WLQV AM 1500 Detroit

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Slogan/Positioner: Faith Talk Radio

Format: Religious

Web site: /www.faithtalk1500.com

E-Mail: visit web site

Class: B
Daytime Power / # of Towers: 50,000 watts / 9, directional
Nighttime Power / # of Towers: 10,000 watts / 9, directional

FCC technical information:

More about station:

Call Sign History:

  • WLQV: 8/3/1987
  • WCZY: 6/17/1985
  • WLQV:
  • WDEE:
  • WJBK: sign on, 1925

Call Sign Origin:

On Air Date: October 7, 1925

Owner: Salem Communications

Telephone: (313) 965-4500

 

Notes/History:

  • 11/2005: FCC approves sale of station from Christian Broadcasting System to Salem Communications (Caron Broadcasting)
  • 9/19/2005: Announced that station was being sold to Salem Communications for $6.75 million plus two Cincinnati, OH area AM stations pending FCC approval and closing.
  • 3/2004: License to cover granted for 10,000 watt nighttime / 9 tower facility. Daytime remains 50,000 watts on the same 9 tower array.
  • 2002: Station is using CP patterns for 50,000 watt daytime and 10,000 watt nighttime signals with program test authority from FCC
  • 2001: Deal between WTOP Washington DC, KSTP Minneapolis, and WLQV results in new CP for nighttime 10,000 watts using 9 tower array
  • 2/1999: Information and history about the on-going engineering challenges with the station's nighttime power and tower changes can be found here
  • 1989: 3 towers removed from array, nighttime power to 3,000 watts via special temporary authority. Land where 3 towers were located was sold to K-Mart
  • 1987: Station sold to Midwest Broadcasting, call sign back to WLQV and Religious programming. Gannett had purchased The Detroit News, forcing the sale due to FCC restrictions on cross-ownership of newspaper and radio/TV outlets in the same market.
  • 1985: New call sign WCZY, simulcasting Adult Contemporary WCZY-FM 95.5. Dick Purtan 'returns to AM'. Very short lived
  • 19xx: New call sign WLQV, format to Religious
  • 197x: Combined Communications purchases station. Combined later becomes Gannett
  • 19xx: New call sign WDEE, format to Country. Tongue-in-cheek meaning for the call sign "We've Done Everything Else"
  • 1956: Daytime power to 50,000 watts (9 towers), nighttime to 5,000 using 12 tower array
  • 1954: Frequency shift to 1500 using 9 tower array. Daytime power 10,000 watts, nighttime 1,000
  • 1940: Frequency is 1490, licensed to Detroit
  • 1930: Frequency is 1370
  • 1927: Frequency is 1360
  • 10/7/1925: On air as WJBK at 1290 AM, licensed to Ypsilanti

 


 

Center of antenna array/transmitter location:

Wayne County; near Dix Hwy and Moran Rd (Lincoln Park)

 


 

Details on enginneering changes:

 

February 1999, From Dan S.:

In 1954 or thereabouts, when what was then WJBK moved from 1490 with 250W to 1500 using a nine-tower array, it was a very big deal. WJBK was owned by Storer Broadcasting, one of the major group owners of the day. Storer was headquartered in Toledo, where it owned WSPD 1370, just a short way from Detroit. Storer obviously wanted a major AM facility in Detroit. To change WJBK's frequency required quite a bit of juggling, not to mention constructing what was at the time, to the best of my knowledge, the most complex directional array in North America.

At least one station besides WJBK had to change frequency- that was WLEW in Bad Axe MI. If I recall correctly, WLEW was operating as a 250W daytimer on 1500. WLEW and WJBK swapped frequencies and WLEW became a fulltimer, a good deal for the station because there was no pre-sunrise authority for daytimers on clear channels in those days. In mid-winter, WLEW, as a daytimer, could not sign on until 8:00 or 8:15.

Anyhow, before the FCC would allow WJBK to construct its array, the station had to construct a two-tower array at the site and demonstrate that a nearby high-tension line did not distort the pattern. Also, WJBK had to bury the transmission lines between the TX building and the tower bases. Although such construction became standard in the following years, it was not yet the norm in those days. WJBK's CP was for 10 kW-Daytime, 5 kW-Nightime. As far as I know, both patterns used all nine towers. When WJBK got the new facility on the air, it was only a matter of days before KSTP began to protest interference within its protected skywave contour. The FCC made WJBK back off its night power to 1 kW while work went on to bring the night pattern within specs. Those were the days before "pick-a-power, any-power" on AM. In fact, the FCC would not even license new stations that used 2500W, although the CRTC (maybe it was the CBC back then) did allow 2500W.

