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Richmond television stations' antenna fix faces more delay

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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 7:40 pm | Updated: 7:50 pm, Wed May 29, 2013.

Richmond television stations' antenna fix faces more delay

Fixing the antenna serving three Richmond television stations has run into another problem — the company that was to repair the large antenna is going out of business.

 

The antenna serves public station WCVW Channel 57 and commercial stations WRIC Channel 8 and WRLH Channel 35.

 

"It's a big job to begin with, but this has put a crimp in things," said Victoria Regan, WRIC's general manager. "We're considering every possible option."

SPX Communication Technology is closing its Dielectric broadcast, TV, radio and wireless operation in Raymond, Maine, on June 29.

Dielectric is one of the U.S. broadcast industry's largest suppliers of transmission antennas.

 

"It may have come to a standstill on the Dielectric front," Regan said, "but not in finding other ways of getting it fixed."

 

The stations do not have a time estimate for when the antenna will be back at full power and range, she said.

 

"There's no easy fix," said Steve Genett, WRLH's general manager. "We don't have a good timeline. … We could be months away from a real fix."

 

The stations say that fixing the antenna is a priority for their operations.

 

Workers put up a temporary antenna as a result of damage that happened to the 1,000-foot antenna in Chesterfield County on March 6.

 

Because the temporary antenna has a shorter range than the original one, some viewers of the three stations have been unable to receive over-the-air broadcasts since the weather-caused damage occurred.

 

While most local television viewers receive the stations by cable or satellite services, some viewers still rely on the stations' over-the-air broadcast signals.

 

The Federal Communications Commission lists the antenna structure, located on Sesame Street in Chesterfield, as owned by SpectraSite Communications LLC through American Towers LLC.

 

The damaged antenna itself is not reparable and was returned for scrapping or other reuse, said John Felton, vice president and general manager for television with the public television Community Idea Stations.

 

pbacque@timesdispatch.com(804) 649-6813

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