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This AM Station Wasn’t Looking for a Sign

An uninsured driver sends WRTA on a "one way" trip to its insurance company

WRTA(AM) experienced some “breaking” news earlier this week when a street sign came crashing through the station’s front window.

WRTA is a 1 kW station licensed to Altoona, Penn. It is owned and operated by Matt Lightner of Lightner Electronics, who told Radio World that a driver ran a red light and hit another car, sending it on a course to go straight through the lobby window.

“I got the first call at 8:30 a.m. by the new GM, and then the 911 center called shortly after, so I raced for the station,” said Lightner. “I’m thinking the worst, as far as how am I going to continue operations if a car is into the building and its deemed unsafe.”

Thankfully, he said, the car stopped just a few inches short of the building, much to the relief of the station’s brand-new general manager; however, the vehicle did collide with a one way sign that turned into a projectile and blew out the glass.

“On the way in [to the station], I am switching back and forth between our three live morning shows thinking I’m going to hear all about the accident, but it turns out, they never heard a thing! I guess we did a fairly good job on the sound proofing,” he said in an email.

(Click to toggle between photos of the incident.)


Lightner said there were no reported injuries and no structural damage to WRTA’s building other than the large window and a ton of glass to pick up.

The driver that ran the red light, causing the incident, had no license or insurance, he said.

“You can see what the front of the building normally looks like in the office Christmas picture,” said Lightner. “It’s where we put our Christmas tree, and it is also our guest waiting area.”

“I heard 15 years ago, under the previous owner, that a tire came off a truck and smashed through the window,” Lightner said. “So I guess that is the price to pay to be located at a very busy intersection with an excellent location to advertise the stations.”

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