Radio broadcasting in the U.S. has a rich history, and great stories have been told and written about call letter origins, news coverage, format development, programming and promotion snafus, and all the famous TV celebrities who got their starts in radio.
All of those stories enjoy varying degrees of interest from radio broadcasters and their listeners, but there are also hundreds of great stories that are of interest primarily to engineers.
If you've ever gotten together with other engineers at an SBE function, at the NAB or just an impromptu lunch with fellow transmitter hacks, the conversation has probably turned to stories about weird, funny or unfortunate happenings at some transmitter site or other. Nearly all broadcast engineers have at least one story to tell.
There are stories about haunted transmitter sites, transmitters with minds of their own, plate transformers falling through the floor, guy wires being cut, fried mice, freaky phone lines…the list goes on and on.
Some of the best stories come from some of the oldest transmitter sites. Sites you might term classic. We have gathered a few of these stories together to entertain and inform.
Walker is a freelance writer and station engineer for KBFB and KTXQ in Dallas.