Residents give static over proposed CBS tower


Broadcast TowerThe proposed AM tower would be built next to the existing AM tower near the Moorestown-Cinnaminson, NJ border: The AM tower for 50-kW WPHT-AM—located in an open field—was built roughly 60 years ago (before most of the surrounding homes) and a number of Cinnaminson residents say it’s been a source of disturbances ever since. Now they’re concerned a proposed second tower will create even more problems.

CBS Radio East Inc., which owns the existing tower and the 21 acres it sits on, sent letters to residents near the tower earlier this month informing them of its intention to build a separate (auxiliary) 199-ft tower for the station closer to the road. But local resident Kathleen Johnston told the Moorestown Patch that many of the residents affected by the AM tower, which number in the “hundreds,” may not have gotten the letter.

“When Kathleen Johnston first moved into her Concord Drive home in Cinnaminson 10 years ago, she thought her house was haunted. Why else would voices be coming out of her light switches and outlets? One visit from an electrician later and Johnston learned the voices weren’t anything supernatural—interference from the radio tower near her home was the root of the problem,” said the story.

Arlene Creach, who lives nearby on Lexington Drive, said she’s grappled with interference from the tower since she moved in 42 years ago. “As soon as we moved in, we had major problems. I thought we had a haunted house,” said Creach, echoing Johnston. People calling her house would hear radio broadcasts coming through the phone, she said. “People used to tell us to turn the radio down, but we didn’t have the radio on. The phone company put four filters on our phone to stop the interference … It still comes through sometimes.”

CBS will appear before the Moorestown Zoning Board 1/21 seeking variances for the project. Chiefly, CBS seeks approval to exceed the 45-foot height restriction placed on buildings in the SRI (Specially Restricted Industrial) zone.

See the Moorestown Patch story here.


  1. Radio stations are required to do everything possible to eliminate blanketing interference to existing residences and businesses within a certain distance of their facilities. Filters, proper grounding and “a little witchcraft” go a long way to resolve these problems. FM interference is usually easier to deal with than AM interference.

    Building a house or business next to an existing broadcast tower is an issue which the broadcaster has very little control over. As water lines, power lines, cable and telephone wires are installed in a developing neighborhood, these can create a multitude of pathways for a signal to enter a building.

    It’s almost like the person who builds a house next to a pig farm and then complains about the odor on a hot summer day. There’s not much that can be done to completely eliminate the problem.

  2. Ditto with airports, Bill. It is a “LOT” harder to move an airport due to the massive amount of clear and level land needed for both the runways and room for the planes to maneuver as they come in to land and after takeoff, plus the terminals, taxi-ways, a “possible” smaller cross runway, parking, etc.

    People know they are building or moving in next to the airport — kind of hard to miss — then gripe how loud the planes are expecting the airport to pay to ‘insulate’ their house from the noise.

    MANY, “MANY” airports were built in areas that had a “LOT” of room around them at first. (Reno was more than a half mile drive through a pasture to get to the terminal and the runways to the east of the terminal.

    Now, even the 1,000 acres of Univsity of Nevada, Reno, farmland — one of the last major “open” areas of Reno — is being assaulted for roughly 100 acres to build MORE “office space” with less than an 80% occupancy rate for other buildings in the area.

    The nearest area flat / open enough to build another airport and no “home” or “business” buildlings around, is roughly 70 miles to the east of Reno, which is an alkali flat. (Imagine the cost to solidify the land to build the structures needed.) Does anyyone think the thousands of people who are coming to or leaving Reno would want to be bussed that far and the cost of the bus ride?

    KVLV 980 in Fallon, was built in 1957. Open fields all around it. Now, there are houses pretty much next to the guy wires holding the tower for how much build-out there has been; the station still gets complaints of radio signals in telephone and other lines which the station had been ordered to pay for the silencing if at all possible.

    By the current KPLY 630, how they got a ground plane built in the rocky side of a hill I’m intrigued, there are now a few houses that needed to have steel supports to hold parts of the houses up in the same terrain. (One has to travel more than a quarter mile to get to the towers … someone was silly enough to buy and build just about 300′ from them, then complained about the ‘noise’.)

    One would think the planning departments and commissions would require the “realtors”, “developers” and “tennants”, to sign a “waiver” of knowledge that where they are moving in to are in areas that interference or noise or such are a factor and the “tennant” is the responsible party, not the business who has been there for decades PRIOR to their coming in.

    (Build a block away from a refinery, you better expect there is going to be an ‘oil’ smell in the area.)

    SAFETY of the business such as an oil refinery? Even if two miles away, if something does happen, yes, THAT would be the responsibility of the business to take care of whatever damage may happen. Why there is insurance for vehicle owners in case they do something stupid and crash in to a house.

    This “move in and complain” attitude of many when the place they are complaining about has been in the same location for AGES and often in a ‘barren’ area when first built, and expect that place to fix THEIR problems, is more and more ludicrous. Airports can’t simply move to another location a block or mile away. Towers cost to build, especially “AM” towers with the area needed for the ground plane and ‘guys’. (Insurance doesn’t pay for a move due to ‘idiot’ people moving in next to one.)

    Interesting though, that this station isn’t going to install the FM’s on the existing AM towers. A case COULD be made that this is a “NEW” installation and the people were there first. (This is where a ‘developer’ buys out open / agricultural property to build 15 story tall apartments / condos and a shopping mall, by land that people purchased long ago due to the open acreage and open viewing and the planning commission approves the zoning changes against a thousand ‘complaints’ about the plan.)

    (Silver City, NV., is that for the mining company that opened a couple years ago against essentially the WHOLE town complaint — this is a ‘historical’ location — NOW the ‘county commission’ against the planning commission’s 5-0 vote “against” the expansion and of course the complaints AGAIN by the people that they believed this “expansion” would be requested if the “original” plan was approved — approved the expansion. (Hey, it’s $$$$$ to the county which “individuals” cannot afford the same amount.))

    On this, I can see the complaints of the people. The “AM” towers were there first … quiet down people. The FM’s are new. They may have a complaint.

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