New WBFO Tower, Antenna Improve Quality, Audience Reach

By Kelli Bocock-Natale

Release Date: May 5, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- WBFO 88.7 FM, a major public service of the University at Buffalo, has completed installation of a new tower and antenna that will improve significantly the quality of its signal to all of its listeners and extend its reach to new audiences that currently do not receive public radio services.

Standing 45 percent higher than WBFO's old tower, the new 443-foot tower and antenna will allow the station to deliver a significantly stronger signal to more than 1.15 million people within its broadcast areas in Buffalo Niagara and the Southern Tier. The equipment upgrade will greatly improve WBFO's transmission within the urban environment, and also will provide a clearer signal to WBFO's repeater stations in Jamestown and Olean. In addition, it will extend full public-radio service to an additional 50,000 residents to the east and south of the station's current delivery area. The tower is located off of North Forest and Heim roads in Amherst not far from UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

The completion of the new tower project enhances WBFO's capacity to serve the residents of Western New York and the Southern Tier, according to Carole Smith Petro, associate vice president and WBFO general manager.

"The new tower is the latest and most significant step in the station's on-going investment in upgrading our technology, including the conversion from analog to digital studio equipment in 2003, conversion to an HD signal in 2007, and installation of a new audio server and MediaTouch automation operation system," Petro said. "These investments were made possible by state and federal sources, as well as foundation grants, membership contributions and underwriting dollars."

During the next couple of weeks, WBFO will intermittently need to rely upon is back-up (lower power) transmitter, in order to insure the safety of the crew that will be removing the old tower.

The new tower and antenna project has been funded to date through financial support from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program of the Department of Commerce (PTFP); the Cameron Baird Foundation, The Buffalo News and the WBFO Advisory Board. Additional support is being solicited from regional foundations, as well as individual donors.

WBFO 88.7 FM is Western New York's most listened to National Public Radio (NPR) station. It reaches an audience each week of nearly 100,000 people through its main signal in Buffalo and through repeater stations WUBJ 88.1 FM in Jamestown and WOLN 91.3 FM in Olean. WBFO's award-winning news department offers comprehensive coverage of regional and worldwide news. The station also offers a depth of programming not available elsewhere in the community, including NPR/PRI news and entertainment programs, public and cultural affairs programming and jazz and blues.

For more information regarding the tower and antenna, please contact WBFO Program Director David Benders at 716-829-6000 ext. 502, dbenders@wbfo.org or Kelli Bocock-Natale at 716-829-6000 ext 538, knatale@wbfo.org.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.