They don’t think so. A small class A FM station, one of many that signed on in the early 1990’s as part of the 80-90 drop ins (FCC docket 80-90, for those unfamiliar). Many of these stations did not fair too well and ended up being absorbed by larger stations and groups starting with the first wave of ownership deregulation in 1993.
WHXC has remained under the same ownership since it signed on in 1991. Eves Broadcasting is a family operation, employing maybe half a dozen people. Their studios and offices are on the third floor of the Bank of Niagara right in the center of town. The facility is very nice. Like any successful radio station, their focus is the community they serve. The format is “Oldies” but they also broadcast high school football, Syracuse sports and so on. They host a yearly Blue Grass festival on the village green.
The air studio has an Arrakis console and uses BSI Simian automation software. They have live DJ’s from 6am to 6pm, local news, weather, sports, etc.
The production room has a BE Spotmaster 8S200A console from 1978. Aside from needing some power supply capacitors, it still works relatively well. However, as the owner’s son said; that thing belongs in a museum.
BE Spotmaster line input card. Probably can still get all these parts if we wanted to.
I forgot to take pictures of the transmitter site when I was there. Next time.
We will be working on several projects for these folks, so I will keep you posted on the progress.
On the subject of project management; often times, we need to keep track of the small details that can derail a project, blow the budget and upset schedules. A quick check list can help to identify things that might not have been planned for. I developed a checklist mentality in the military. There, we had checklists for everything. Simple day to day things like disposing of garbage over the side, or pumping the CHT (sewage) tank to complex evolutions like entering or leaving port all had a checklist. On the aforementioned CHT tank; the Coast Guard cutter I was on had a vacuum flush system to conserve water. Emptying the CHT tank involved a complex set of valve openings and closings to rout compressed air into the vacuum tank and literally blow the sewage overboard. Anyone can see the danger in such a design. Failure to follow the exact procedure resulted in raw sewage blowing out of the nearest toilets, which were unfortunately (or perhaps humorously) in the lower level officer’s staterooms.
But I digress.
I have made a series of outlines for different project types. These can be used as general guidelines for project planning and management. Of course, each project is different, but these are flexible enough that they can be adapted on a project by project basis.
This happened recently at an AM station we were doing work for. It seems the modulation monitor was not working when connected to the backup transmitter. A quick check of the RG-58 coax showed that I had the correct cable plugged into the monitor selector relay. Another check with an ohm meter showed the cable was okay. Then I looked at the connector on the monitor port of the transmitter and saw this:
Looks like the pin is too far back in the connector. This is an old style BNC connector with a solder in center pin:
The center pin has a blob of solder on it, preventing it from seating properly in the connector body. I could have lopped it off and applied a new crimp on connector, but my crimp tool was in the car. I didn’t feel like walking all the way through the studio building, out into the parking lot and getting it. Therefore, I used a file and filed off the solder blob then reassembled the connector:
The transmitter was installed in 1986, I think the connector had been like that for a long time.
It may seem like a small detail to have the modulation monitor working on the backup transmitter, however, the modulation monitor is also the air monitor for the studio. Switching to the backup transmitter but not having a working air monitor would likely have caused confusion and the staff might think they are still off the air. I know in this day and age, a lot of station do not even have backup transmitters, but when something is available, it should work correctly.
I like my cool network analyzer and all that, but sometimes it is the Mark 1, Mod 0 eyeball that gets the job done.
We don’t need no water, let the… oh, wait… The actual roof is actually on fire you say?
YES: Ahh! Time to run around like crazy people!
This happened over the weekend at one of our clients in NY. The back story is this; over the last two weeks, the area has received almost three feet of snow. This roof is pitched slightly toward the back of the building. The roofing material is some type of PVC, which is very slippery when wet. Thus, at some point the snow/ice pack shifted towards the back of the building, it broke the natural gas pipe off where it entered the unit:
The next time the HVAC unit cycled on, there was giant torch on the roof with flames reportedly eight feet high. A local fire fighter just happened to be driving down the road and spotted the fire, thus likely saving the building from major damage. The fire department came and cut off the gas and electric. The building was evacuated for about 20 minutes while they overhauled and checked for internal fires.
A second unit suffered the same fate, only with less damage:
The fire in this unit was contained to the controller area. Same situation with the gas pipe, only it looks like the pipe was not broken all the way off:
The other two units are shut off while the gas pipes are dug out of the snow pack and checked for damage. At some point, they will be turned back on so that the heat can be restored to the second floor sales bullpen. Meanwhile, the sales people; they are complaining.
We threw a tarp over the unit with the cover ripped off because more snow is on the way: