OSWEGO — From the “better late than never” file, there’s an explanation behind the three-week disappearance of 96.7 WWLF-FM. Remember that really windy day last month? The station’s owner says winds on January 17 were strong enough to bring down the transmitter tower. Since early this month, WWLF-FM has been transmitting from the Mexico tower of sister station WVOA-FM.
Neither station officials nor any listeners ever contacted CNYRadio.com to report the absence of the 96.7FM signal, which lasted nearly three weeks. Our colleague Scott Fybush (check out his site here) emailed CNYRadio.com after he found FCC filings about the tower collapse by chance, while researching a different matter.
The FCC website lists a “Notification of Suspension of Operations” filed by WOLF Radio, Inc. on January 27, ten days after the tower collapsed. on February 6, a “Resumption of Operations” was filed, notifying the FCC that WWLF-FM had resumed operations the day before, from a temporary location: the same tower used by sister station WVOA-FM in Mexico, a few miles east of the original WWLF-FM transmitter site.
In an attachment to the February 6 filing, WOLF Radio, Inc. explains the tower “was completely destroyed by estimated 70 – 100 mile per hour sustained winds that affected a wide area of upstate New York.” It points out the tower is only a few miles from the Lake Ontario shoreline, where winds were strongest.
The document goes on to explain the particulars about the new, temporary transmitter location, where WWLF-FM is operating at a reduced power, just 1,400 watts effective radiated power, as compared to the usual 3,000 watts. WOLF Radio, Inc. explains the reduced power was necessary to prevent interference with Utica’s WOUR, operating on first-adjacent frequency 96.9FM.
The filing concludes, “It is expected that it will be several months before a new tower can be constructed and become operational at the licensed site.”
Two days later, the FCC officially approved of WWLF-FM’s temporary transmission arrangement, giving the station until August 8 (six months) to rebuild the tower and resume transmission from the original site.
WWLF-FM simulcasts New Country WOLF 105.1. Although the studios are in Syracuse, WOLF-FM’s transmitter is in DeRuyter, covering the Syracuse market from southern Madison County. The WWLF-FM signal, licensed to Oswego, covers areas which might get weak or no reception from WOLF-FM.