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2 TV Towers Vandalized In Wichita Falls; KERA's Comes Tumbling Down

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.

Vandals cut guy wires to two television towers in Wichita Falls early Friday morning, police said. 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.

KFDX reported that repairs were being made Friday, and it temporarily moved its newsroom to a different location for safety reasons. The damage also took out the local NOAA weather radio station, which shares that tower.

No homes were hit, and no one was injured, Finnegan said.

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

Finnegan said the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety had been helping with the investigation, because it involves federally licensed broadcast facilities. Authorities are still trying to figure out who caused the damage, he said.

The tower that KERA leases reaches an area two hours northwest of Dallas, near the Oklahoma border. The outage did not affect KERA's main broadcast signal, which comes from a tower south of Dallas, or the station's signal on cable, satellite and streaming services. Radio service was also not affected.

It's not clear when the broadcast TV signal will be restored to the Wichita Falls area. The station encouraged viewers there to watch its web stream at KERA.org/TV.

Got a tip? Email Rick at rholter@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @rickholter.

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.