After over a year of trying, Storer's engineers gave up and WJBK received a license for 10 kW-D/1 kW-N. Undoubtedly, the night service fell short of the normal minimums for service to the community of license. A number of years later, the station obtained a CP to increase daytime power to 50 kW and nighttime power to the originally authorized 5 kW. This increase involved adding three towers, bringing the total to 12. Then still later came the deal that removed three of the towers to make way for a shopping center. I don't know whether the three towers that came down were the same three that had been added at the time of the power increase or three at the other end of the 4-by-3 array.

I was most puzzled by the fact that the FCC's AM database still listed the night power as 5 kW even though the station (by then, WLQV, I believe) was operating with facilities similar to those that could not be made to work when first built. Turns out that going back to nine towers necessitated cutting back the night power to 3.3 kW AND getting KSTP and WTOP to agree to accept increased interference. WLQV apparently operated with the 3.3 kW night power for five years or more under Special Temporary Authority (STA) until all parties would sign off. And the agreement only became official within the last couple of months. Only then did WLQV receive its license to cover! WTOP made out too. As part of the agreement, the Washington DC station received authorization to relax its night pattern rather significantly, noticeably improving nighttime coverage in DC's western suburbs. Whether KSTP also got to relax its night pattern (or just received a financial settlement) I don't know.

 

February 1999, Reply from Timothy Z. Sawyer:

Pretty good story Dan, let's see if I can add a few more details as the consulting engineer for WLQV (yes, my fingerprints are all over this one too).

Daytime changes: The original 1950's 9-tower array added three towers on the east side to make the 4 X 3 12-tower array (1956). The three towers that came down as the result of a sell-off of land to K-Mart ($$$) came off the east side in 1989. The daytime array is the same (electrical) configuration as always, we simply moved the system over one tower row. The old 9-tower array used the 9-eastern towers, while the new daytime array uses what would have been called the 9-western towers. So the geographical coordinates of the new center of the day and nighttime array are shifted slightly to the west.

Nighttime changes: The nighttime system has had several changes made to it at the application stage, the only license the station has is for the nighttime system in the 12-tower configuration. It is currently operating with an ongoing STA at 3-kilowatts using the 9-tower configuration. I am not sure of the dates that the following steps/actions occurred (before I got involved in 1996) so I can't help on the exact timing, but here goes:
The sell-off of land resulted in the filing of an application to operate with 5-kilowatts using 9-towers in October 1988. An STA request to operate at 3-kilowatt using a 9-tower pattern was granted in 1989. The 3-towers on the eastern side came down in 1989, and the K-Mart was built. The 3-kilowatt pattern completely protects KSTP-WTOP, while the 5-kilowatt pattern required approval of a non-standard Q (higher system losses,etc.) and a slight bit of overlap to KSTP in upper Minnesota. The application for 5-kilowatts argued that KSTP and WTOP having let out their respective patterns towards each other (in 1985 under an *experimental* STA) resulted in the interference from WLQV being masked by the interference from WTOP. I should note that in 1986, I worked for A.D. Ring and Associates, the consulting engineers for KSTP, and was of course, by that association, slightly familiar with the experimental STA that KSTP-WTOP were operating under.

So from the mid 1980's (1985 or so) we have KSTP-WTOP operating with STA's allowing increased radiation towards each other which resulted in increased interference to WLQV. As part of the acceptance of this additional interference at Detroit, a three-way agreement between the stations allowed the designation of the Detroit array as a non-critical directional array. Thus the staffing at the transmitter site could be reduced. Detroit with the critical array designation could not meet the remote control requirements in effect at the time, thus required a transmitter operator on duty at the site. The agreement was never finalized and the applications to modify the patterns of KSTP-WTOP were not filed. KSTP-WTOP continued to operate with relaxed patterns towards each other, WLQV continued with its 12-tower (staffed) site -- everything sat in limbo -- until the 1988 application by WLQV to modify its pattern (the 9-tower night). From 1988 to 1996 the application of WLQV was modified by various engineers in an attempt to get a grant from the FCC. In 1990, KSTP-WTOP filed applications to formalize their STA operations.

