Initially NECRAT stood for North East Commercial Radio Antennas and Towers, however NECRAT has expanded well beyond the northeast with towers from the midwest and Florida being added to the site. NECRAT no longer references a acronym, as it is now simply just the name of the website. FYI, NECRAT is pronounced NECK-RAT!
NECRAT first went online on June 6, 1999, as a listing of radio stations. The website's name originally was only my own user name at AOL. The first mentions of "NECRAT" started in early October 1999. I uploaded my first pictures to the site at that time, which was still hosted on AOL. Thanks to my mom, Elaine, for letting me use her 35mm camera, and my dad, Mike, for helping finance the first part of the site, I was able to launch the photographic side. The site expanded to include large transmitter maps of the northeast, as well as a message board with a few members when it went to Geocities in 2000. Earlier in 1998, I conducted an internet search for "WHDH Tower", looking to see if there were pictures of the WHDH-TV tower in Boston. That search landed me on a website known as Boston Radio Archives run by Garrett Wollman. Seeing his early pictures inspired me to start posting some of my own tower photographs, which I would do later in 1999, starting with the towers of the Heldeberg tower farm outside of Albany , NY. As I went around photographing radio towers and posting them on my website, I happened to catch the eye of well renown broadcast historian, writer and photographer Scott Fybush. In March 2001, NECRAT's first historical "breaking news" photography came, when the WXXA-TV antenna collapsed in Albany, NY., NECRAT got pictures of the temporary antenna and the broken antenna on the ground within days of the collapse. In April 2001, Mr. Fybush uses several pictures of mine for his "Tower Site of the Week", of the Keene, NH area. (One of my favorite areas). "NECRAT" itself initially launched on Geocities, as a Geocities page, but then migrated to tripod in early 2000. In 2005, NECRAT teamed up with GeekWithUs webhosting, and NECRAT officially moved to its own place on the web as NECRAT.COM. In 2007, NECRAT's founder and webmaster, Mike Fitzpatrick moved from Springfield, MA to Providence, RI., transitioning after a 10 1/2 year career at WWLP-TV. In 2009, after financial troubles fell to GeekWithUS, NECRAT moved from NECRAT.COM to the current position, NECRAT.US. In 2013, NECRAT pulled up stakes again, and moved back to Massachusetts to the greater Boston area where he still is.
NECRAT does not use very fancy gear to do the tower photography. The camera equipment is a NIKON CoolPix P1000 and P900. Prior camera gear included a Pentax K1000, Fuji FinePix, Kodak P512, Z981, P510 and a HP digital camera.
FUN FACTS (As of 2011)
- NECRAT references 1,436 broadcast stations on 1427 pages, in 69 markets.
- There are roughly 7,750 pictures on NECRAT.
- NECRAT has photographed tower sites in 20 states.
- The farthest eastern site is WMME Augusta, ME
- The farthest northern site is Park Du Mont Royal, Montreal, QU
- The farthest southern site is the Clear Channel (WLTQ/WSRZ), site near Sarasota, FL
- The farthest western site is KNX Los Angeles, CA.
- The highest up in elevation is Mt. Washington, NH (WHOM/WPKQ)
- The tallest the Eastern Candleabra in Bithlo, FL at 1,694 feet overall.
- The largest site is the WFLF/WYGM 7 tower site in Lake County, FL.
- The site "closest to home" is WVBF Taunton, MA
- The first transmitter ever shown on NECRAT was WFLY in Albany, NY.
- The first tower ever shown on NECRAT was the Candelabra