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Update: KERA TV Signal In Wichita Falls Fully Restored After Tower Vandalism

A red-and-white tower that broadcast the signal for KERA lies crumpled on the ground in Wichita Falls in far north Texas.
Lyle Hathaway
/
KERA News
A broadcast tower that sent out KERA's television signal in Wichita Falls lies crumpled after vandals cut the tower's guy wires early Friday morning.

KERA TV's over-the-air broadcast signal in Wichita Falls has been restored. The signal has been down since last December when two communications towers in the area were vandalized.

KERA President and CEO Nico Leone said restoring broadcast service in the area has been a priority since the vandalism occurred.

“We are pleased to be able to restore our service, and we want to thank all of our over-the-air viewers in the area for their patience and understanding as we worked determinedly to address the effects of this act of vandalism," he said.

Vandals cut guy wires to two television towers in the area on December 18, 2020. Gusty winds sent one of them, which broadcast the signal from PBS station KERA in Dallas, crashing to the ground.

The other tower, about 3 miles away, carried the signal of the local Fox affiliate, KFDX. With only two wires cut, that one stayed upright despite winds of roughly 35 miles per hour, said Detective Dale Finnegan of the Wichita Falls police.

The damage also took out the local NOAA weather radio station, which shares that tower.

Those were the only two towers damaged in the highest part of the region, home to a number of broadcast and cellular towers.

Viewers who have trouble accessing KERA over-the-air are advised to conduct a general channel scan. KERA’s new antenna will be coming into homes from a different angle, and viewers may need to recapture the signal.

For questions about this process, viewers can contact KERA’s Audience & Member Services team Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. at 214-740-9272 or send a message anytime at www.kera.org/about/contact.

There is an ongoing investigation into the incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information about vandalism to two communication towers in Wichita Falls last December.

People can submit tips to the FBI online or by calling their Dallas Field Office at (972) 559-5000.

The Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI have been helping with the investigation, because it involves federally licensed broadcast facilities.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Updated: May 7, 2021 at 2:45 PM CDT
This story was update to indicate that KERA TV broadcast service to the area was restored in early May.
Updated: April 20, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT
This story was updated to include that the FBI is now offering a reward for information regarding the case.