The Radio Tower: Its Purposes and Future
By Jessica Pees
The radio tower sets Tech apart from its surroundings and is part of the building’s unique, recognizable image. But seeing the tower every day may make students forget that it is, in fact, a radio tower that used to serve a functional purpose instead of a decorative one.
Beginning in 1936, the tower was used to broadcast WNYE-FM. In 1966, a new tower was needed to replace the original one in order for both WNYE-TV and WNYE-FM to broadcast their programs. In the late 1980’s, the station moved to the Empire State Building, but Tech’s radio studio still remained.
The radio tower was initially used to broadcast lessons throughout the city for students who were absent.
But just because the control room hasn’t been used since the 1980’s, does not mean that the radio tower is not useful.
“It helps people locate the school if they’re lost, and in a way it makes the location of Tech known to all,” says David Mashkevich ’16.
Karishma Maraj, ’16 disagrees. “There’s no point in having it there if it’s not in use.”
Anisha Pursnani ’16 agrees that the tower should be used. She takes issue with the tower’s appearance. “It makes the school look more technical, but it doesn’t look good.”
Even if the tower is not being used, it does not make sense to take it down.
Principal Randy Asher says, “It costs almost nothing.”
According to Asher, the tower is not used by Tech, but by a station in Manhattan and functions as a relay tower and for emergency broadcasts.
A couple years ago the administration inquired about taking over the space to use as an instructional space, but it was deemed to costly to pursue. “It looks like the bridge of the original Starship Enterprise,” says Asher.
Although many students believe that there is no point in keeping the tower around if the school is not using it, there is also no point in taking it down. Keeping the tower would be more cost effective than removing it.
It is impossible to say for sure what will happen to the tower in the future, but it is likely that the tower’s position will not change. In addition to not controlling the tower’s broadcasts and lacking the proper equipment, there is no one currently on the staff that could supervise students and help them use the tower.