WGHT Signs-Off

North Jersey 1500 WGHT Pompton LakesFollowing its donation to the Borough of Pompton Lakes, Mariana Broadcasting’s Full Service Oldies “North Jersey 1500” WGHT Pompton Lakes NJ signed off at 2:00 this afternoon.

NorthJersey.com reports that the staff was required by the borough to vacate by 2:00 when they were expected to do a walk-through of the property. The paper also reports that the borough was in talks with William Paterson University to operate the station until the school broke off talks yesterday over budgetary issues.

Mayor Michael Serra was quoted, “We do not want to see the radio station end. We would love to just have it going the way that it was. That’s not going to work. If another group comes forward and has some interest in running a radio station, they should put together a presentation and come speak with us. We are not against somebody else running it with us owning it.”

Sean Ross gave a Final Listen of the station earlier this week.

Original Report 6/21: Another AM will go silent rather attempt to “revitalize” as Mariana Broadcasting’s Full Service Oldies “North Jersey 1500” WGHT Pompton Lakes NJ has announced its intent to sign-off at the end of this summer.

An AM daytimer operating with 1kW in the shadows of New York City, WGHT was unable to keep competing with the plethora of media options available in the area. Owner/GM/Midday Host John Silliman intends to attempt to donate the license to a local school or non-profit.

WGHT has been in its current format since 1993 when Mariana purchased then WKER from the estate of station founder Robert Kerr. The station’s most famous alumnus is current Fox Sports studio host and NFL play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, who started his career at WGHT out of college.

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  1. Joseph_Gallant says

    One problem for WGHT-1500 is the fact it’s a daytimer that must sign-off at sunset to protect WFED (once known as WTOP-AM) in Washington, D.C.

    During the Winter, the station has almost no afternoon drive hours, since in December, they likely have to sign-off at 4:30 P.M.

    1. Charles Everett says

      Every daytimer has that problem, Joseph.
      The real problem appears to be that the owners milked the facility rather than invest in it. I understand that North Jersey 1500 is still using cart machines in the on-air studio when everyone else has converted to digital storage for audio.

      1. Steve Varholy says

        Wax cylinders or the latest version of NexGen, it doesn’t matter if no one can hear what you are playing.

        The AM on FM Translator thing was supposed to help address the signal issue.

      2. Jack Bayes says

        Buying an automation system isn’t exactly cheap. Staffing a whole day (even as a daytimer) isn’t cheap either. Neither is an indication of an owner milking it. There likely wasn’t much to milk. It also seems unlikely there’d be an open frequency for a translator in North Jersey.

  2. tonyp says

    It is tough to see the struggle for small AM stations, especially day timers, to afford to stay on the air. I don’t see Pompton Lakes bringing the station back on the air. The station needs a total makeover and a FM translator.
    WGHT was a unique station from the listener’s perspective. The “Live and Local, the depth of music, the on-air talent’s willingness to embrace the listener, and the different “flavor” of each show made listening all day a pleasure, these are rare traits.
    WGHT was in a time warp, taking the listener back to a time when AM radio was king. WGHT going silent is the end of an era.

  3. dr. akbar says

    It sits in a flood plain next to the municipal sewage plant, so Pompton Lakes was happy to take the donation. They’ve made it clear that they’re not broadcasters, but would like someone to run it for the time being. Interesting that a number of years ago the licensee petitioned the FCC for a translator that was turned back in. The FCC said no…darned shame they didn’t get one during revitalization. With WFED breathing down their neck, the station has never been able to get more than daytime authorization. Could be the end of the line for WGHT, and what was once WKER.

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