a shell of its former self, neglected by management, poorly attended by contract engineers (who couldn’t be bothered to present a persuasive case to building management as to why the building should be tidied up, apparently), and ravaged by time.

    Whenever I visited, I cleaned something. Probably didn’t make a difference, but I often though that the old building, which had once been loved, might have appreciated the effort to help it out. I get oddly sentimental about such buildings… I think I’m part of a dying breed though. Hourly rates don’t usually include permission to bill for clean-up time at leased sites, so most folks tend to think that they can’t afford to take that extra time to leave these places better than they found them. Or maybe, just maybe, some folks do… and the never-ending onslaught of decay is just a few steps ahead of their attempts at improvement. But maybe those efforts, in a cumulative fashion, buy the sites an extra day of life or two… maybe.

    I’d like to think so.

  • Elliot E

    Paul,this is so sad.
    This is a customer you should consider dropping unless they agree to bring in an industrial cleaning company.
    You simply shouldn’t be breathing this stuff.Please know that I’m more pissed-off than just simply lecturing you.
    Yes,I took a 24 hour break before commenting or I really would have gone off big time on this slum-lord.
    Please look after yourself.

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