It occurs to me that there were quite a few radio and TV stations using the broadcast tower on the top of the World Trade Center. The tragedy probably put a real dent in the NY broadcasting for a short time, but I assume that problem is mostly resolved by now.
How long did it take for some of the major broadcasters to get back on the air from a new site?
Are there problems of capacity at the new locations?
Along the same lines, I noticed a couple networks based out of New York (Or so I assume) that ran nothing but music and a note saying that due to the events of the day, they were preempting normal broadcast.
For some reason, I thought that was odd. But it couldn’t have knocked them off the air because they were airing music and that message.
Ok, I live on Long Island, NY. Maybe I can help answer this question, till smarter people come around.
Almost all of the NYC stations went down when they were struck, the local ABC station was the first back up, they have a backup tower on the Empire State Building. Most of the other stations came back up a little while later. I remember hearing they were using stations on Long Island and in New Jersey to brodcast their signal.
The last station to come up was UPN 9, they came up sometime after noon.
NOTE: I didn’t wake up on the 11th till 12:00pm, when my friend in Atlanta called to ask if I was ok, Boy was that a shock! All the stations were up then, exept UPN 9.
Well, I can’t talk about radio and TV antennas, but our firm represents some dispatch services that had antenna on the WTC. What we do in those cases is to file two applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The first is a modification application to change the location of the antenna to somewhere else (after the client finds a building or tower that has free space and will let them mount an antenna there), and, along with that, file an application for emergency special temporary authority to operate in the new location while the FCC processes the modification request. I know this doesn’t really answer your question, but I just thought you might like to know the technical aspects of dealing with this.
Seems like similar rules would probably apply for mass communication. Do you have to wait for the emergency FCC approval before starting at the new location, and if so how long does that take? And could you get provisional approval for a second location in case of any future mishap?
I live in Brooklyn. I used to get perfect reception. Now I get 2 (CBS), 7 (ABC), and 9 (UPN) fairly clearly as well as some of the UHF stations (I never realized that I got 3 Spanish stations and one French); 4 (NBC), 5(FOX), and 11(WB) just barely; and 13(PBS) not at all. For me pretty much everything but 2 and UHF was knocked out for about a week and a half to two weeks. But the situation was in a constant state of change. Stations would come in one day and go out again the next. They seemed to be hopping around from one antenna to the next as I tried to follow them with my antenna. The situation seems to have finally settled down in the last few days. What I found most frustrating was that I couldn’t find any news about what if anything was being done to restore service. I guess it wasn’t really top priority (considering) but they were broadcasting news 24/7 with no commercials so you’d think they could have fit a mention in somewhere. The only thing I saw was that when one of the stations finally came back they had a brief PSA telling people to repoint their rooftop antennas at somewhere in northern NJ.
So now I have to get cable. And because my phones at work were out for 3 weeks I had to get a cellphone. So essentially some lunatics who want to go back to the 13th century are dragging me against my better judgement into the 21st.
epolo - just trying to find what humor I can here.
I’m in Queens, no cable. Here’s what happened on our end:
Immediately, everyting but CBS (channel 2–which, strangely, we NEVER received clearly before), one PBS station (25–from Long Island…?) and the UHF foreign language stations (Univision–the clearest station we receive-- Telemundo, an Asian one I know nothing about) were knocked out. We pretty much watched CBS for a week.
Soon after, we discovered that 25 (PBS) was re-broadcasting ABC (7). A few days later, ABC 7 got some kind of transmitter back up (though we now get horrible reception), and 25 switched to rebroadcasting NY1 (a cable-only channel) and, now, the Manhattan PBS station (13; the real 13 is still out).
Next to come up for us was the WB (11), which was and still is incredibly fuzzy. Then UPN came back, and clearer than it was before. We still have no NBC coverage up here.
In short, watching TV is a pain in the ass now. But thank god UPN was back in time for Enterprise and Buffy.
I’d assume rules like that would apply for radio and TV, but I don’t know. We don’t do much with them. I could look it up, though.
You do have to wait for emergency FCC approval of your special temporary authority, but that usually doesn’t take very long. The FCC realizes that you’re dealing with an emergency situation, and usually either will grant or deny your STA in a week or two.
I don’t fully understand your last question. If you mean, “Can you modify your license to include a site you won’t use, just in case”, the answer is no. The FCC assumes that you’re going to use the frequency they grant you, so if it’s not on the air by a certain time, they’ll revoke the grant.
They do this for two reasons. The first is to keep spectrum from being held and not used, and the second is so that they can know exactly what’s being used at one time.
For example, lets say someone had an antenna on top of the WTC, broadcasting at 854.2875 MHz. Channels like those are used for things like radio dispatch, usually (like a dispatcher communicating with busses). Based on the type of antenna, the power used, and the hight of the antenna, this produces a certain contour of frequency around the antenna. Obviously, the closer to the antenna you’re at, the stronger the frequency. That contour up to a certain level of power, is protected. That’s to say I couldn’t put an antenna broadcasting at the same frequency on the building next to you. All that would do would be to scramble the signal, and so the FCC doesn’t allow things like that. If they were to allow someone to have a location where they aren’t broadcasting, that would, in effect, mean that another company, who would use the frequency to broadcast, couldn’t put an antenna in that area. It would be “dead air”. That’s why the FCC generally doesn’t allow that.