Local TV broadcasts down after controlled burn
Carl Sassenrath, chairman of the Ukiah Television Improvement Association, said his group has eight antennas on the top of Cow Mountain, where Cal Fire set fires beginning Feb. 24 to burn vegetation and provide training to firefighters.
"The fire basically melted the cables connected to some the antennas," Sassenrath said, explaining that the fire "jumped the fireline and came all the way to the top."
Julie Cooley, spokesperson for Mendocino's Cal Fire Unit, said she was not aware of the antennas being damaged and could not speak to whether the agency would be liable.
Sassenrath said he spoke to a Cal Fire chief who offered to help pay for the damages, and that he planned to contact him again when he repaired all the equipment and knew how much it cost to fix it.
Six channels, which UTIA receives from San Francisco and then rebroadcasts, were knocked off the air last week. Currently, three channels are back on.
On Wednesday, Sassenrath said his group "braved the storm to get NBC back on the air," but CBS is missing and PBS is spotty. He said once the weather is clear for a few days, the group will try and do more repairs.
He said the timing was particularly bad because the group just bought a new $1,200 antenna system so it could broadcast the Olympics "in an excellent quality digital picture."
For more information about UTIA, which depends on donations from the community, visit tiaukiah.org.
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