Rockford Stations Evacuated Amid Concerns of Tower Collapse

By Andrew Gauthier 

WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL was forced off the air on Friday and staff evacuated the building as heavy snow and low altitude winds caused guy wires on the stations’ tower to whip around wildly.

“Seeing the wires behave that way, in all the years that I’ve been here I’ve never seen them like that,” chief engineer Mike Real said.  “They could actually start shaking the tower down, or cause damage to the tower which is what we wanted to check on.”

In addition to the evacuation at WTVO-WQRF, 12 homes near the tower were evacuated Friday night.


As WTVO-WQRF stayed off the air, crews examined the tower over the weekend, surveying the 700-foot structure for “anything from chipped paint to bolts missing.”

After the inspection was completed, WTVO-WQRF resumed broadcasting on Sunday night.

“We are confident in the structural integrity of the tower, but we always want to err on the side of caution when it comes to safety of our staff as well as the safety of those living in the shadow of our tower,” WTVO-WQRF vice president and general manager Jon Skorburg said.  “On behalf of both stations I would like to thank our viewers for their patience and support and look forward to getting things back to normal.”