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Times Sq. TV tower signs WABC-TV.

WABC-TV has signed a lease agreement to join television and FM radio stations utilizing the new 385-foot-high transmission tower atop Four Times Square in Manhattan, at an elevation of 1168 feet above mean sea level (AMSL).

WABC will utilize the multiple master-antenna tower as a back-up for its Channel 7 New York analog station, and as a primary transmission source for it Channel 45 New York digital station, according to The Durst Organization, which developed and owns the 1.6-million sq.-ft, office building, also known as the Conde Nast Building.

Durst officials report that WABC's Channel 45 digital station commenced broadcast operations last month.

The WABC-TV lease agreement runs for 15 years, according to Douglas Durst and Jody Durst, co-presidents of the development firm that bears their name. It follows last summer's signing of a 15-year license with Univision Communications, Inc..

This brings the total TV stations committed to the new tower to five. A new agreement with WKCR Radio to transmit from the tower's new antenna brings the total of radio stations using the tower's new FM antenna to nine.

The four master TV antennas and one master FM radio antenna were designed to accommodate all of the over-the-air TV & FM broadcasters in the Tri-state market in both analogue and digital formats.

"Studies indicate that the signal coverage from the new tower will provide service to 95%-to-98% of the population formerly provided by the World Trade Center," points out Douglas Durst. "As such, it is a solid TV broadcasting alternative--either as a backup to the Empire State Building, which is now the primary transmission center for almost all major television stations, or as a primary transmission center."

Since the Durst tower is a "plug-and-play" facility, it can be used by multiple operators. The facility has acquired FAA and EDC approval, as well as FCC antenna structure registration.

An existing FM master antenna on the building which formerly accommodated the back-up needs of eight radio stations, was temporarily relocated to another location on the building roof top in April, when the building's original 132-feet-high tower was taken down. The FM antenna is being replaced by a new master antenna system offering Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) capability for up to 18 FM stations.

The fact that a 200-foot tower was originally designed as part of the building, was instrumental in allowing the building owners to develop the 400-feet-high tower atop a fully occupied office building in a six-month time frame.

Four Times Square's new antennas and tower support systems were fabricated from June through September of this year. The tower was erected over the summer and final transmission lines and antennae were in place by October.

The tower was manufactured by Electronics Research, Inc. of Chandler, Ind. Dieletric Communications of Raymond, Me. supplied two UHF master antennas, two VHF master antennas and one single-channel VHF antenna. Shively Labs of Bridgeton, Me. provided the new FM master antenna designed for analog and DAB operation.

MYAT of Norwood, N.J., supplied required television combiners, while Riser Management Systems of Burlington, Vt. developed the tower and antenna system's RFP and provided associated consulting services. RF design specifications were prepared by Clarence Beverage of Communications Technologies, Inc., Marlton, N.J.

Tishman Construction Company acted as construction manager for the project. John Lyons, Durst's Manager of Communications and Broadcast Operations, oversaw the project for The Durst Organization. Thomas M. Bow, Senior Vice President of Leasing at The Durst Organization, negotiated the license agreements with both WABC-TV and Univision Communications, Inc.

Opened in 1999, Four Times Square was the first new office tower constructed as part of the Times Square redevelopment.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 19, 2003
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