Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

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Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby jon » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:44 pm

Now that it is too late, I have to wonder why CISL did not move to 600? Of course, it is possible that CISL's current or previous owner made preliminary inquiries with the CRTC and was discouraged from pursuing the matter.

A few years back, it was argued that the "window of opportunity" for a frequency change was when the first public knowledge came to light of others interested in 600 for a new station of their own. At that time, CISL was in the middle of a sale to Newcap, making it next to impossible to put together such an application to the CRTC.

A much more logical time for CISL to try to acquire 600 was when Pattison was first approved for the move from 600 to FM. But rumours at the time indicated that everyone, including CISL's owners, were frightened off by the high price that Pattison was expecting from anyone who wanted to use the 600 transmitter site.

The rumour has seemingly now been squashed by CISL themselves moving their transmitter to Pattison's 600 transmitter site, even though it meant taking a large hit on night-time power with the best possible directional pattern on 650 using the existing 600 KHz tower arrangement.

The only possible answer that comes to my mind is that Pattison was willing to offer a much lower monthly cost to CISL running on 650 than they had wanted originally when they were assuming just one transmitter, on 600. Rather than the two transmitters sharing the site that will happen now that a new station in Vancouver on 600 KHz has been approved by the CRTC.

Am I missing something here? From a purely business decision point of view, it always seemed to me that CISL should either be shutdown completely or moved to 600.
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby Aaron » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:56 pm

Simply, the ratings increase (if any) from moving from one AM site to another would never pay for the move itself.
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby jon » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:15 am

Aaron wrote:Simply, the ratings increase (if any) from moving from one AM site to another would never pay for the move itself.

But they did the move to the 600 transmitter site, but stayed on 650.
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby radiofan » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:07 pm

jon wrote:
Aaron wrote:Simply, the ratings increase (if any) from moving from one AM site to another would never pay for the move itself.

But they did the move to the 600 transmitter site, but stayed on 650.


Moving sites was a huge expense for Newcap, but something they had to do. The lease was expiring on the former CISL site and renewing wasn't an option as the property in the landfill was set for
redevelopment. They basically had to build a new site on the Pattison property as what existed there was no longer up to snuff.

Sharing the site with the new 600 licencees should cut down their monthly expenses dramatically.

I'd guess because of the time frame, simply moving the 650 site was much cheaper and quicker than competing with others (and possibly not being granted) 600.
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby dmehus » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:16 pm

Interesting "inside baseball" discussion. As an outsider, I love this kind of stuff! :)

Curious, why would they have had to have moved to Pattison's transmitter sister site to move CISL from 650 to 600 on the AM dial? Wouldn't that necessitate a CRTC application just as much as maintaining their current transmitter site but flipping from 650 to 600?

This might show my lack of technical understanding but does the actual position on a radio dial (i.e., 650 or 600) dictate where a transmitter can be based (i.e., if I wanted to start an AM station on 720 from a transmitter in Kelowna, the reception might be very poor compared to a different transmitter in Penticton on the same frequency?)

Also, why is it a "lost opportunity"? Is there something else on 600 AM now or is it lost because 600 AM was included within the wireless spectrum to be auctioned off to the cell phone companies (or is AM spectrum even used for cell phone spectrum like analog TV spectrum?)?

As far as cutting down expenses, I'm surprised the radio station operators don't utilize the roofs of their corporate/station offices from their towers in Vancouver? One would think skyscrapers would make excellent radio transmitter tower locations - they might even be able to negotiate a lower "per square foot rate" on their office space taking in to account them now leasing rooftop space as well. :)

What surprised me was that Bell Media kept both its AM frequencies, airing its sports radio operation on both its Team 1040 and former 1450 AM station frequency. Why simulcast a station on two AM frequencies, why not let 1450 "go dark" and surrender the license? Also, why does Corus keep its second AM station for traffic broadcasts? Isn't that like...perennially the lowest rated station in Metro Vancouver? ;)

Cheers,
Doug
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby jon » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:33 pm

dmehus wrote:Curious, why would they have had to have moved to Pattison's transmitter sister site to move CISL from 650 to 600 on the AM dial? Wouldn't that necessitate a CRTC application just as much as maintaining their current transmitter site but flipping from 650 to 600?

