Station wants to set up antenna

Last modified: 7/9/2010 12:00:00 AM
With its mission of providing uninterrupted classical music to the Concord area at stake, a local radio station is seeking to build a new transmitter atop Bow's second highest point, despite complaints from neighbors that it will destroy their view.

Harry Kozlowski, general manager of WCNH-LP 94.7 FM, said the nonprofit would like to place a new antenna at 54 Woodhill Road, where an unused 40-foot pole is already in place.

It would help the listener-supported station reach a larger audience by strengthening its sometimes spotty coverage in Concord and breaking into parts of Hopkinton and Pembroke for the first time. It would also let the station take advantage of a new higher power license from the Federal Communications Commission, which would allow it to place transmitters and repeaters throughout the state.

Kozlowski said the new Bow transmitter could be one of a network of others stretching from Peterborough to the Seacoast.

"It is sort of a graduation from a junior radio station to a real radio station," Kozlowski said.

But neighbors, still infuriated over an attempt to locate a U.S. Cellular tower at the same site, said they plan to fight it. Wes Worrey, who lives across the street, said he is still bitter from the earlier fight and will start a petition against the new antenna ahead of a planning board meeting later this month.

The pole, similar in height and appearance to a telephone pole, was left empty after the state police removed a repeater that was used to bounce signals from police cars to central dispatch.

"Law enforcement? I have no problem," Worrey said. "But an FM station? No, I don't want to look at that every time I leave my house. That can go anywhere."

Jane Strablizky, who owns the land, said a second pole is already on her property providing radio connection for Bow police cruisers, school buses and fire trucks. It is directly across the road from the end of Worrey's driveway.

Worrey said he is still upset with Strablizky because she planned to allow the cell tower on her property.

"We used to be best of friends, but she's greedy, she wants every penny she can get, and I'm the one who has to look at the eyesore," he said.

He asked for it to be moved to a nearby neighbor's barn where other antennas point toward the Merrimack Valley. Failing that, he offered space for a pole and antenna on his land rent-free.

"Put it on my land for no charge," he said. "That way she has to look at it every time she pulls out of her driveway."

Kozlowski said federal regulations limit where the station can be placed. (It must be at least six miles away from a transmitter in Concord for 102.3 FM "The Hawk," Kozlowski said.) The station's current license provides for a maximum transmission of 100 watts, which reaches about 35,500 people in Concord, Kozlowski said. While the new tower would only reach an additional estimated 5,000 people, Kozlowski said the higher power transmitter would allow the station to expand.

Without the new antenna, the future of commercial-free Bach, Beethoven and other classical sessions would be unclear.

"It would really be a crushing blow," he said. "We're hoping that people in Bow will read about this and go offset the opposition. Our listeners are loyal and passionate. If they hear someone is trying to take away their music, I hope they would come to our aid."

Another neighbor, Barbara Houghton, said she supports the project. Other neighbors were not home or did not return calls for comment.

Bow planning assistant Bryan Westover said the proposed antenna will have to meet certain conditions for the planning board to grant a conditional approval. He said notices were mailed to abutters yesterday by certified mail.

The plan also calls for a 50-square-foot shed that would be hidden behind bushes.

Kozlowski said he will openly discuss the plan with neighbors before the planning board meeting.

As for the offer of building on Worrey's land, he said: "Is it possible? Sure. . . . It would be more disruptive than the existing pole. It just seems ridiculous to build a tower across the street just because he doesn't want her to make any money."

Trent Spiner may be reached at 369-3306 or tspiner@cmonitor.com.




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