Radio magazine:How did you originally get into the radio/tower industry?
Ken Hall:I got into the tower industry when I started and managed a small tower company in South Carolina. From 1993 to 1997, the company built or acquired 24 towers. In 1997, I sold the 24 towers to the Boston-based American Tower Corp.
At that time, ATC owned 250 towers. I agreed to stay on with ATC for one year, while they put an organization together in the southeast, and therefore, became the 13th employee of the company. I was originally involved in all aspects of growing and managing the young company (construction, acquisition, operations, leasing and etc.). Today ATC owns over 100,000 towers world-wide.
In 2000, I join the ATC Broadcast Group, which specialized in dealing with radio and television stations. During the following 16 years, I assisted over 1,000 radio or television stations locate their equipment on ATC towers.
Radio:What made you decide to come out of retirement? (How long did you last before you returned to the workforce full time?
Hall:After the one year ATC commitment turned into 19 great years, I decided it was time to slow down, travel less and spend more time with family. I had the thought prior to retiring that I might like to find a way to stay involved in the tower/broadcast business in a less demanding way. Several long-time customers had asked if I would be available to advise after I retired.
Retirement lasted one month! I missed the interaction with my long-term broadcaster relationships and the challenge of finding solutions for tower needs.
Radio:What was especially attractive about going the independent consulting route and opening up your own shop, KH Tower Consulting?
Hall:Working at my own pace. It seems that working for any large corporation involves an ever-increasing amount of administrative demands. I believe that I can achieve more to help my clients if my sole attention is focused on their needs.
Radio:Can you explain what types of services you will offer in your new role?
Hall:I hope to provide broadcasters assistance in all aspects of locating their equipment on a tower. This might include any or all of the following: locating a tower, determining the feasibility of locating equipment on the tower, submitting an application with the tower company, negotiating the terms of the tower lease, acquiring the Notice to Proceed from the tower company, arranging the installation of the equipment on the tower, etc.
Radio:Are there certain challenges that you anticipate dealing with in the next few years? Obviously the TV repack is top of mind for many broadcasters.
Hall:By far, the greatest challenge facing the broadcast/tower industry is the TV repack. It is estimated that over 1,200 TV stations that broadcast from over 800 towers will be repacked. Some experts project that the auction will be completed and the repack will begin within the next several months.
The current allotted time for the repack is 39 months. In order to replace over 1,200 television antennas, a tremendous amount of difficult, dangerous, time-consuming work will have to take place in a short period of time.
Radio:Do you have any advice for radio broadcasters who are considering making changes to their tower, voluntarily or out of necessity?
Hall: Many of the TV stations that will be repacked are located on towers or multi-tower sites that are also the home of radio stations. These towers and all of the tenants on the towers will be impacted by the work that will be done. I would not be surprised if some of the towers are impacted for months.
Radio stations that co-exist on a tower or a multi-tower site with TV should be investigating and making plans now for how they plan to deal with the impact.
Radio:Anything else you think readers should know?
Hall:If your radio station is located near a TV station, start investigating the impact of the repack. Contact the TV station, your tower company � ATC has a repack group, not sure about the other tower companies, or an experienced tower/broadcast consultant.