ST. GEORGE – A Washington County landmark radio tower was taken down a little after noon Monday.
“In 1982, this tower was erected and has run under several call letters,” Gary Smith, director of engineering for Cherry Creek Radio, said. “KCLG, KONY, KUNF and now KHKR.”
The 1210 AM tower was easily visible from Interstate 15 and was located on Buena Vista Drive in Washington City.
“It’s kind of a historic tower in the sense that it’s a landmark when you come into Washington and St. George,” Smith said, “and it’s no longer going to be with us.”
“A little piece of history, now, is gone by the wayside,” he said.
“Let’s just chalk it up to progress.”
St. George News reporter Ric Wayman worked for the original owners and remembers climbing the tower to help with maintenance when the station was off the air.
“The view was beautiful,” Wayman said. “I was a lot younger then. It was rather disconcerting, however, to feel it sway back and forth with the wind. Nevertheless, I’m sorry to see it go.”
Transmissions from the tower have already ceased; operations have been moved to a location in Washington Fields, Smith said.
The land where the tower is located is owned by the city of Washington and the lease expired about 10 years ago, Smith said. The company has been renewing the lease ever since, but now the city wants to use the land for something else.
Around the country, it’s getting harder and harder to find land to host AM towers, Smith said. The Washington radio tower site is about 18 acres, most of which is a network of underground copper ground wires.
“AM is not the most profitable radio station type,” Smith said. “And they’re expensive to operate.”
The copper will be removed along with the rest of the tower structure, Smith said.
“Everything here that can be salvaged will be salvaged and all that will be done by tonight or tomorrow morning,” he said.
The radio station was put on the air Feb. 1, 1982, by Glenn Gardner and Willard Monroe “Tommy” Tucker with the call sign KCLG, named after Gardner’s wife, Connie Lynn. The original studios were located in a house on Telegraph Street, now home to an insurance office.
In May 1987 it became KONY after the original owners sold, moving to studios on 900 East just north of St. George Boulevard.
In September 1999 the call sign was changed to KUNF and in 2013 Cherry Creek Radio changed the call to KHKR.
KHKR 1210 AM Sports Radio will now operate from the KDXU News Talk 890 AM transmitter site in Washington Fields, Smith said. KHKR Sports Radio is also available on 97.7 FM; KDXU News Talk is now heard on 94.9 FM as well as 890 AM.
St. George News reporter Ric Wayman contributed to this report.
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