WLVE-FM 94.9 Baraboo Madison WI 1982

WLVE Love Stereo 95FM was the Beautiful Music outlet for Madison as well as for much of south central Wisconsin.  Though licensed to Baraboo (near Wisconsin Dells), their large signal footprint blanketed Madison and beyond.  With my receiver and antenna system, I had no problem hearing them on a regular basis from Apple Valley, Minnesota. 

Big coverage is somewhat unusual, since Baraboo falls within the “Class B” region. FM stations here have a maximum output of 50,000 watts at 500 feet.  By comparison, the rest of Wisconsin is a “Class C region”, with maximums of 100,000 watts at 2,000 feet.  Engineer Chris Tarr told me it’s because WLVE was “grandfathered” into the new rules.  This allows them a tower height of 1,299 feet vs the 500 foot limit that would otherwise apply.  As everyone knows, height is king regarding distance coverage on FM!

This aircheck consists of two station breaks.  The weather forecast is given, followed by a PSA and station identifier (first break) or Legal ID (second break.)  Very basic formatics.  A long “pause” between elements was common among Beautiful Music stations of the time.  I left the final pause intact so you could hear how “clean” the frequency was at my location. 

My Winegard 10 element FM yagi antenna was extremely directional.  It had great rejection, especially off the sides of the beam.  I could hear four stations on 94.9: KQDS Duluth, WLVE Baraboo, KGGO Des Moines, and KQAA Aberdeen.  All could be received clearly and free of interference from each other, simply by rotating the antenna. Of course, this was before the FCC began shoehorning in several new stations and allowing FM translators on every so-called “open” FM frequency.  Reception of WOLX (successor to WLVE) would be impossible from this location today, due to co-channel KLCH in Lake City and W235CT, the Minneapolis Radio Rey translator.

In addition to the big Winegard beam, I used a Pioneer SX-3900 receiver, Alliance rotor, Belden RG59 ultra low loss coaxial cable, Technics stereo cassette deck, and Scotch Dynarange 90 tape for this project.


PS: If you know who the announcer is in this clip, please let me know.  Thanks!