10/29/04 — Mt. Olive station wants to move tower

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Mt. Olive station wants to move tower

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on October 29, 2004 2:00 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The town Airport Committee met with Ann Mayo and Steven Hartsell, a lawyer from the Federal Communications Commission, to talk about moving the 200-foot-tall tower that transmits the signal from the family's radio station.

WDJS is at 990 N. Center St., about a mile from the town's airport and inside the airport zone. The tower has been grandfathered into the town's zoning ordinance. But the family wants a stronger signal, and the pilots at the airport want the tower moved.

The family has struggled for the past year to find a place to move the tower. They want the Airport Committee to apply for state grants to help cover the costs.

"We had three possible places this summer," said Mrs. Mayo. The family chose one. The seller backed out of the deal. Then, another one of the three landowners offered land farther back in the same field. It's somewhere just inside the Duplin County line. The family is working on getting an option on that land and hoping for approval of that site by the FCC.

"The engineer is pretty sure that land will pass," she said. "He's pretty sure he can get it through the FCC pretty quickly."

Hartsell said the FCC is analyzing measurements that were taken a couple weeks ago.

"As soon as we can get the engineer's determination as to whether it will work, we can put together a list of expenses," he said.

Moving an AM tower is complicated. The transmitter goes with the tower, and underground radial cables are part of the source of the transmission. The entire system has to be taken up, and a new ground radial system will have to be installed at the new place.

"A lot of technical issues play into what the expense will be," said Hartsell, who has received preliminary estimates to move the tower. They run close to $500,000.

Jay Talbot said he doubts it would cost that much, and he recommended the Airport Committee get detailed estimates.

"It sounds much higher than what we see go up," he said.

Mrs. Mayo said the family had some estimates that were higher. She said that's the reason she has not provided the Airport Committee with a list of costs already.

Chairman Bob Quinn said the Airport Committee will be glad to help get money from the state Division of Aviation to help with the relocation. But he reminded Hartsell that state funding is based on "reasonable prices."