The strange case of SLC’s KZNS-FM


RBR-TVBR reported that Larry H. Miller is buying KZNS AM-FM to go along with his Salt Lake City television station. We didn’t mention the oddity of the KZNS-FM signal. Here’s the oddball fact: Only a resident of the city who is somehow suspended several thousand feet above the city will be able to hear the station’s primary signal.

The information comes from consultant David Schutz of Hoffman Schutz, whose membership in the broadcasting walking encyclopedia contingent remains in good standing.

It seems that the tower for KZNS is located on a site called Humpy Peak. The HAAT of the KZNS tower is 2,123’. But its height above sea level is a more breath-taking 10,925’.

According to Schutz, the master antenna for KZNS and ten other stations is hi-gain and horizontally polarized only. From their lofty home, they produce a signal that is inaudible on the ground. Rather, they rely on a seven-point system of boosters to reach an SLC audience. It was all done with FCC approval.

It brings new meaning to the phrase “drop-in” and is likely a one-of-a-kind situation, since most Arbitron markets do not come with a handy dandy 11,000’ peak in the vicinity.

KZNS AM-FM were among the stations in the ill-fated radio partnership that included Bruce Buzil and Christopher Devine, among others. They are being sold by SLC Divestiture Trust I to Miller for $2.918M.