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NATE Blasts “Dateline” Tower Dogs

The National Association of Tower Erectors took issue with coverage of its members profession as featured in an episode of “Dateline,” the NBC news magazine show entitled “Tower Dogs.” The show, which aired July 21, purported to be “a never-before-seen journey into the perilous world of tower climbers who work on the front lines of America“s high-tech communications system,” according to the chatter at Much of it focused on a crew led by a young single mother and the hard-drinking, overgrown adolescent that she relied on to get jobs done.

“NATE is disappointed with the approach that “Dateline“ took with its Tower Dogs special shown last night,” the group said in a statement. “The program did not present an accurate view of the professionalism and work habits of most tower crews. NATE was not involved in the production of this piece, nor is it affiliated with this program.”

Working tall steel is one of the deadliest professions documented. MSNBC said that during the four months it took to make “Tower Dogs,” seven crew fatalities were reported. With the deadline for the DTV transition closing in, the pressure will grow to get new digital antennas onto often precariously loaded structures or to build new ones. Several veterans of the tower and TV transmitter antenna industry have told Television Broadcast several months ago that their crews were pretty much booked for the year.

“In a very real sense, the brunt of the industries pressure rests on the shoulders of these individuals,” the NATE statement read.