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Ice and Winds Topple S.C. TV Tower

CBS affiliate WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, S.C. lost both its main and backup broadcast towers last Sunday night due to ice and high winds at its mountaintop transmitter site. An article on the WSPA web site shows the tower on the ground. The station said one of the main towers collapsed, hitting the backup tower as it fell. The station is streaming newscasts on the Web and programming via digital ancillary channel 62.2 on sister station WYCW, which is licensed to Ashville, N.C.

"An accumulation of two inches of ice, winds speeds gusting at 60 miles an hour, pretty much caused our tower to collapse," said WSPA-TV engineer Charlie Wofford. "It was quite a thing to see our antenna laid out in the woods."

Wofford said a temporary antenna has been ordered and he hoped that the station could be back on the air within a few weeks or sooner.

"We have structural engineers up there to determine if we can mount a temporary antenna on what is still standing," Wofford said.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.