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Authorities Probe WEMM Transmitter Theft

AM was already off the air because of previous equipment thefts

Authorities are investigating a transmitter theft from Mortenson Broadcasting-owned WEMM(AM), Huntington W.Va.

That’s according to the station’s consulting engineer Fred Francis, owner of Xenirad Broadcast Engineering in Pritchard, W.Va.

Francis tells Radio World the nondirectional Class D station had been off the air because of copper theft and “the removal of all components in the antenna tuning unit.”

WEMM’s general manager went to the transmitter site over the weekend to have Internet installed for a security system and that’s when he noticed the new Nautel NX25 was missing. Francis says local police, plus the FBI, are investigating. “The entire building was trashed and will need extensive electrical repairs as well as a new ATU, new coax, and a new transmitter,” according to Francis. “The site is in a residential neighborhood and the transmitter building is right across the street, less than 75 feet from several houses, well within view.”

Two other sites in this area have also been hit, according to Francis. WDGG(FM), Ashland, Ky., and WCMI(FM), Catlettsburg, Ky., both owned by Kindred Communications, still have their transmitters.