Below is a recent photo of the 288 Delaney Street site first occupied by the WOPI transmitter and tower in 1954 and still in use as WOPI's transmitter site today. From sometime in the 1980's until 1990 this site was also WOPI's main studio. In 1990 just before the station was purchased by Joe Morrell, Inc., and its studio moved to "The Grand Guitar" building (which is pictured on our History page), the original small block building on Delaney Street was greatly expanded to accommodate sales and administrative offices. Beginning in 1996 when Holston Valley Broadcasting purchased WOPI the Delaney Street site has again been used as a studio ------ this time as an "auxiliary" studio from which WOPI's programming originates from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
Recently the WOPI transmitter tower at the Delaney Street site was refurbished. In addition to a new paint job, the guy wires were replaced. Pictured below are two members of the tower crew at work high above the ground.
The 1991 affiliation of WOPI with The WKPT Radio Network and WOPI's 1996 purchase by Holston Valley Broadcasting Corporation, represented a union of two of the Tri-City area's three oldest stations. The area's oldest station, WOPI, regained during most hours each week the traditional musical format it had enjoyed and which had made it famous during most of its six decade-plus history with nostalgic big band and easy listening music and a heavy dose of news and sports. At the same time WOPI was able to retain the historic old time country and bluegrass elements, which began with the station's inception in 1929 as the first station licensed to Bristol, "The Birthplace of Country Music."
Frequency & Power of WOPI:
WOPI signed on in 1929 on 1500 kiloHertz (known as "kilocycles" in those days!). Back then the AM dial ended at 1500! (That's why WTOP in Washington, DC, which operated then as it does today at 1500, chose WTOP as its call letters. W-TOP was at what was then the "Top of the dial.") In 1940 the AM or "Standard Broadcast Band" in the U.S. was extended to 1600 kiloHertz, and most of the nation's radio stations (there were only about 600 at the time) were required by the FCC to change frequencies. WOPI's new dial position was 1490, where it remains today. Only recently the AM band was extended again, this time to 1700 kiloHertz.
In 1929 WOPI operated with only 100 watts of power. Later its power was increased to 250 watts. Around 1959 the station's daytime power was increased to 1,000 watts, but Class IV local stations like WOPI were still forced by FCC regulation to return to 250 watts during nighttime hours. Later almost all of the nation's Class IV AM Stations (now known as Class C AM stations) including WOPI were allowed to keep their 1,000 watt daytime power levels during nighttime hours; thus, the oldest station between Knoxville and Roanoke now operates with 1,000 watts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is the maximum power the FCC allows for Class C AM Stations.
Here's an interesting AM Radio Fact: Class C AM stations are found on only six of the 117 AM channels. These six dial positions are 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450, and 1490. There are some 5,000 AM stations in the U.S.. Over 1200 of these are Class C AM stations; hence, some 25% of all AM stations operate on less than 5% of the AM channels!
Secondary Audio Program:
If you experience difficulty hearing WOPI clearly when it is carrying the programming of The WKPT Radio Network remember there are other ways to tune in. On AM The WKPT Radio Network is heard on the following stations:
WKPT 1400 kHz Kingsport, TN
WOPI 1490 kHz Bristol, TN/VA
WKTP 1590 kHz Jonesborough, / Johnson City, TN
You can also hear The WKPT Radio Network with "FM quality sound" through the Secondary Audio Program (or S-A-P) channels of WKPT Television, ABC, UHF channel 19, or WAPK Television, UPN, UHF, channel 30. Simply tune your Stereo/Multi-channel-Sound-equipped TV set or VCR to one of these television stations and push the multi-channel sound button until you reach the "SAP" position. (Usually there are three settings, Mono, Stereo, and SAP.) The FM quality SAP sound quality never varies from day to night and can be heard anywhere the TV station can be seen --- either directly on the TV station's originating UHF channel, or through one of the translator stations or cable systems, which relay the station. In addition, The WKPT Radio Network can be heard through Tennessee's 1st Digital TV Station, WKPT-DT/27.
For more information including coverage maps of all three of the AM stations on The WKPT Radio Network or for more information on SAP, check out The WKPT Radio Network web-site at www.wkptam.com. The coverage maps for Television stations WKPT and WAPK can be found on the web at www.wkpttv.com or www.wapktv.com.
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