Gone and apparently forgotten

Can a 50,000-watt AM station disappear from the airwaves and no one notice?

The answer is yes if you live in the Albany, NY area.  WDCD, 1540 KHz, (formerly WPTR) surrendered its license to the FCC last Friday, September 28, 2018.  Seventy years on the air and quite the legacy as a Top-40 station in the 60s and 70s.

Unfortunately, the station had fallen on hard times the last few years, being silent twice for long stretches of time.  In the end, I suppose it was simply time to pull the plug.

This was my first CE gig in the early 1990s.  What I remember was, I had a lot of fun working there.

So long and thanks for the memories.

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12 thoughts on “Gone and apparently forgotten”

  1. 50kW and directional on top of that. I can see why they shut it down. You can get upside down in one of those in a hurry.

  2. Looks like WAZX (1550) Atlanta will be right behind them. The last format (Vietnamese) did not do well for them. Its been dark for a while now.

  3. I visited WPTR during the early 80’s when it was a country music format. The PD said that most of the signal was directed North far into Canada and that truck drivers were a big part of the audience.

  4. Sad in a way, but likely way past the time. 20-25 years ago, this was a margin station at best, located on large plot of land in the middle of the market and a signal that blasts mostly north.

  5. Rich, you are correct. It was marginal when I worked there in the early 90’s. Sadly, they never seemed to be able to regain market relevance.

    Geoff, they had a Nautel XL-60 circa 1997.

  6. My enthusiasm for Crawford Broadcasting waned somewhat after one WPTR on-air person (the Dalet operator) saw fit to calling me a “godless heretic” to my face.

  7. Larry, Lol! Truth be told, the station had problems long before Crawford bought it. If my memory serves me, they put a lot of money into fixing the neglect and tried several different formats before finally giving up.

  8. I was the chief engineer of 1540 WPTR and its sister WFLY for 2-1/2 years beginning mid-1984. it was my first 50 kW AM station. WPTR was programmed as a country station, still showed up in the book, but its top-40 glory days were a decade behind it. It still had an audience, but the station was quickly losing its relevance. In those years all the Albany AM’s still played music with the exception of WQBK and WGY. I remember coming to the station and finding it a museum of obsolete gear. The old WPTR top-40 air-chain, with its distinctive reverb, was still in place, but inoperative. The main studio console was an old Gates Yard that used vacuum tubes. The venerable GE BTA-25 had been refurbed to working order a few months before by my predecessor. I remember looking out across the dilapidated antenna field and seeing the weeds and sagging RCA hardline. A lot of money was made off that site, but not much plowed back in. The signal was a challenge to receive in Schenectady and to the south. However, we had regular nighttime listeners in Boston and the Canadian Maritimes. The best DX report I ever received was from Zimbabwe in Africa. I’m sad to see it go dark, but the station had become utterly irrelevant to the community it was supposed to serve.

  9. A sad demise for a Top 40 monster that I listened to in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Lake Ontario-North Shore. The playlist, what I called “Top 40 Tough”. Back then, hearing Thin Lizzy’s THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN slamming into K C & The Sunshine Band’s SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE …separated by the Drake-like jingle with telephone dial tones was great drama at night with Johnny Ringo thundering through that classic reverb. Those airchecks are gone forever to the celestial kingdom of legendary radio stations…

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