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Two Scary Station Stories

In honor of the Halloween season, we solicited scary radio engineering stories from readers. We received two great ones, with very different takes on "scary." Enjoy!

Image Copyright: hadkhanong_Thailand

In honor of the Halloween season, we solicited scary radio engineering stories from readers. We received two great ones, with very different takes on “scary.” Enjoy!�

I had a “little” scare one night at a seven-tower DA I was maintaining in the East county of San Diego back in 1988 during a very rare thunder storm in our area.

I got called by the remote control that the pattern had not switched to night, and I couldn’t remotely switch it, either, so out I headed to have a look-see.�Due to possible low AC voltage at the time, the ATU contactors didn’t fully engage for the night pattern, thus taking us off the air.

I proceeded to go to each ATU and manually switch them, and as I was just getting ready to head to the next ATU during the downpour, that particular tower took a direct lightning strike, creating a corona ball the size of a basketball, which brushed against my leg and disappeared out the open door into the field.

The only damage to the equipment was a burnt roller contactor in one of the tuning coils.�I had a slight hearing loss for a day or so, and my wife said I smelled of sulfur for a week.

I’ll bet the guys in the Midwest must have similar stories to tell.

Dick Warren

Warren Engineering Inc.

San Diego, Calif.


I worked at a four-station studio complex in central Kansas for 5 years, and during the time I worked there I heard all sorts of stories about “Bobby”. As the tale goes, Bobby was a little boy that lived near the site of the station when the building was being built. As little boys are wont to do, he would explore the building site when no one was around. One evening he fell into the basement that was being poured and was killed.

One Bobby story that I personally experienced dealt with the phone system. The central POTS connections were in the basement and if the phone system started messing up, all you had to do was yell “Bobby, quit it!” and the phones would start working again.

However, the best experience was on my final night work at the studios. I was the last one in the building and heading out the back door. This building had a long hallway from front to back with studios on one side and offices on the other. At the rear of the building you had to go down a short flight of stairs and turn right to go outside, and turn left if you wanted to go down some more stairs to the basement. As I reached the end of the hall I could see someone looking around the corner from the basement at me.

It kind of startled me, since I thought I was the only one in the building. When I looked again, he was gone. The only thing I could think is that it was Bobby telling me good-bye. I said “Goodbye, Bobby, be good!” and went out the back door to the parking lot. I was back one more time during the day for a quick in and out at the studios, but I will never forget Bobby!

R. V. Zeigler, Dir. of Eng.

Nebraska Rural Radio Assn.