New antenna to bring BIG 94.5 WCMS signal back to full power along Outer Banks

You can’t see them, but there are two men from Galvanized Endeavors working 1,000 feet above Hyde County to get BIG 94.5 WCMS back on the air. [Steve Borneman photo]

Listeners to Big 94.5 WCMS will be pleased to hear that we are now in the process of getting our signal back to better than ever. And a fan favorite voice on “Your Country Music Station” will be returning to mornings to kick off the summer.

The antenna on our 1,000 foot tall tower in Engelhard was struck by lightning from a powerful complex of storms on July 1, 2020 that produced more than 40,000 lightning strikes across the region, causing irreparable damage.

Unfortunately, a combination of outside factors delayed getting it repaired in a timely fashion.

“As a result of the lightning strike, we uncovered a lot of other serious issues with our tower and antenna for WCMS that hadn’t been addressed for many years,” said Steve Borneman, Chief Operating Officer of JAM Media Solutions, which also owns and operates OBX Today. “Regrettably, that made it much longer than expected to fix everything because of numerous repairs, replacement of parts and new equipment needed.”

One of the antenna bays damaged by a lightning strike being lowered to the ground. [Steve Borneman photo]

That includes supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with hurricanes, winter storms and other severe weather that damaged transmission towers from the northeastern U.S. to the Gulf Coast that limited the availability of crews certified to climb radio towers and replace the damaged equipment.

Which meant we had to stay on reduced transmitter power levels for Big 94.5 WCMS since last summer, which reduced also our the coverage of our signal since. We’ve still been streaming our programming at BIG945.com, on the Big 94.5 WCMS app and all the popular smart speakers.

Until now!

Brand new antenna bays sitting in front of the 100,000 watt BIG 94.5 WCMS transmitter. [Steve Borneman photo]

Over the weekend, a crew arrived in Hyde County and began removing the old antenna sections. What they found was a lot worse than we realized, but thankfully the transmitter installed just two years ago suffered no damage.

It will take a few days to hang the new antenna and then test it to make sure everything is working safely.

“I’m happy to report that BIG 94.5 WCMS will be back up to full power as soon as next week and will be sounding better and reaching farther than ever before,” Borneman said. “I’m confident that the repairs we made will offer quality service and great radio to the Outer Banks and beyond for many years to come.

And when that happens, Autumn Kozer is coming back to mornings!

More from Autumn:

Several months of just being a mom it’s finally time to get back to work! Radio is my life! The only thing I am good at, is radio (according to the hundreds of applications I put in) “Making sure I play you the songs that hit me in my chest because they are so good, the ones that make me dance and the classics that will never die is what I literally love to do and was dying without doing it. You see, 2020, the year that took a lot from a lot of people and it sucked. I was lost without a job, felt that I was never going to get another one in a field I was good at, and then God showed up and said “Let’s go play them some music again”! So here I am… starting back up on BIG 94.5 WCMS this Monday morning! There will be challenges & there will be changes, but I can promise you one thing that hasn’t changed…. ME. I will still be your loud, educational, funny (at times), truthful, music playing radio girl and I will never let y’all down. So Let’s go Eastern North Carolina…. I have missed my therapy sessions with you all so dang much!

So have patience, BIG 94.5 WCMS fans. We’re almost ready to light it up on Your Country Music Station.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.