Casper Mountain, Wyoming FM/TV
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On a surprisingly very warm November 1st, 2010, your editor was job hunting in Casper (my old stomping grounds and the official birthplace of RTLI), Wyoming, and here is Casper Mountain, in all its broadcasting glory.
The area in the picture above is known as "Tower Hill" and boasts a vast majority of the FM/TV signals that Casper enjoys. As you can see from the photo above, there are several towers used. We will start from left to right. At left, is a newer tower that should eventually carry KWYX 93.5 FM. It is owned by Cochise Broadcasting, and according to Wikipedia carries a country format. It was off air at the time I was up there and as of December 2013, is still off the air. There are also two CPs for new stations on 97.7 (KCYA - Rolling Hills) and 98.5 (KGRK - Glenrock) form the same tower, which will likely never be built. I mean, it's Cochise for god sake, since when are their stations actually built? An FM translator is nearby on 91.7 carrying religious programming from KEAR-FM.
Moving right in the picture above, we land on KCSP. KCSP is a religious broadcaster on 90.3, broadcasting as the parent station for a large number of translators in the state of Wyoming. It carries Pilgrim Radio and, as you can see from the picture at right, is owned by Western Inspirational Broadcasters; in other words... KNIS-FM from Carson City, NV where the network originates. KCSP's studios are (were) near the North Platte River, in downtown Casper. KTED 100.5 had a construction permit that would have moved the station to this tower. It was never built.
Beyond the local services/VHF communications towers right of KCSP is a tower full of radio and television stations. The door of the building on this tower (pictured left - click for larger picture) shows only KFNB but a closer look at this tower shows it carries FM stations as well. The tower contains all of the Mount Rushmore Broadcasting FM stations, including KASS 106.9 which has been classic rock since as far back as I can remember, and has always gone by "Kick 107." There is country KQLT 103.7 from the same tower and KHOC 102.5 (Adult contemporary) which was off air when I was up there but along with its two other sister stations KMLD and KVOC came back on air in 2013. KQLT had a persistent break in its audio during music, that was fixed in 2013. It was annoying to hear, and I can't for the life of me understand why Mount Rushmore would've allow it to sound so bad. This is because the station receives all of its music off "the bird" and must have a problem with equipment studio-side. Why anyone would want to advertise on a station where the music cuts out every few seconds is beyond me. KQLT is a legacy station though, dating back before I ever moved to Casper. Prior to being purchased by Mt. Rushmore, I am assuming it was in much better shape then it is now.
On a side note, I was surprised as to how many licensed stations in Casper were off air or experiencing technical difficulties when I was in town in November of 2010. You'll see more of this as we move on later. From the same tower as labeled in the picture above, three television stations make their way down the mountain to Casper. KFNB, the local FOX affiliate, broadcasts digitally on UHF-20. The final station is one of only two receivable analog stations still left in the Casper area, (the other being a TBN station -- K33GI), K26ES. K26ES, along with the previous stations listed have been on the air as far back as I can remember. K26ES is the analog equivilaent of KFNB's DT-2 subchannel, the CW network affiliate. It goes by KWYF/K26ES.
As we continue moving right (or east in real life) on the picture at the top of the page, we run into the final tower of note. This tower carries all of the stations owned by Gapwest broadcasting (now Townsquare media) and formerly Clear Channel owned. The picture above shows the former tower of "KMGW". These calls were previously carried from this tower, but are sadly, now overtaken by KMLD which comes from another tower we'll see later. Anyway, the tower carries KRVK 107.7 "Radio Without Rules," which I always knew as '107.9 the River,' back in the days when it was licensed to "Midwest" Wyoming, instead of "Vista West," wherever the heck that is. KRVK is one of (as mentioned previously) a significant number of rock stations serving Casper... and I thought Salt Lake was bad. Radio Locator lists KRVK as AAA, but in the end its still rock and roll to me. On the same tower, is top 40 blaster KTRS (which I knew better as a hard rocker on 95.5 back in the day). KWYY, 95.5 took the place of KTRS some time in the late 90s, and the format became country. KTRS was a ground breaker for me in the 90s and opened up my music tastes to Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but alas, it has gone the way of top 40. On the same tower is another rocker KRNK, 96.7 FM. KRNK is also owned by Townsquare Media. KRNK was carrying a harder rock format that was very hit and miss with me, and was not one of the stations I listened to while on the mountain. KCWY, the NBC affiliate for Casper, broadcasts on VHF-12, but through the use of PSIP, shows 13 comes from the same tower. KDAD 92.5 comes from this very same tower, as does KZQL. KDAD is currently licensed to Bar Nunn, and is one of 3 country stations in Casper. Rock and Country are basically what defines Casper radio stations. Some of them are clear failures (KQLT) and some are clear winners (KKWY). As for rock, KASS still has a following according to the numbers, but KTED is kicking everyone's behind in that department. KTED's signal is rebroadcasted across the state as Wyoming's Pure Rock Radio Network. KHAD 104.5 Upton, WY is one of my semi-semi-locals in Sheridan.
And that concludes Tower Hill. We now head west on the mountain to a site that has had a long history here on Casper Mountain... The Analog KTWO Site.
