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N.Y. stations mull transmitter shift

Gotham’s station exex are rethinking the locations of their stations’ transmitters and backup systems, following the tragic explosion at the World Trade Center last week.

At least five people were killed and hundreds injured when a bomb exploded below ground at the 110-story twin towers.

The explosion, around midday on Friday, knocked out primary transmitters for the city’s seven major stations.

Station exex estimate the cost could run several hundred thousand dollars apiece, with lost ad revenue making up as much as $ 300,000 for each commercial station.

Most agree that there is a need to reexamine the backup transmitter situation.

Some of the stations with transmitters atop the World Trade Center’s north tower lost their transmitters immediately after the explosion while others were able to broadcast for a short time after.

Exploded off the air

Nonetheless, one hour after the explosion, all of the stations, with the exception of WCBS-TV, were off the air. WCBS shifted to a little used transmitter located at the Empire State Building.

Back-up generators kicked in but were shut off by emergency personnel on the scene.

By day’s end, most of the stations had arranged deals with out-of-market broadcasters and cable networks to assure that their signals got out to viewers. Had the explosion damaged the broadcasting equipment completely, the stations would be in big trouble.

Stations were frustrated in attempts to uplink material via microwave back to their stations. Some, like WPIX, shuttled video back and forth between the accident site and their broadcast center and others utilized facilities at the nearby studios of “Wall Street Journal Report.”

WNBC head Bill Bolster said it’s likely that the stations will get together to discuss alternatives, as they did when each moved from the Empire State Building to the World Trade Center in 1979.

WCBS was the only Gotham station to have an operating transmitter located away from the World Trade Center. “We’re going to continue to maintain our backup,” station head Bud Carey said.

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