In 1996, I was brought on board to fix the WLQV application so that it complied with the current rules. I did so and designed a nine-tower 3-kilowatt pattern that met all FCC requirements and fully protected the licensed and STA patterns of KSTP-WTOP. The Commission indicated that the WLQV application was grantable, however, the issue of the increased radiation at Detroit as a result of the ongoing (12 years then, now close to 15 years) STA operation of KSTP-WTOP was raised, along with their pending 1990 applications. Many meetings later, it was decided to conduct skywave measurements in Detroit to determine the actual level of interference being received at WLQV.

Last summer (1998) over several nights WLQV signed off the air, while KSTP-WTOP operated with a simulation of the old licensed patterns and the STA patterns. Chart recordings were made over several hours each night and a determination of the skywave signal at Detroit from each station was made, for each mode of operation. Based upon the 1998 measurements, a new agreement was reached between KSTP-WTOP and WLQV, in which WLQV would accept the increase interference from KSTP-WTOP in exchange for an increase in power to 5-kilowatts to help overcome the interference received. KSTP-WTOP accepts the increased interference from WLQV as it is masked by interference from each other.

The application to amend the power back to 5-kilowatts was filed in December 1998. A joint-settlement agreement is now pending before the Commission. In it each party has agreed to accept the application of the others. WLQV gets authorization for a 9-tower 5-kilowatt, non-critical pattern and reimbursement from KSTP-WTOP of certain engineering/construction expenses. KSTP-WTOP gets authorization for their relaxed patterns. Neither KSTP or WTOP has or will received a "financial" settlement from Detroit. The agreement between the stations has been agreed to between the stations only, but has not been acted upon by the Commission, so each station awaits the Commissions' action on the settlement request and a grant of their respective construction permit applications.

 

February 1999, More from Ted Hammond:

At least two other stations changed frequencies when WJBK (WLQV) moved from 1500 to 1490. They are WABJ Adrian, which was on 1500, and moved to 1490, and WMRP, Flint (now WWCK-AM), moved from 1510 to 1570. WABJ got fulltime facilities on 1490, and WMRP increased from 250 to 500 watts, daytime only.


Also from Timothy Z. Sawyer:

The phasors (there are two) at WLQV are box shaped, the day phasor is slightly smaller, approximately 7 feet wide on the front and 8 feet deep ( 7 X 8 ), while the night phasor is larger 10 feet wide on the front, and eight feet deep (10 X 8). I can stand-up and walk around in them so there is at least 7 feet of height in the interior. There is a hallway between the two and they face out into the transmitter room. Various controls are on the front of each phasor for the phase and amplitude (power) for each tower.

Viewed from the transmitter room looking at the phasors you would see beginning on your left, a series of standard equipment racks, 5 in a row, then the night phasor, then the hallway between the phasors, then the day phasor. The day phasor is against the right outside wall. The hallway between the phasors leads to the back of the phasors, and the workshop. The phasors were built on site by the staff engineers in the 50's. Typical panel mounted networks on all walls and ceiling - the floor is bare, so you just walk into the center of the phasor to make any internal changes. Normal operating adjustments are made from the front panel controls, so you only get inside the box if you have to move a tap on a coil, or replace components.

The front of the night phasor also has various push buttons to place the station into three operating modes - day, night, and nondirectional. Tally lights are provided to indicate the position of the tower relays for each mode.

Returning to the transmitter room, and across from the phasors, again beginning on your left you would see "transmitter row", on the left is a RCA 50J 50-KW transmitter, then a standard doorway (which leads to the back of the transmitters), then a Harris MW-10, then an Omnitronix (sold-state) 50KW transmitter, then an old RCA 1-KW transmitter (rarely used), then a restroom, followed by various storerooms. Near the center of the room where you are assumed to be standing, is the operators transmitter control desk (1950's style) with various push buttons to start stop the transmitters, change power and pattern, etc. The site was manned until 1988-89.

The transmitters and their back-ups in preferred order are:
Day 50 KW mode - Omnitronix, Harris MW-10, RCA-50J, RCA-1
Night 5 KW mode - Harris MW-10, Omnitronix, RCA-1A
The RCA products are used as a last resort due to their age.

This is a fairly large transmitter building, single story, no basement, with a 2-bay attached garage. It has a paved driveway and parking area. The garage is the junk room and is quite interesting. A pack rats delight of now useless stuff, but a treasure trove of memories of days past.

 


 

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