The FCC’s crazy-ambitious 39-month timetable for repacking the TV bands post-auction may have contributed to the deaths of three workers from Tower King II, a Texas tower contractor. The gin pole, a standard temporary device that is installed at the top of a tower to enable the lifting into place of permanent tower sections or an antenna, failed. The tower is shared by two Miami stations, WSVN (Fox) and WPLG (ABC). WSVN is moving from channel 7 to channel 9 in the repack, requiring a new antenna. The tower is eight years old and is just over 1,000 feet high, about half the maximum height that many stations use.
There is no evidence to my knowledge that the pushed nature of the repack schedule contributed to the deaths of these three men, but with the paucity of qualified high tower crews and a forced schedule that is ambitious even if everything (weather, supply, crew availability, etc.) turns out optimal, safety issues are unavoidable.
I strongly suspect this won’t be the last of these tragic accidents. --Dennis
Link: ABC News