Jeff Fuller experienced the fall of 1570 KVTK-AM’s tower up close and personal.
Fuller, who owns the station, was in the equipment shed on June 10 near Vermillion, S.D., preparing for a mock FCC inspection when a farmer clipped the tower’s guy wire with his haying machinery.
After the guy wire was cut, Fuller felt the building shudder, then he heard the ping, ping, ping of the guy wires popping off the tower one by one. The metal in the 309-foot tower groaned as it first leaned to the south, then bent over to the west and then bent back to the north, missing the equipment shed and finally landing with a thud within 20 feet of the farmer on the tractor.
The radio station, which airs ESPN Radio in Yankton, S.D., was off the air for a couple of days while technicians ran a wire to a nearby tower and set up a temporary antenna. The station is back to full power, which is 500 watts. Radio station officials estimate that it may take all summer to rebuild the tower.