1,200-Foot Tower To Be Built In Strawberry


It will be three-and-a-half times taller than Godzilla.

Fifty feet shorter than the Empire State Building.

Two-and-a-half times the height of Egypt's Khufu Pyramid.

And by fall, KAJM's 1,200-foot radio broadcasting tower illuminated by powerful white strobe lights may become the beacon that identifies the town of Strawberry from the air.

The Scottsdale-based Rainbow Broadcasting Inc., which owns and operates the Payson radio station KAJM 104.3 (formerly KRIM), as well as the Valley's KAZL 101.1, expects to shell out between $750,000 and $1.2 million to "upgrade" its current 200-foot tower three miles north of Strawberry.

Construction of the tower, which will boost the broadcast power of both of Rainbow's stations, is expected to begin after the company secures final Federal Communications Commission approval, Rainbow Broadcasting General Manager Jim Seemiller said. "That will probably take between 60 to 90 days, and then construction would probably begin immediately thereafter," Seemiller said.

"We anticipate completion in the fall, barring unforeseen problems, of course."

Michael Day, chief engineer for Rainbow Broadcasting, said that the tower will not increase KAJM's broadcast range, which is estimated at a 35-mile radius of Payson, but "It will increase the signal density so people within that range can hear (the station) more clearly. Payson will be able to advertise and promote itself to the Valley, to Flagstaff, to places where, right now, our signal is decent but fuzzy."

Seemiller said he expects the tower to increase advertising revenue and listenership for Rainbow Broadcasting, but, he said, the company's investment involves other factors as well.

"From an FAA safety standpoint, the new tower, because of the lighting, will be 1,000 times safer than what exists today: a 200-foot tower that cannot be seen at all.

"Also, I think Payson is becoming a regional center," Seemiller said. "But what do you have?

Three radio stations and one newspaper. We are really gung-ho on Payson as an important part of the growth of Arizona. The more coverage we have, the more we can be a spokesperson for Payson and its environment. We'll be able to reach a lot of people who can come up and make the economy of Payson a lot better."

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