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WROW-AM wants to build solar farm under radio towers

WROW AM is transmitted from three towers in Glenmont off Wemple Road. Credit: Rulison, Larry

The three, 488-foot WROW-AM radio towers just south of Exit 23 of the Thruway that welcome home Capital Region residents from their travels, could soon get some company.

Albany Broadcasting, the company that owns WROW, wants to build a 2.6 megawatt solar farm underneath the three towers and their guide wires.

The company applied for a building permit with the town of Bethlehem on March 10 but must get a variance due to a technical zoning issue before the project can move forward.

The site of the three radio towers is located on a parcel located in Glenmont that sits between Wemple Road, Weisheit Road and the Thruway.

WROW-AM dates back to the 1940s and has operated under various formats over the decades, from Top 40 to easy listening.

And it switched to a news and talk radio format in 1993 shortly after it was acquired by Albany Broadcasting, adding local talk host Paul Vandenburgh in 1997. Vandenburgh has since moved to his own station, WGDJ Talk 1300 AM.

In 2010, WROW switched back to a music format and is now known as Magic 590 am.

A company called Dynamic Energy of Wayne, Pa., is the company that Albany Broadcasting hired to engineer and build the solar farm, which would have a 7-foot chain link fence built around its perimeter.

A 2.6 megawatt solar farm is pretty large and could provide enough electricity for 380 homes.

It is unclear if Albany Broadcasting will finance the solar farm or bring in a third party. Jim Morrell, the owner of Albany Broadcasting, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dynamic Energy also built a 2 megawatt solar farm for Skidmore College that nets the school about $100,000 a year off its electrical bills.

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