WINW, R.I.P.

One recent story that had been extremely problematic to report on recently has been the fate of tiny daytimer WINW/1520 Canton.

Actually, make that DWINW/1520 Canton. That is the official call sign in FCC records, as the Pinebrook Corp.-owned gospel station last known as “Joy 1520” was officially yanked from FCC records on March 3.

The details as to how and why this happened were and still are hard to figure out.

For one, neither the Primary Editorial Voice ™ nor yours truly were ever able to receive the station. WINW’s signal was always pointed decidedly away from any point north of the Canton city limits. Blame the folks at the FCC who failed to closely examine the short-spacing issues from hell that always faced both WINW and the other 1520 signal a few miles north… WJMP/1520 in Kent. That alone makes WINW’s ratings success as a Top-40 giant in the late 1960s – when it was known as “Win-Wonderful” – even more astonishing.

WINW Canton OHThe station sadly saw a long streak of bad luck starting in September, when copper thieves and vandals pilfered the ground system of WINW’s transmitter site during the nighttime hours – and cut guy wires that held the four towers in place. WINW, naturally, was thrown off the air for over a week until a temporary wire antenna was set up. (And factoring in the fact that WINW’s four towers sit on a flood plain in-between a creek – and the stability of the tower array had always been suspect – cutting off the guy wires made a bad situation worse.)

What complicated matters is that few people (including contributors and regular OMW readers) admittedly tuned into WINW that often during the station’s last few months of its’ existence, so it’s impossible at this point to nail down a date as to when WINW signed off for good.

It has been confirmed that WINW did return to the air with that wire antenna, but at some point, the station went silent again. For a prolonged period, apparently, as the FCC sent a letter of inquiry to Pinebrook asking why WINW was apparently silent for such an extended time. (h/t to radio-info poster “gabigley.”) That would lead to the suggestion that Pinebrook simply just gave up on the station, and allowed the FCC to simply delete it.

(It’s very well possible that the temporary wire antenna fell apart right when – or before – winter came, and the continual streak of nasty winter storms, and subsequent flooding simply prevented the setup from being repaired.)

Ironically, the station that will benefit the most from WINW’s removal, WJMP/1520 Kent, will likely never make any attempt to adjust their signal so as to make it passable in both Akron and Canton. It’s been noted on here that many reasons as to why Media-Com and Kaiser Bill would never consider such an investment, after all, WJMP last grabbed headlines in 1995 with their infamous “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” looped stunt. Not to mention adjacent signals like WLKR/1510 Norwalk and the trio of regional 1540s – WYCL/1540 Niles, WWGK/1540 Cleveland and WBTC/1540 Uhrichsville still box in WJMP for any possible improvement to ever take place.

A postscript to WINW will come in the next few weeks.

The “little red building” alongside 4111 Martindale Rd that once housed WRQK and WINW is also up for sale. (The above photo, by Flickr poster “Radio Daze” is of said building in the late 60s – much happier times for WINW.) Obviously it is of little use for former WRQK owner Cumulus (WINW’s final studios were located in downtown Canton, having moved out years ago), and the photo tour inside give a hint as to its’ former past.

Part of the sale description: “Property currently has four radio towers that can be removed. Lots of potential!”

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4 Responses to WINW, R.I.P.

  1. TJG says:

    There is one reason that Kaiser Bill might want to modify the current WJMP facility. The current pattern requires six towers. By letting out the signal to the south to fill WINW’s old footprint they could probably eliminate several towers from the array, freeing up the real estate to be sold or rented. I have to beleive that there are some extra engineering costs that would come with keeping such a critical array legal. Transmitters have dropped in price in recent years and with the savings acheved by the above, Bill might even pony up for a bit more power

  2. Mike says:

    The last home of WINW was on Fulton Road in Jackson Township and not in downtown Canton. The only stations in actual city are WHBC & WHBC-FM.

    • Secondary Editorial Voice (tm) says:

      Duly noted! 🙂

    • Geoff Mears says:

      “The last home of WINW was on Fulton Road in Jackson Township and not in downtown Canton.”

      I’m confused. I’ve spent five years in Canton, and nearly every day have passed 1520’s studios at the corner of West Tuscarawas Street and Cleveland Avenue. How does Fulton Road figure into the history of WINW?

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