Friday, February 12, 2010

A Disaster To Which We Responded

Radio and television stations are cut-throat competitors, grasping for every ratings point in an effort to attract advertiser dollars. It’s a rough business.

Until your competitor calls up and says, “We’ve had a fire,” or “our tower fell,” or some other disaster. Then all you hear is, “What do you need? How can we help? We’ll send our guys over. Make a list and the other stations will give you what you need, as well.” That’s how it goes in the business. Your turn today, their turn next time.

The local public radio and tv stations’ transmitting building burned down the other day; total loss. A competing tv station loaned a spare transmitter, a spare channel and a spare tower and antenna to help it get back on the air in days. We are heavy into cable and satellite here, so it wasn’t that much of a loss; 10%, perhaps.

FM was different. Our college station, not far away on the dial, offered the entire station 23 hours a day (we needed one hour for our radio reading service). The PBS outlet could broadcast through it nearly full-time. We were within an hour or so of doing it when their engineer located a small transmitter and got the station on the air locally.

From smoldering toast to apparent full operation in a matter of four days – you can’t beat that. It’s not really full op’s yet, but at least there’s a signal and the college station remains available if things go bad when a better back-up FM transmitter arrives. Yes, we all really do cooperate behind the scenes.


Blogger D.B. Echo said...

I was truly amazed at this response.

But I was just up on Penobscot Knob less than a week before, investigating the mysterious string of lights that glimmers just below the towers. It's apparently a housing development just off Giant's Despair. As I looked at these houses, I wondered: What happens if one of these places catches fire? I think now we know the answer tho that.

February 21, 2010 2:48 AM  

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