19 Years Ago 94.9 HOM’s Transmitter Site Burned to the Ground Atop Mount Washington
Having one of the strongest FM radio signals in the world is reflected in 94.9 HOM's name. HOM stands for High On the Mountain. That mountain of course is Mount Washington with a height of over 6000 feet which gives HOM its massive coverage area. Having a transmitter that high on a mountain that is not easy to access quickly is contributed to HOM going off the air on
On February 9, 2003 around 4 p.m. a fire broke out in the power house. The HOM Program Director at the time, Tim Moore, was listening to the station in his office when he heard the station slowly fade away to static. What he didn't know at the time is that the HOM transmitter was part of the blaze and as it burned the signal slowly died.
As the fire house burned, the electricity went out and the crew at the Mount Washington Observatory had to be evacuated. Not only was HOM's transmitter destroyed, so was WPKQ's transmitter and a transmitter for Channel 8 WMTW.
Now the challenge was to figure out a way to keep HOM on the air without a transmitter in an age where online streaming was in its infancy.
It took a lot of work to make it happen, but through the help of many engineers and even HOM's competitors, they found a way to get HOM back on the air, even though the signal was significantly less powerful until rebuilding could happen on the summit.
Tim Moore recalled that day 19 years ago with a Facebook post:
19 years ago today---WHOM's (and WMTW-TV's) Transmitter building caught fire on the summit of Mt. Washington---an incredible day--and the start of a year-long journey to recover---I salute all the incredible engineers (from all the area radio and TV stations-even competitors) who joined together to get us back on the air and braved some pretty crappy weather to improvise ways for us to resume broadcasting.
Long time HOM sales executive Kelly Lloyd also recalled that day:
19 years ago today was the fire on top of Mount Washington that took our towers down. Amazing how quickly engineers and so many others got us back up and running. I did not lose one cent of business... Just goes to show you how well we took care of our clients and how dedicated they are to us."
The building was rebuilt, a new transmitter was installed and nearly 20 years later, HOM is still here with one of the largest FM signals in the world as it has been for over 60 years. "We're High On the Mountain!"
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