KTWO TV is perhaps Wyoming's best known station and used to be NBC until 2003, when local competitor KCWY was given the network, and KTWO became an ABC affiliate. KTWO began television broadcasts in March of 1957, and is Wyoming's second oldest TV station. At that time, it was co-owned with KTWO 1030 AM, and was a CBS affilaite. KTWO's studios were located on the eastern part of town near the intersection of Wyoming Boulevard and 2nd Street. These studios were torn down in the late 90s, early 2000s, and replaced with retail stores. KTWO moved into the same building as KGWC/KFNB and K26ES up on Skyline Drive, near the events center. In the late 2000s, KTWO became "Wyoming's only true HD broacasting station". KTWO's analog transmissions originated from the tower at left on channel 2. The station now broadcasts on digital channel 17 (UHF) and PSIP of course shows it as channel 2. I'm assuming the old analog equipment is still at this site, but I have no sources to confirm/deny this. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but KTWO was a nightlight carrier during the 2009 US analog to digital transition. KTWO has now moved its digital operations to the same tower as KGWC and KFNB, which is part of the cluster as seen two pictures down from here.
Coming from the same tower (below KTWO's analog antenna) are the two remaining higher powered FMs on Casper Mountain. The first of which is KMLD which, as I mentioned before has had a long history (the frequency that is). The KMLD calls were previously elsewhere on the dial (if memory serves me correct, it was 97.3), and was known as Melody 97.3. Meanwhile, KMGW was on 94.5 carrying a soft hits/ac format known as Magic 94. I used to listen to Magic 94 quite a bit back in the day and was sad to see it go. Now the only AC station (that was on the air) is KTRS on 104.7, but its music quality has gone down hill considerably over the years (as has the entire top 40 genre). When these pictures were taken (11-1-10), KMLD was on the air but was a dead carrier. As of December 2013, the station was back on air, but considerably weak in and around Casper with poor overmodulated audio. The station carried dead air for at least two days because when I returned the next day, it was still broadcasting absolutely nothing. This saddened me that a legendary station in the area can not get engineers to figure out what is wrong. There seemed to be a lot of this going on when we visited. I blame Mount Rushmore Broadcasting for poor services.
The other station is KLWC, 89.1, the (annoying) K-Love affiliate for the area, which boasts a mighty 2.7 kw signal that reaches as far north as Midwest, Wyoming (most other Casper stations can be heard as far north as Buffalo, WY). KLWC used to have a translator on 107.3, which is now owned by a Douglas Broadcasting, simulcasting KKTS-FM which no where near makes it to Casper. The translator feeds audio to Casper's newest AM station 1580 KKTS, which makes it the 2nd top 40 station in the market (leans more Hot AC). KLWC has a translator on 105.9 K290BG-FM from the KTED site. It is only carrying 21 watts, and I'm assuming serves to fill in the coverage gap created by the mountain itself. Meh.
Also from this tower, came KZQL 105.5, an oldies station. It was previously known as KHAD, with a different format. KZQL was the station of choice while up on the mountain, as was KASS-FM. KZQL is licensed to Mills, Wyoming, a suburb of Casper, and is owned by The Casper Radio Group. At the time of this writing, KZQL moved its tower to the same tower in use by Gapwest Broadasting, as seen far above... as if that tower can't have enough stations already :D. KHAD is now a radio station in Upton, Wyoming, simulcasting KTED below.
2nd to last but not least, we visit the newest member of the tower farm on Casper Mountain, which we will call, the "KTED" site. KTED is (broken record) another rocker in Casper, and was previously one of the area's newest operational stations.
In summary, here are the stations that were on and off air during the Casper Mountain visit: (11/1/10)
|KLWC-FM||ON AIR||KASS-FM||ON AIR|
|KDAD-FM||ON AIR||K297AV||OFF AIR|
|KMLD-FM||OFF AIR||KPTW-TV||ON AIR|
|KWYY-FM||ON AIR||KCWY-TV||ON AIR|
|KRNK-FM||ON AIR||KGWC-TV||ON AIR|
|KTED-FM||ON AIR||KTWO-TV||ON AIR|
|KHOC-FM||OFF AIR||KFNB-TV||ON AIR (nice DT-2)|
|KQLT-FM||ON AIR||K26ES-TV||ON AIR (acceptable quality analog)|
|KTRS-FM||ON AIR||K33GI-TV||ON AIR (acceptable quality analog)|
|KZLQ-FM||ON AIR||KWYX-FM||OFF AIR|
|KGRK-FM||OFF AIR||KCYA-FM||OFF AIR|
Update as of December 2013, all stations except KWYX, KCYA, and KGRK, were on air.
Here is the western side of the mountain's towers, which includes TV station KGWC (14-UHF) , and the local NPR affiliate KUWC on 91.3, as well as 88.3 KKRR, an oldies/religious station. Both KUWC and KKRR are lower powered, each under 600 watts ERP. KUWC broadcasts in HD. For some reason, I was unable to find the access road, though if I had a proper map, would have found those sites easily. Sufficient to say, the sites for KTWO (Digital)/KGWC/KPTW and KUWC (along with numerous translators and the TBN affilate mentioned earlier) are near Hogadon Ski area. I can not accurately pinpoint which towers are which, but those stations listed above come from this side of the mountain. This picture was taken on April 27, 2011 during a snowstorm on the mountain. Even if I had found the access road, I wouldn't likely be able to get closer to the towers.
I will leave you with an awesome panorama of Casper, from the mountain. Once again, any corrections can/will be accepted. Email dxfm1019 AT gmail.com
This page was updated December 20, 2013.