The 2,000-foot KATV tower located near Redfield, Ark., collapsed last Friday (Jan. 11), silencing the station's analog and digital transmissions, as well as the analog signal from Public TV station KETS, which shared the tower. The tower was built in 1965 and its guy wires were being repaired when it fell. Fortunately, there was only a single minor injury as a result of the collapse.
It appears that the station may not be replacing the structure, according to an article in the Pine Bluff Commercial Web site . The article quoted Debbie Hook, assistant to KATV president Dale Nicholson, as saying tower heights of 2,000 feet or more are obsolete. Some TV stations and tower operators may not agree, as new 2,000 foot towers have been constructed with last 10 years. The article said that in addition to the Redfield site, KATV is considering building the replacement tower on Shinall Mountain, where other Little Rock-area stations have their transmitters.
As we saw in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market, when towers were damaged in an ice storm, engineers from other stations offered help. An article on ArkansasBusiness.com, KATV Tower Collapses; Competitors, Comcast Try to Help, quotes Larry Audas, general manager at KTHV, saying "We certainly regret this as we know it is the most difficult of circumstances for any TV station."
Rob Heverling, news director at KARK-TV said, "all competition is out the window when something like this happens," according to the article.
KARK-TV called KATV and sent its engineers to the scene, as did KTHV. With the help of equipment from another station, Comcast was able to restore the KATV analog programming to its subscribers, but was still working to get KATV's HDTV and 24-hour news channel back on the air. Comcast offered to supply the signal to satellite operators like DirecTV and EchoStar.
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