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Denver TV Towers Slated for Demolition

GOLDEN, COLO.: Three TV towers serving Denver are scheduled to come down within the next seven months, The Denver Post reports. The demolition marks the end of a 10-year struggle between broadcasters in the market and neighborhood groups fighting to have the tower facilities relocated. KUSA-TV, KMGH-TV and KCNC-TV all co-located their digital antennas on a single 730-foot tower after the federal government intervened in the local dispute.

Each of the stations had its own tower for analog operations, which ended June 12. The towers belonging to KUSA, the NBC affiliate owned by Gannett, andKMGH, the ABC owned by McGraw-Hill, will come down by the end of the year, weather permitting. KCNC, a CBS O&O, had an 834-foot tower that is scheduled for a spring demolition.

Residents living in the Lookout Mountain area vigorously fought to have the towers moved for aesthetic and safety reasons. Congress stepped in three years ago at the behest of two Colorado senators who sponsored a law to end the local deadlock. The citizen groups ultimately agreed to a deal by which the old towers would have to come down within a year of the DTV transition.

TV and radio towers have elicited hostility across the country. Two in Seattle were destroyed in early September by vandals who considered them a threat to the environment. Another fell about the same time near Allentown, Pa., and was found to have its guy wires cut. Later the same month, vandals felled a 120-foot communications tower in Ontario, Canada.

While neighborhoods typically don’t welcome radio frequency towers, no where was the zoning struggle as fierce as it was in the suburbs of Denver. By the time legislators stepped in, the stations had about a year to secure a contractor to design and build a very specialized structure before the DTV transition deadline.

Now that the transition is complete, the FCC is focused on creating a national wireless broadband network, which would require myriad towers around the country. The commission recently adopted a ruling that directs local governments to rule on tower applications within 150 days of submission at the most. Failure to comply would trigger court action.