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Hey, Who Stole My Tower?

AM station in Alabama suffers vandalism at its transmitter site

Logo0 of WJLX with the words "The sound of Walker County" WJLX 101.5[Find the follow-up to this story here]

Copper thefts at broadcast transmitter sites are all too frequent. But here’s an instance where the target apparently was steel.

The general manager of WJLX in Jasper, Ala., says someone stole the station’s 200-foot AM tower.

Brett Elmore, a second-generation broadcaster, posted Friday on the social media platform X: “I have heard of thieves in this area stealing anything, but this one takes the cake.”

The AM site is behind a local poultry plant on a dead-end road. Elmore had sent a bush hog operator to the site for cleanup work ahead of building a new shed, he said.

“When he arrived, he called and notified me that not only was my building vandalized, but my 200-foot tower was gone! They stole every piece of equipment out of the building, cut the guy wires to the tower and somehow managed to down a 200-foot tower and take it from the property.” The stolen equipment includes the station transmitter.

WJLX is a 1 kW nondirectional AM station on 1240 kHz. It has an FM translator at 101.5 that operates from a different location. James Early is the licensee.

Elmore told Radio World Sunday evening that his engineers planned to file for special temporary authority with the FCC on Monday for a silent AM and to operate the FM translator on its own for the time being while the company decides its next steps. The tower was not insured.

A local TV station, perhaps not thinking that towers can be taken into pieces, highlighted the unusual nature of the theft, calling it “seemingly impossible” and said it “seems unlikely that no one noticed a radio tower rolling down the road.”

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