Storm Topples Minnesota Station’s Tower

By Kevin Eck 

KSMQ, the PBS affiliate for Austin, MN avoided a broadcasters nightmare after they were taken off the air when their transmission tower was brought down during a fast moving storm Tuesday.  Station management was preparing viewers for the reality of the station remaining dark for anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks.

The station posted a picture of the broken tower and an explanation of what viewers could expect from station president and general manager Eric Olson to their website.

However, a post to the station’s Facebook page last night credits the hard work of chief engineer Tim Gassmann and KTTC, the local NBC affiliate, in returning the station to the airwaves.  See the post after the jump.

Tower Update: Wonderful news! KSMQ TV returned to the airwaves at 7:58 p.m. tonight!! This happened as a result of the hard work of our chief engineer Tim Gassmann, our friends from KTTC-TV, and Precision Communications from Oklahoma. These professionals fashioned a manual redirection of our broadcast signal, aiming it towards another one of our transmission towers. Indeed, this is temporary and the rebuilding of our destroyed tower will be a long and expensive process. But kudos tonight go out to our team and friends who got KSMQ-TV back on the air. .

The tower, owned by KSMQ and leased to wireless providers including AT&T fell during a storm that blew through the South Central Minnesota that brought winds up to 53 mph to the Austin area according to the National Weather Service.

Here’s a look at KTTC‘s coverage of the fallen tower: