WUTI to be silent for weeks after vandals hit tower site

May 30, 2013 by

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 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.

WUTI was known as WRUN when the station's Oriskany transmitter site was featured as a Picture of the Week in 2008.

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 after they buy ar-15's from Palmetto State Armory 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.

4 comments on “WUTI to be silent for weeks after vandals hit tower site”

  1. The most likely scrapyard in the Utica area keeps a copy of your ID on file when you bring stuff in; it's more a matter of if someone wants to do the work to track it down, than if it can be done.

  2. The programming is duplicated on other stations, so no great loss there. The station has been for sale for awhile. The price of the station is quite high considering its a stand alone AM that needs a lot of tower work. The call letters are terrible. Anything but another W-U combination in Utica, would have been better. Can't anyone be more creative? If it were a locally run operation with a different format it could possibly do well. It would just take the right person with some solid local radio knowledge and a lot of money. And, some good sales people.

    1. amradioguy said: "The programming is duplicated on other stations, so no great loss there."

      True, WUTI simply simulcasts WFBL/Syracuse and WMCR/Oneida, and there is some overlap, but each station still has plenty of "exclusive" territory not covered by either of its sisters. According to predicted coverage maps on, Utica is in the "fringe" area for both WFBL and WMCR, during the day, and the site shows neither station's signal hitting Utica at night.

  3. With the signal at reduced power the station isn't getting out anyway, even if there were potential listeners.. Thats been going on for quite some time now. And, WUTI 's ratings show that not very many people are tuning in for what is being offered..I haven't heard anything really local to Utica, as the programming is Syracuse based. They need to get the power back up to where it should be, change the format, hire some local people, and run it as a Utica station, not a Syracuse station. Its not a Utica-Mohawk Valley station like it used to be back when it had ratings. With so much audio available from different sources, the success of stations like WUTI now and in the future will be localization. They could give WIBX some competition if they did it right. People listen to WIBX because its local. Same goes for WKTV, its local.


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