A radio station in Alabama was forced to go silent after thieves stole its 200-foot radio tower and other equipment from a building.
The station, WJLX, sent a landscaping crew to the site Friday morning for spring cleaning, only to find the 200-foot radio tower gone. When a crew member called the station’s general manager to break the news, he was in disbelief.
“What do you mean the tower is gone? Are you sure you’re in the right place? I actually used more colorful words than that,” Brett Elmore recounted to NBC News. “He said there’s wires all over the ground and the tower is gone.”
Not only was the radio tower stolen, but a nearby building was also vandalized. When Elmore heard the door was left ajar, “that’s when reality was starting to set in that something bad had happened.”
The thieves stole every piece of equipment from the building, including a transmitter. Elmore has filed a report with the police.
“There was a meeting yesterday between the owner and our investigators concerning the matter,” Jasper Mayor David O’Mary told NBC News on Thursday. “At this point, we are still lacking information that we have to have to conduct a full-fledged investigation.”
WJLX notified the Federal Communications Commission that its AM station was silent. The station was hoping to continue broadcasting its program through FM radio in the meantime.
“We requested a temporary authority to keep the FM translator on until we get the AM back on the air,” Elmore said on Thursday. “But unfortunately, this morning, I was notified the FCC denied our request to stay on air on the FM side, so actually, we’re about to go power down the transmitter.”
Despite the setbacks, Elmore has faith WJLX will bounce back.
“Unfortunately, the site was not insured. We’re a small-market station, but we’re going to get back, and we’re going to be back on the air as soon as we possibly can,” Elmore said.