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Tower Disasters Leave Dutch Radio Off Air

Streaming and other platforms still exist, but FM transmissions are down for about 80% of the population

Video of the Hoogersmilde Tower Collapse from RTV Fires hit two large Dutch radio-TV transmission towers on the afternoon of Friday, 15 July, disabling transmissions from Lopik/IJsselstein and collapsing the mast at Hoogersmilde.

Transmitters at Lopik/IJsselstein were shut down after a fire broke out in the transmission facility. There were concerns that it was caused by a short circuit and the entire facility had to be depowered so that fire inspectors could determine the cause of the blaze and to ensure that no further damage was done. Fire officials expected the facility to remain off the air at least through Saturday.

The Hoogersmilde disaster will have a longer term impact for Dutch broadcasters. A fire, possibly sparked by lightening, damaged the tower leading to a partial collapse of the mast. No one was injured in the collapse, but it is unclear how quickly the transmitting stations can be put back into use.

Before the collapse of its upper section, the Hoogersmilde tower was one of the tallest in the Netherlands.

According to Dutch press reports, about 80 percent of the Netherlands is without over-the-air FM radio due to the twin transmission tower troubles. Stations are continuing to carry programming online and via some cable systems, as well as on medium wave from other sites.

Jonathan Marks has more details and links on his blog, “Critical Distance.”