When last month's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center left many New York City broadcasters without a means to transmit their signals, stations had to scramble to get their over-the-air operations running again. Paxson Communications was one of those stations. It lost both its transmitter and antenna in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
Following this, the station acted quickly to resume broadcasting on its assigned UHF Channel 31 in New York City. "Like many broadcasters operating from the World Trade Center, we had to find alternatives," said the company's Chairman, Lowell "Bud" Paxson. "WPXN, carrying PAX, is operating with a quarter million watts of power from a tower in East Orange, NJ, and on Channel 38 in Amityville, NY."
Both stations were LPTV stations and, while Channel 38 remains low power, higher power transmitters were brought in from elsewhere in the country to the East Orange facility with special permission from the FCC. "Plans are in the works to move WPXN Channel 31 operations to several megawatts from a taller tower at Alpine, NJ, in about a month," added Paxson.
American Tower runs the 400-foot site in Alpine and wants to raise it to a height of 600 feet. It is reported that it has the steel and the space for new transmitters. Once completed, possibly in November, PAX will operate from there at about 3 million watts.
Many other New York City broadcasters are under discussions to operate out of Alpine. Another possible location for a future transmission site is the Empire State building. Although it is filled to capacity right now, building management is supposedly working on a panel antenna approach to house both analog and digital transmission facilities for numerous stations. If that ever comes to pass, casting some doubt not only on the technology being discussed but by the limited physical space and demands being placed on the building, it is likely to be at least a year and half away.
For the 48 hours immediately following the catastrophe, WPXN carried the local WNBC feed. PAX operates under JSAs with numerous NBC affiliates throughout country.
PAX cable coverage in the New York City area was never interrupted.
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