Radio tower comes down

Workers with Electronic Research look at the WCPC radio tower that they felled last week. A longtime Houston landmark, there are no plans to bring down the other two 500-foot towers. (Photo by Floyd Ingram)

Workers with Electronic Research look at the WCPC radio tower that they felled last week. A longtime Houston landmark, there are no plans to bring down the other two 500-foot towers. (Photo by Floyd Ingram)

 

HOUSTON – The three blinking radio towers of WCPC have been a local landmark for more than 50 years, but the view changed last week.

A crew from Electronic Research, Inc., out of Indiana, dropped the western tower June 25 and then scooped up the steel girders and guy-wires and carted them off.

We basically loosened the guy-wires at the top and loosened the guy wires on one side at the bottom to bring it down,” said Jake Wayne, of Electronic Research. “We normally put up towers, but we take them down, too. Just like a tree, if you get it leaning the way you want it, it will come down where you want it.”

Wayne said it took about an hour to bring down the 500-foot tower. Wayne said he is always surprised at how much noise towers make when they hit the ground.

People don’t realize all the steel that is in a tower and the higher they are the harder they hit the ground,” said Wayne. “We guess this tower weighted about 30,000-pounds.”

Wayne said the tower was more than 50 years old and the steel had begun to deteriorate.

They don’t last forever,” said Wayne. “What actually happens is they corrode from the inside out and you don’t know they are dangerous until they fall. This one would have lasted a couple of more years, but bad weather could have brought it down.”

Wayne said toppling the tower in a controlled way was the right move. He said there are no plans to drop the other two towers.

Robin Mathis, of WCPC Radio, said changing the radio array will not affect the station’s transmission area or the signal.

Crews cut up the downed tower and used fork-lifts to put the pieces in bins. Wayne said the steel will be recycled.

The Houston Volunteer Fire Department was called to the radio station to guard against fire from sparks caused by cutting up the tower.

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