Q&AZ: Can Lights On Phoenix's South Mountain Spell Out 'Love?'

By Mariana Dale
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 4:10pm
Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 12:42pm

Audio icon Download mp3 (5.58 MB)

South Mountain radio towers
South Mountain radio towers.

Alex Thiel sent us this question via Q&AZ:

“I moved to the Valley over 20 years ago. My fiance has lived here for 40. She insists that the lights on South Mountain can be turned on in a way the spells out 'LOVE.' I have never heard or seen it. I have looked everywhere for confirmation, but to no avail. Any truth to this?”

Thanks to Alex and Jessica Mitchell for this question. 

To find the answer to this question, I didn’t have to leave the building. I just had to go talk to Eric Schecter. He’s the director of engineering for KJZZ and KBAQ.

He’s also worked on broadcasting projects at South Mountain since 1983. One of the dozens of towers up there, belongs to KJZZ and KBAQ. The 240-foot orange and white structure holds an antenna that broadcasts our radio signal.

“We have three flashing beacons in the middle of the tower and then one beacon on top,” Schecter said.

But, can you make them light up in a specific pattern, say, to spell out the word “love”?

“It would be a lot of fun if you could do that, but they blink frankly at a random interval” he said. “It’s kind of an uncoordinated ballet of lights up there.”

The real reason for the dance of lights is an FAA safety regulation.

Coincidentally, someone asked Eric this exact same question in a now-defunct local publication about 15 years ago

Learn more about South Mountain’s broadcast towers in the extended audio interview above.