Our Three Sons Media Group – owners of WRHI AM 1340 radio – is seeking Rock Hill’s permission to install a near 200-foot transmission tower. .
The planned tower would be almost twice as high as the current tower.
Manning Kimmel, co-owner and managing partner of Our Three Sons Media Group , said a new tower is needed to maintain a clean, clear signal for the company’s five radio stations. He said it is getting harder to do that as Rock Hill’s growth impacts the current 110-foot tower .
The current tower at the company’s downtown broadcast studio on North Confederate Avenue transmits the signals for several Our Three Sons stations to outlying main towers. The signal for WRHI AM 1340 is sent to a tower at India Hook Road, while the main signal for Interstate 101 is sent to a tower on U.S. 521 in Lancaster County, and the signal for 104.1 The Bridge is sent to a tower in the Catawba area.
The tower also transmits the signal for FM 94.3, which airs the content of WRHI AM . A fifth station will be added to the tower soon as Our Three Sons finalizes plans for a new radio station., Kimmel said.
Several approvals from Rock Hill officials are needed for the new tower.
The first is rezoning the Our Three Sons property on Confederate Avenue from neighborhood office to office and institutional. The city’s Planning Commission recently recommended the rezoning.
Towers up to 100 feet are allowed in the office and institutional zone. The height of the tower can be extended to 200 feet with a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Rock Hill allows freestanding communication towers in 11 business zones and one rural residential zone. A special exception for a tower is required in all those zoning districts.
The rezoning will be decided by the City Council.
The city’s zoning and building codes have provisions covering the design and safety of the tower. City staff has not yet reviewed plans for the tower.
Tower 200 feet or taller require warning lights for aircraft. As planned, the new WRHI tower will be 199 feet tall, Kimmel said.
Our Three Sons has discussed its plans with the East Town Neighborhood Association . Doug Johnson, president of the association, said there were a couple of concerns that the new tower “might be ugly.” He said association members were not opposed to the tower and that safety was not a concern raised by the members.
Buildings around the Our Three Sons studios on Confederate Avenue are used as offices, businesses and houses. Johnson said the mix of uses is possibly a reason there is no opposition to the tower. He said if the area was overwhelming residential there could have been opposition.