Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, is also the smallest by volume. Home to the Detroit and Windsor area, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, and Buffalo, the shores of this lake also include grape-growing regions. Between the Detroit River in the west and Niagara Falls and the Welland Canal in the east, Lake Erie borders Ontario, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This lake is 241 miles long from Toledo to Buffalo and just 57 miles wide between Ohio and Ontario, has 31 islands, and is home to Point Pelee National Park, the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland.
1. Cleveland, Ohio
August & September 2019: One of a number of urban center scans along the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is a radio site in northeast Ohio. This site is hosted at Edgewater Park just two miles west of downtown. With a beautiful skyline view across the water, this site commonly receives Detroit and Toledo to the west and Buffalo and Toronto to the east, while easily hearing London across the water. Two scans were performed here, one in the upper section of the park and a second the following day in the lower section.
2. Detroit, Mich. / Windsor, Ont.
May 2021: The most urban of the radio sites in the vicinity of Lake Erie, Detroit lies on the Detroit River at its mouth with Lake St. Clair. This site on Belle Isle is less than five miles from downtown Detroit and less than a half-mile from Windsor, Ontario. Detroit locals are close enough that they interfere with themselves at this site, where it’s almost a better idea to put your radio down and enjoy the park, which has an extensive land mass, including Sunset Point on its westernmost end overlooking the downtown skyline just over a mile across the water.
3. East Harbor / Sandusky, Ohio
August 2018: East Harbor State Park, in northern Ohio, is a radio site along the shores of Lake Erie eight miles northwest of Sandusky, home to the popular Cedar Point amusement park. Two scans were performed here at the very end of the radio season – a secondary scan during nighttime enhancement and a primary scan after the lake breeze circulation commenced in the late morning hours.
4. Erie, Pennsylvania
August 2018: Erie’s Presque Isle State Park is a radio site in northwestern Pennsylvania. The park juts out into Lake Erie across the lake from Long Point, Ontario, just 25 miles away. Erie, a beautiful grape-growing region, is the perfect distance between the eastern and western extent of the lake and therefore both Toronto and Detroit are readily audible. However, while the site is great on paper, due to the local radio environment – a city of just 100,000 with nearly 30 locals in town or just outside town – it’s a less than ideal site.
5. Evangola / Lake Erie Beach, New York
August 2018: Evangola State Park is just 30 miles outside downtown Buffalo and with some of Buffalo’s strongest local stations only 20 miles away. So why include Evangola as a radio site when on paper it’s quite clearly a poor selection for an open band? Well, torrential downpours lead to a sudden change in my original plans which brought me to this site the following morning. It was a lucky break that I haven’t since regretted. Evangola isn’t the most beautiful location, but against all odds, it defined itself as a favourable location for listening with the most distant catches of all Lake Erie sites.
6. Long Point, Ontario
August & September 2018: Long Point is a 25-mile long (40 km.) sand spit jutting out into Lake Erie on its north shore. It is essentially the nexus of the southern Great Lakes as far as FM radio is concerned. With its central location away from the shore, Long Point can pull in signals from the circulation of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. Conditions at night can span from the northern extent of Lake Huron, the eastern extent of Lake Ontario, and all shores of Lake Erie, while Erie’s daytime lake breeze circulation pulls in regular signals from Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Wheeling, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Toronto, even as far as the Maryland panhandle. The provincial park that occupies the sand spit with its multiple campgrounds is great for wildlife sightseeing, camping, relaxing, and playing at the beach.
7. Mitchell’s Bay, Ontario
July 2019: The tiny village of Mitchell’s Bay, fifteen minutes from Chatham, is the only public access point on the eastern shore of Lake St. Clair. This speck on the map is right across the water from Detroit, but just far enough away to get in on the action of Cleveland, Toledo, London, and all points across the water to the west, as well as the lake breezes of Lake Erie and Lake Huron combined. But it’s still 30 miles from Detroit, so it’s not all rainbows on the radio dial.
8. Monroe, Michigan
July 2019: Monroe is positioned in far southeastern Michigan about halfway between the Detroit and Toledo metro areas at the west end of Lake Erie. This site is blocked in by both these local markets – even Detroit translators can be heard here – plus Sandusky, Cleveland, and London, thus not leaving much remaining real estate to tune on the dial. However, it’s position along the shore of Lake Erie leaves great potential across the water to Buffalo on a good day.
9. Rondeau Park, Ontario
July & August 2019: Rondeau Park, a peninsula jutting out into Lake Erie similar to Long Point to the east, is a radio site on the north shore of the lake. Directly across from Cleveland and not far from London, the site pulls in signals from all major cities along the shores of Lake Erie, is within the circulation of Lake Huron with stations received up to Alpena, and within range of Pittsburgh and Wheeling with the daytime lake breeze. While the park is mainly known for birdwatching and nature trails, it’s an ideal location for radio in southwestern Ontario.