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Seeking higher ground: WMEX looks to improve signal with Rochester Hill move

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WMEX GM and morning personality Gary James broadcasting live from the Gonic Mill. (Rochester Voice file photo)

GONIC - In radio, a station's reach is all about its wattage and the height of its antenna.

And since WMEX General Manager and morning disc jockey Gary James can't increase the power of Rochester's only radio station, he wants to move the station's antenna from atop the Gonic Mill to atop the water tower on Rochester Hill.

"If we can get the antenna there we can cover all of Rochester easily," James said on Friday.

James said that currently some areas of Rochester, especially sections near Route 11 near Farmington and Route 125 near Milton aren't getting a clear, strong signal.

"In FM radio it's all about height," he said. "There's a substantial difference between the Gonic Mill roof and the water tower, maybe 300 feet."

Since the station operates as a nonprofit, James is asking for donations to help raise about $2,000 to move the antenna.

Money would go toward buying some computer equipment that would go into a shed near the water tower and paying someone to climb the tower to install the antenna.

In addition to moving the antenna, the radio station is also seeking to change its frequency from its current 105.9 to 96.1. This will also enhance listener's reception as the signal won't be bumping up against other stations.

The bulk of WMEX programming is "the most amazing oldies," James said, but the station also has local news and sports and broadcasts Spaulding High football, hockey and boys and girls basketball games.

The Rochester Voice provides news headlines every weekday at the top of the hour from 6-9 a.m., and WMEX sports director Gerry Gilbert follows with local sports.

James said he's hoping to have the antenna project completed by the end of the summer or fall if the funding materializes.

"This move is very important," he said.

To make a contribution to the project visit the station's website at wmexradio.com or click here. You'll find a donate button at the left bottom of the home page.

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