For me this was going back to where it all began. What am I talking about? The birthplace of FM radio, my profession, which has roots right here in New Jersey! It’s the Armstrong Tower (pictured above) and it’s located in Alpine, New Jersey.

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Here is the story...

FM radio was invented by Edwin Armstrong, who in 1933 basically came up with the science behind “frequency modulation” (aka FM) which brought a better signal and a clearer broadcasting platform. AM radio will travel further but FM has better quality. Long story short, FM took some time to take off because you needed a new radio to listen. Armstrong eventually built his own tower which cost an estimated $300,000.00 according to njpalisades.org and rises 425 feet in the Jersey sky overlooking the Hudson River in Alpine. This is where it all began and for all of us on the air at 92.7 WOBM we would not be here if not for the work of Edwin Armstrong.

April and I decided to take a road trip to Alpine which is about 2 hours from Ocean County. Alpine is about 15 miles north of Manhattan in Bergen County along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. We found a great spot to take photos and video to share with you.

The funny thing is that as radio has evolved we have now outlived the FM broadcast now that we can use an internet-based broadcast. Internet broadcast has eliminated a “broadcast area”. For example, with our 92.7 WOBM App you can listen to us anywhere on planet earth, if you have internet access. No more saying “Oh I lost your signal after mile marker such and such".

I have now worked in AM, FM, and Internet broadcasting and must say we are at our best now, but would not have gotten here without the work of Edwin Armstrong and his work on broadcasting here in New Jersey. Although he did broadcast the first FM radio station from Alpine, he was in constant battles over the rights to FM broadcast and it depleted him financially and emotionally. In New York City in 1954, Armstrong committed suicide at the age of 64 when he jumped from a building. On a positive note his wife, Marion Armstrong, fought all the legal challenges in court and won ALL. In 1967 Edwin Armstrong was named as the official inventor of FM radio.

One side note, even after being shut off several years ago, the Armstrong Tower powered up and broadcast in 2001 following the 9/11 attack on NYC, which affected their abilities to broadcast in the city. The Armstrong Tower served the needs of the nation once again and from right here in New Jersey.

Thank you, Edwin & Marion.

Armstrong Tower

 

 

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