KFMW-FM 107.9 Waterloo IA Tommy Brown 1988

KFMW has one of the biggest FM signals in the United States!  Transmitting from a tall TV tower, their antenna is 1,755 feet above the ground and 1,804 feet above average terrain.  They used to ID as “FM108, KFMW, Waterloo/Cedar Rapids/Iowa City/Dubuque!”  It was no exaggeration, either.  Their signal covered all 4 markets.  With a car radio or other exceptional receiver, it could also be heard in Des Moines, the Quad Cities, Fort Dodge, and Mason City.  Notice how the current temperatures are given for Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines.

Unfortunately, that big signal has had its wings clipped in recent years, due to encroachment of new co-channel and first adjacent channel stations on the fringes of it’s contour.  Coverage is still massive, however.  Even today, “Rock 108” as the station is now known, routinely shows up in the Mason City ratings book. That’s nearly 100 miles away!

In the late 1980s, KFMW was locked in a tight CHR battle with crosstown KOKZ, as well as Cedar Rapids’ KQCR and Iowa City’s KKRQ. Hard to believe there were once four CHRs in this area, all live and local.  Speaking of coverage, this aircheck was recorded from the south Twin Cities suburb of Apple Valley, Minnesota.  Even though we had local KQQL on 107.9, I could often pull in KFMW by getting just the right beam angle on my Winegard 10 element FM yagi antenna.  Such was the case on this particular evening.  Have I mentioned lately that KFMW has a rather strong signal and impressive coverage area?

Also used in capturing this broadcast were a Pioneer SX-3900 receiver, Alliance U-100 Tenna Rotor, Belden RG59 ultra low loss coaxial cable, Sears stereo cassette deck, and BASF 60 minute normal bias tape.


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