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KATV's new tower won't reach as high in the sky

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 16, 2008 at 12:07 p.m.

a-katv-channel-7-signal-tower-lies-crumbled-after-collapsing-friday-south-of-redfield

A KATV, Channel 7, signal tower lies crumbled after collapsing Friday south of Redfield.

Channel 7 Transmission tower falls

2,000-foot television tower collapses during work

— A television tower that for more than 40 years was one of the tallest structures in the world will not be replaced by a mast of similar height.

Tower heights of 2,000 feet or more are obsolete, said Debbie Hook, an assistant to KATV president Dale Nicholson. It will take about a year to build a new tower, she said.

The bulk of KATV's viewers obtain the station's signal via cable television or satellite services. Of Arkansas' 1.1 million households with television, only about 200,000 receive programming over the air, according to the Arkansas Broadcasters Association.

KATV's tower collapsed Friday, tumbling onto itself as workers were restringing guy wires. One person suffered a minor injury.

"We still don't know what caused it to fall," Hook said. "But at least it did fall the way it was supposed to - by collapsing on itself - so applause to the engineers who built it in 1965."

The station knocked out the ABC affiliate's analog and digital signals and also disrupted the analog signal of KETS, a Public Broadcasting Service station. Both stations say they hope to restore the interrupted service within a couple of weeks.

Hook said KATV will build a new tower but that the new structure won't be 2,000 feet tall.

KATV dedicated its tower to considerable fanfare in the 1960s, when it was the second-tallest structure in the world, 63 feet shorter than a TV tower in North Dakota. At the time of its collapse last week, it was still one of the tallest structures.

The station is considering whether to rebuilt at Redfield, about 20 miles south of Little Rock, or to build on Shinall Mountain near Little Rock's Chenal Valley, where several other television stations have their broadcast equipment.

Other Little Rock-area stations offered assistance and one supplied equipment to link KATV with cable and satellite services after the collapse.

The National Weather Service at North Little Rock said winds were light about the time of the collapse.

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