What’s that up there?

Talk about collaboration! A typical FM/TV tower can be home to dozens of antennas for stations and other spectrum users. Five full-power TV stations and five FM broadcast from Pinnacle Hill in Rochester, N.Y. (right). Some FM translators and two-way radio and mobile users also share the tower. Pubcaster WXXI owns the middle tower and uses it to broadcast its TV signal and two FMs.

1 These are UHF TV antennas, typically 40-50 feet in length.

How to stop more towers from collapsing

At Mountain Lake Public Broadcasting in upstate New York, Alice Recore put $1.2 million into reinforcing and preparing WCFE’s 30-year-old tower for the DTV age. Across the continent at KSPS in Spokane, Wash., Bob Wyatt assiduously maintained and upgraded the station’s 40-year-old tower. But that wasn’t enough in either case. Both towers suffered catastrophic collapses within the past year, at costs that are still mounting. Theoretically, towers don’t have to fail.