UTICA-ROME — The three AM stations bringing ESPN Radio programming to the Mohawk Valley will soon have some help on the FM side of the dial. Galaxy Communications says sports fans will soon be able to listen to ESPN Radio at 99.1FM, thanks to the $40,000 purchase of translator W256AJ.
Right now on 99.1FM in Utica, you’ll hear religious programming from WJIV/Cherry Valley (about midway between Utica and Albany). The sale to Galaxy was “accepted for filing” by the FCC earlier this week. That means the FCC has no objections to the sale, and after a standard waiting period, final approval is expected within a few weeks.
FCC records say W256AJ currently transmits from an antenna located 35.7 meters below average terrain — a number which doesn’t seem too impressive. But Galaxy VP/Programming Mimi Griswold tells CNYRadio.com “we plan to move it from its current location to Smith Hill which will greatly improve its coverage!”
No further specifics or a timeline, but Galaxy’s modern rock K-Rock (WKLL) and classic rocker 96.9 WOUR already have facilities on the hill, so we suspect they’ll be able to use an existing tower rather than building new.
Currently, ESPN Radio’s three Utica-Rome stations include 1310 WTLB/Utica, authorized for 5,000 watts daytime and 500 watts at night. WIXT 1230 Little Falls operates at 1,000 watts around the clock. WRNY 1350 Rome operates at 500 watts daytime and 57 watts nighttime.
Griswold says “the addition of FM will greatly improve the clarity of the ESPN product.” In addition to network-fed programming, the schedule includes “The Cheap Seats,” a locally-produced afternoon show, and live play-by-play of various local college and high school athletic events.
Galaxy uses a similar strategy with its ESPN Radio stations in the Syracuse market, where programming is simulcast on two AM stations and two FM translators.