Pattison's transmitter site was previously used for a 10,000 watt station on 600 KHz, so has the towers spaced out properly to create the daytime and night-time directional patterns that are guaranteed to be approved by Industry Canada as properly protecting other stations on that frequency. Towers, their wiring, and the land they occupy make up the primary cost of a transmitter site, especially in an expensive real estate area like Greater Vancouver.

Moving a transmitter site on the same frequency is mostly about satisfying Industry Canada that you are still adequately protecting stations on the same and adjacent frequencies; the CRTC's main interest is to ensure that existing listeners don't lose your signal when you move to the new transmitter site. Changing frequencies is a whole different matter, requiring a lot longer process that involves more scrutiny by Industry Canada and a sometimes lengthy CRTC application process.

dmehus wrote:Also, why is it a "lost opportunity"? Is there something else on 600 AM now

The CRTC has approved a new station on 600 KHz, to move the programming of KRPI-1550 to a Canadian transmitter. They are not on the air yet, as there is a lot of work to be done to get the Pattison site in shape for sharing with CISL-650.

dmehus wrote:As far as cutting down expenses, I'm surprised the radio station operators don't utilize the roofs of their corporate/station offices from their towers in Vancouver? One would think skyscrapers would make excellent radio transmitter tower locations - they might even be able to negotiate a lower "per square foot rate" on their office space taking in to account them now leasing rooftop space as well.

This morning's Today in Broadcast History hinted at the fact that putting AM transmitters at higher elevations does not guarantee a good signal. CKLG tried that when they first signed on.

With the notable exception of the technology that KFBK-1530 Sacramento uses, AM stations transmit from one or more tall towers with very good ground conductivity. The full tower is used to create the radio wave. Multiple towers create directional patterns by being placed specific distances from each other and each transmitting in a different phase, sending more signal in one direction than another.

In the 1920s, a major topic at Radio Conferences where the U.S. government was trying to solve a lot of radio problems, was getting transmitters outside of "City Limits", because they caused so much interference. AM, long before FM and TV were popularly available.

Today's FM and TV are completely different because of their much higher frequency (than AM). The signal is radiated from a small antenna near the top of a tower, rather than using the entire tower to radiate the signal as is done on AM.

In those early days of radio, (AM) transmitters in Cities usually used a single wire between two towers to transmit the signal, not the towers themselves. Like KFBK, this eliminated the need for a swamp or other area of great ground conductivity.

dmehus wrote:What surprised me was that Bell Media kept both its AM frequencies, airing its sports radio operation on both

I don't live in Vancouver, but I have not heard of any simulcasting between Team 1040 and Team 1410. Even if they did do some, the rationale for two frequencies still makes good sense, since Hockey Season and Football Season do overlap. Each can be on a different frequency.
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby Dan Sys » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:39 am

dmehus wrote:
What surprised me was that Bell Media kept both its AM frequencies, airing its sports radio operation on both


No simulcasting at all. TSN 1410 moreless acts as an overflow station for TSN 1040 (much like KNBR 680 in San Francisco and KNBR-2 on 1050). A lot of the syndicated programming on TSN 1040 comes via ESPN while syndicated programming on TSN 1410 comes via FOX SPORTS.
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Re: Lost Opportunity? Why Didn't CISL Move to 600?

Postby dmehus » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:31 pm

Thanks jon & DanSys for your excellent educational radio "primer" for this non-industry radio "fan", as usual. Excellent points I hadn't even considered, especially about putting radio transmitters on buildings. I guess the radio waves aren't transmitted directionally the same as cell phone radio waves?

Also, didn't realize that 1410 and 1040 were broadcasting separate content at certain times of day, sorta like a Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 360 type of thing.

Cheers,
Doug
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