When they got nightime authorization in the early 80's, they built 2 very tall towers and used 1 of the existing towers to form a 3 tower array sending the majority of the power to the north(slighty northeast), with minor lobes to the south, west and east from the site in Crete.
This meant that at night they lost most of their coverage in NW. Indiana. This station, much like AM 1510 and 1530 get clobbered by skywave due to their high dial position.
I was just inside their "red" Radio Locator "coverage area" by day and well within it during nightime hours, yet, 90% of the time it was a mess with WMBD in Peoria on top. It was like WCFJ was the distant station and WMBD the local.
Very much like what you said Phil, I remember checking them out a few times at night, being able to see the towers and they were getting stepped on by WMBD. It always amazed me that I could turn over to AM 1600, the former WCGO and get a better signal from their whopping 23 watts, miles from their 2 dinky sticks in Ford Heights, than I could while being that close to WCFJ which ran music at night to keep the sticks warm until "Rebel Radio" ran Midnight to 3AM on WCFJ/WSBC.
I was pretty surprised Newsweb even bothered buying the station back around 1997/98. It was off the air for almost a year when they bought it. I wonder if Newsweb bought the station based soley on the "predicted" coverage, as opposed to the actual coverage of the station.
When Newsweb first got into radio, I think they really wanted to do some good local radio, a far cry from where they are today. WSBC and WCFJ were the first stations they bought after selling Ch. 50 to Fox for a boatload of cash, I know brokering was always in the cards, because 1240 was always brokered, but, I think they also wanted more, they would have never bothered buying the FM's and starting "Nine" if that wasn't the case.
They actually tried a full service format from 6-9AM on 1240 and 1470 when they first bought it. I should do a thread about the history of Newsweb radio in Chicago, it's interesting, some radio geeks would probably enjoy(and help fix my mistakes ), instead off going off topic here.
To get back to 850AM for a second, Jeremy is right, they did some extensive work last year on the transmitter site. They were on an STA for a good part of 2018 while they did about everything but build new towers. They went as far as replacing the ground radials, which doesn't make sense if they had plans to "turn it in"
They are definitely flushing the old audience, sending them in Spanish to AM 750 and 1240.
What could they have planned? Are there any all syndicated news formats they could plug in? Maybe business? I don't see sports, I don't see any Spanish language format because like I said, they're sending Spanish language listeners elsewhere.
Is there any station in the Janesville or Rockford areas that want an AM to hook up a translator? They could do it with WAIT's signal.
I know I'm reaching here, because Fred runs WCPT because he wants the format in Chicago, not to be a ratings or revenue winner, but, and this is probably not likely, could he possibly move the WCPT format back to 850 because 820 is a better signal and someone wants to lease or buy it?
EMF has no interest in AM, they do have a translator sitting at 97.5 rebroadcasting 97.9 though, would they sell or lease it to someone to someone who may want 850 as a station to rebroadcast?
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