WASHINGTON, DC -- Contrary to a report CNYRadio.com published on January 25, it looks like Cranesville Block Company isn't ready to give up on plans to bring a new AM station to St. Johnsville. Cranesville has filed a "petition for reconsideration" with the FCC, likely blaming the non-launch of WKAJ on factors beyond the company's control.
According to the FCC website, "deleted facilities cannot be reactivated. Interested parties must file an application for construction permit during the approprate AM application filing window." But the FCC website also says a petition for reconsideration was filed on January 27.
While the petition itself isn't viewable on the FCC website as of Tuesday morning (unless your editor missed something), Cranesville ops manager Joe Isabel explained in a comment to our earlier story:
We have experienced severe weather delays in the construction of WKAJ. In addition, Preferred Tank and Tower was paid and left us without the completion of work. We were forced to obtain Northeast Tower to complete the job, which they did a fine job by the way. Construction is 98% complete.
CNYRadio.com did not previously have contact information for anyone at Cranesville; the only email addresses we could find within FCC filings belonged to the lawyer and engineer who assisted in filing FCC application documents. While CNYRadio.com had contacted both parties and asked if they or anyone else involved could answer questions, we never received any responses. Isabel's comment was the first time we heard directly from anyone at Cranesville.
The construction permit shows WKAJ's community of license would be Saint Johnsville -- in the Albany market, beyond our normal coverage area. However, we've been keeping an eye on developments since WKAJ's 10,000-watt daytime signal is expected to reach Utica. The signal is expected to be strong enough that longtime Utica-area personality Hank Brown, sidelined since April 2011, has announced plans to revive his show on the station.
If the signal reaches Utica, it will not come in clear at all. WGY is at 50,000 watts and they even have issues in Utica. Plus, as stated before, unless you're age 70 till you're no longer here, Hank has hardly any listeners.
Equation...barely reachable signal, plus no listeners and zero ratings equal a non-story.
Understandable you have to report what's going on, but this ranks at the very bottom of any story ever listed on this site.
I checked on Google the proposed transmitter site of WKAJ. It appears to be in a pasture not a gravel pit. If there is any moisture in the ground, it could make a good site. If the 10,000 watt directional daytime signal is beamed west toward Utica it should cover the bulk of the Utica/Rome market nicely. However, since it is technically in the Albany market, the ratings won't ever matter.
I am figuring that such an investment would be a half million dollars or more. A mortgage payment would demand close to $10,000 a month just to pay the mortgage. Not including any of the other bills to be paid, salaries, studio equiptment, electricity, etc. I just don't think a Hank Brown morning show coming close to raising that kind montly income. As I have stated elsewhere,I hope the management will be getting their money in advance from Hank.
What I would do... I would consider buying 1230 - the old WLFH from Ed Levine & Galaxy. It is underused. I am sure the price would not exceed $200,000. You already have the station built. Maybe, try to get a FM Translator. The Little Falls & Valley area are not really served by local radio. Little Falls is still the town it was 40 years ago. No Walmart and lots of shops along Main Street to buy time on high school football & basketball games. I think a local station could make it in he area. Money could be made if the investment was minimum. The station would be little more than a weekly shopper newspaper.
Yes, Little Falls is still the town it was 40 years ago, except most of the factories are gone, most of the storefronts are mom & pop businesses at best if not vacant; the new car dealership closed and it wasn't that long ago the buildings were sold at the tax auction - apparently they couldn't find a buyer on the regular market and just stopped paying. I don't know who there is going to pay for commercials on the radio. And Wal-mart is like 10 minutes away in Herkimer, along with K-mart and lots of other chains.
That said, you're still probably correct that if WFLH could be bought that cheaply, one would be further ahead with it.
Even up on the hills of the Mohawk valley the winter's been pretty mild, I'm not sure what severe weather they could be referring to.
Will the signal reach Utica? It should come in fine; WGY can be heard there fairly well with a decent antenna, as can WSYR; while driving I can pull WGY usually as far west as Westmoreland before it gets really bad. There are a few spots it fades out and back in.
The FCC has denied their reconsideration. They must now dismantle the towers.