WVIA-TV Resumes Operations After Transmitter Fire

February 18, 2010

The transmitter building housing Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton, Pa. public television and radio stations (WVIA-TV and WVIA-FM) was destroyed by fire last Friday. The local newspaper, The Times Leader, in its article Fire hits WVIA tower buildings said a contractor was doing work inside the cinder block building when a "piece of machinery" started burning. WVIA-TV said the building was a total loss.

WVIA-TV was back on the air Monday, thanks to the local ABC affiliate, WNEP-TV. That station was able to help out, because about than two months ago it had moved its DTV channel from 49 to 50 and increased power from 100 kW to 500 kW.

WNEP-TV offered WVIA-TV the use of its Channel 49 facilities, as the old transmitter and antenna had not been removed. WVIA-TV's Web site advised viewers that they must rescan tuners to receive the restored signal.

TV Technology's sister publication, Radio World, quotes WVIA-TV's Bill Kelly in the article Pennsylvania's WVIA Recovers From Fire commenting on WNEP-TV's help: ""It is a wonderful thing to watch what engineers do when one of their stations has been hurt. All the competition is forgotten. All the engineers get together. They share their knowledge; they share their equipment; and collectively solve a station's problem."

The station's vice president of engineering, Joe Glynn, said that several other TV and radio stations offered to help to get the public broadcasting stations back on the air. Kudos also to the FCC Media Bureau for moving quickly to allow WVIA –TV to use WNEP-TV's former DTV channel.

Thanks to long time friend and RF Report reader Jim Conroy to alerting me to this story earlier this week.

Receive regular news and technology updates.
Sign up for our free newsletter here.