Repack Problems Force Call For New Crews

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A three-month antenna installation project is at a standstill on a Madison broadcast tower, reported the Wisconsin State Journal and a new year has yet to bring a completion date. The project, which was scheduled to be completed last September, has caused confusion for many area viewers. 

Now, University Research Park, the group that oversees the tower, is looking for another crew to take over the antenna replacement.

 It’s estimated that three weeks of work are left on the project, yet no deadlines for completion have been set. 

The reason for the project stems from the FCC requiring WISC-TV, the local CBS affiliate, and WMSN-TV, the local Fox affiliate, to change their frequencies to make room for new wireless services. According to the State Journal, the stations have been operating from a temporary antenna on the broadcast tower, which does not have the same signal strength as permanent antennas. 

Per Madison resident Joan Downs, who has been relying on over-the-air channels since 1990, the consistent delays and new deadlines of the project feel like “empty promises.” “This is unacceptable,” she said. “They are not being accountable with their viewers.”

WISC Chief Engineer Kevin Ruppert said unpredictable Wisconsin weather played a significant part in the project delays. Downs retorted that TV stations and power crews should have done a better job anticipating the weather challenges and planning accordingly, especially in Wisconsin, where “weather is tricky at best.” 

January 6, 2020   

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