Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wax-on, Wax-off

We are back on the air in Dallas this morning after a bit of an interruption yesterday….those of you watching Channel 4 last night saw the story of Copper Thieves who struck the transmitter site of our Dallas-Ft. Worth Affiliate, BizRadio1360 on Tuesday night…

Our special thanks to Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc’s Market Manager Ted Sauceman, his Engineer, Juan Benitez, and the crew from Broadcast Tools who worked tirelessly to get our affiliate back on the air by midday yesterday.

According to Sauceman, here's the chronology of the crime:

4:50 AM: The cable thieves cut the telephone cable killing the audio to the transmitter.

5:00 AM: A Silence Sense unit activates and starts playing the Biz Radio backup disk.

5:10 AM: The Spanish board operator on duty cannot figure out why he's hearing an English-language program, and calls Benitez, who discovers he has no telemetry control of the transmitter (because the phone lines have been sliced); Benitez sets out for the transmitter site to effect a manual change to the Spanish-language back-up audio disk.

5:25-5:35: Benitez drives to the transmitter while simultaneously calling Sauceman at home. During this period, the Mensa's cut into a 440-volt power cable feeding the A/C unit and, in addition to getting the shock of their life, blow the main breaker, killing all building power, and knocking the station off the air completely.

5:40: Sauceman heads to the KMNY studios in Duncanville to turn on a backup studio-to-transmitter link to get live audio on the air.

5:50: Benitez calls to say that the power is now off at the transmitter building. Only the equipment in the racks is working on the battery backup unit.

5:52: Sauceman reports the outage to Broadcast Works who sends an engineer (later 2) to work on the problem.

The perps had cut all cables leading to the generator, but could not get them disconnected from the generator end because of the arrival of Juan Benitez on the scene. They carved out about 80- feet of the 100-pair telephone cable, but because they were interrupted, left it coiled on the ground near Tower 4, along with the copper feed line to tower 4.

Thanks to the timely arrival of Benitez...and most likely someone getting the shock of their life from the 440-volt line...they left their bolt cutters and a saw that they were going to use to cut the conduit holding the cable to the generator.

All they got away with was about 50 feet of copper strap from Tower 4, the lightening-arc-ball unit, and the ground wire from the building to earth ground. They were stripping the cover from the ground wire when they were interrupted.

Sauceman suspects these people will return to get the rest.
There's a welcoming committee waiting for them.
MRBI has hired an armed guard from 6PM to 6AM, who will sit at the site with the Safety off.

1 comment:

Ray said...

Why isn't there a very strong law in regards to selling scrap metal?
How many more stations are going to suffer,becasue some "druggie" needs money for their daily fix? How many homes will not have AC during a hot summer month,due to a copper theft from their outside ac unit? People in poor health,such as asthma,and other breathing diffulties need the ac to breathe. Stations need to broadcast information to the community it is licensed to serve.
These copper thefts should be more than a local or state felony,they need to be federal. There needs to be strong regulations in place more so than ever to prevent thievery from radio stations,transmission power lines,street lights,office buildings and homes. The "hands off approach" and lobbyists for scrap mental dealers need to be put out to pasture.
There needs to be;, a photo id when selling copper, no matter the pound,or length,a finger print, a photo taken,a signature,and one that can be validated, a video of the transaction from all angles, age requirement( 25)and a 60 freeze from selling copper to the same dealer. The dealership should be held liable and stiff fines plus imprisonment for violations,including loss of license on the first offense. The laws are laxed and enforcement is weak.Its time to strengthen them.