This is another one of those, ahem, AM success stories. WKNY is on 1490 KHz, 1,000 Watts day and night from a transmitter site that is located very close to its target audience of Kingston. It signed on on December 16, 1939, broadcasting 100 watts on 1500 kHz according to the Broadcasting Yearbook 1940 edition.
The transmitter location is the key to this station’s good signal over Kingston. Even though it is a class C AM station when driving around the Kingston city limits there is no electrical interference or nighttime co-channel interference. The reason for this is that most of the city limits are within 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 4.8 km) from the tower.
This is the original transmitter building and tower. Like many old AM transmitter sites, this one is located in a low, swampy area. The tower is electrically tall for 1490 KHz, at 92 meters (305 feet) it is 163 electrical degrees. Something else that may contribute to the station’s performance.
WKNY tower, a typical design of a uniform cross-section guyed tower from the late 1930s to late 1950s.
WKNY transmitter. Another Nautel ND-1 series transmitter. Nothing ever breaks or goes wrong.
The air studio has an AudioArts R-60 console. For an inexpensive audio console, these things sure seem to last for a long time. I think this one was put in in 1997.
A small talk studio is used to originate local programming of interest. This morning, I was listening to “Speak Out With Jody McTague,” a local interest program that was discussing the impacts being felt in the Kingston area due to the “Affordable Health Care Act.”
The production studio has a rather old Harris rotary pot console from the 1980’s.
Of course, all of this equipment makes radio transmission possible, but what makes radio itself is the local people working at the station and bringing relevant information to the area. I know a lot of very smart people are working on the “solution” to the AM problem. It really has to do with the programming.
12 thoughts on “WKNY, Kingston, NY”
Wow- that transmitter room looks “operating room” clean. I’ve never seen such a thing.
It warms my heart to see there are still successful local (what were once called class IV) operations still around. I still grieve for the loss of my hometown station
WESX, Salem 1230. One of the unusual class IV’s that operated with 1 KW DA D 250 watts night ND when I was in high school to protect WNEB. They eventually were able to get rid of the DA by doing actual measurements proving worse ground conductivity than thought. Nice Collins 20V2 and Collins phasor. For some reason they took down the DA tower which remained on the ground behind the building. During the 90’s I got a call from Jay Asher for some emergency help, I told him what a thrill it was to work on the WESX signal after growing up listening to the station every morning especially during the winter anxiously awaiting “NO SCHOOL ALL SCHOOLS IN SALEM” Back then
everyone on the North Shore listened to WESX in the morning then gravitated to WBZ, WEZE or WHDH after finding out what happened locally overnight.
It’s amazing how huge and empty a decent size tx building looks when all you’ve got is a 1kw tx and a rack with a mod monitor, simple audio processing, and a remote control. The spare parts shelf can be very empty too. Once you go directional, you’ve got another full cabimet for the phasor, and then add a phase monitor and some remote meters, and a whole lot more spare RF parts. Things get cluttered up with all the extra cables pretty fast. Add HD and you now need the exciter, another mod monitor, another audio processor, and so on. All that room quickly disappears.
Still nice to see all that “old” equipment still functioning and looking almost as good as when it was first put in.
Thanks for highlighting local AM radio! The article and pix of this successful local operation totally “made my day.” Please highlight others you encounter from your travels or work assignments. Kudos!
I am going to create a new tag called successful am stations. There are several of them in my area and I am sure that this is not unique. Perhaps my readers could submit their own successful AM stories.
My uncle was a DJ at this station back in the 50s for a while, later, in the late 60s or early 1970s he had his own radio station in Kingston. As a kid I always thought it was very cool, he had a small studio in an outbuilding in his yard and a tower as well(I don’t remember how tall). He took ads and had local politicians on for debates. I don’t know how long he was on the air, he only broadcast on the weekends. Years later I found out that his station met it’s end when the FCC came in and tore out all his equipment. A pirate in the family. I don’t remember the frequency, but I’m quite sure it was in the standard AM band.
Pretty sure I put that R-60 in that studio back in October of ’09. Dave pulled it out of somewhere else, Larry refurbed it and Mike and I installed it and the new automation. Neat little station. Don’t eat at the diner across the street. That was a BAD experience…
Hey Josh, you are right, the R-60’s were installed at WKNY in 2009. They came from a temporary studio in Poughkeepsie and were new in 1997. As far as the diner across the street, duly noted.
Oh, “The diner”,you don’t know the half of it!
Back in the WTZA days,there was a fight among the kitchen staff which resulted in blood in one of our take-out orders back at TZA MCR.I believe the story made our newscast that night.
And that was in the early 80’s.
Too many years ago, when I was in college radio, the great Jack Poppele (who built WOR in New York back in the 1920’s) visited our station. He asked to see the transmitter room. We had a new RCA 3 Kw FM transmitter. I remember him running his hand over the top and producing a handful of dust. He looked at me and said, “This won’t do. Young man, you will find that radio equipments will run more reliably when it is kept immaculately clean.” To this day, any radio equipment I have looks like it just came from the factory. This is a beautiful site.
Is there anyone who has any photographs, stores or facts & figures about WKNY-TV? I remember watching the station in Cornwall-on-Hudson where I operated a small business installing outdoor antennas. The terrain around the transmitter on Hwy 9W was terrible for propagation at such a high frequency – Channel 66. I’ve often wondered how the network (CBS, occasionally) was piped to the station. Any info out there?
Does anyone know anything about the radio tower that existed at the corner of Yarmouth Street + Plainfield which was Krauss’s dirt road . Think it was dismantled mid ’50’s A picture would be great.Thank you