UTICA-ROME — Tower site vandalism is to blame for a full week — and counting — of silence from talk radio station WUTI 1150AM. The damage was so extensive, officials with Leatherstocking Media Group say repairs on the Oriskany transmitter site could take another three weeks.
WUTI simulcasts the CNY Talk Radio format which originates from Syracuse’s 1390 WFBL. Leatherstocking also simulcasts CNY Talk Radio on Oneida’s 1600 WMCR.
General Manager Don Wagner tells CNYRadio.com today, the station was already operating at low power when the vandals struck last Thursday. ”They took almost all the transmission line from the phase shack to each of the five towers,” Wagner said.
Wagner says repairs have already been made to the shacks at the base of each tower, but the work is on hold as Leatherstocking awaits the arrival of new transmission lines.
“The sad part is the wire these guys got away with is worth next to nothing,” Wagner said. ”All they succeeded in doing was taking the station down for an extended period.”
Wagner says police told him the vandals were likely looking to turn a quick buck to buy drugs — and because it’s relatively easy to sell-off scrap metal, it’s unlikely police will be able to track down the culprits.
Previous Outages Explained
Prior to last week’s attack, some observers (and your editor) have noticed WUTI has been experiencing shorter, intermittent outages recently. Wagner chalks those outages up to technical difficulties involving a specific electronic component that is used to bring the WFBL signal from Syracuse into the WUTI transmitter facility in Oriskany. Wagner says the vendor of the equipment in question has been made aware of the problem, but there’s no word on how long until that particular issue is resolved for good.