October 3-10, 2002

KDUH-TV, North of Scottsbluff, Nebraska

It may seem as though "Tower Site of the Week" has been everywhere in the last few years, but in truth, your intrepid editor still has many hundreds of broadcast sites around the country that are so remote even he hasn't reached them yet. That was borne home just a week or so ago, when word came of the collapse of the nearly 2000-foot tower of KDUH-TV (Channel 4) in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Sadly, two tower workers were killed in the September 24 collapse, which came as the ABC affiliate was preparing its tower to accomodate an additional antenna for KDUH-DT (Channel 7). And as we looked at the pictures of the tower post-crash, we realized that this was one distant corner of Nebraska (five hours or so west of Omaha, three hours east of Denver) indeed. Plotting the site on the map, we found it to be a good 10 miles from even the nearest major road, northeast of Scottsbluff and west of Alliance in southern Box Butte County.

But never underestimate Tower Site's readers...just a few days later, we received e-mail from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. He had family reasons to be visiting western Nebraska this past July, and made his way over the dirt roads to capture what were probably the last pictures ever taken of Nebraska's tallest tower. He generously offered them to us to share them with you, and we're grateful for that.

KDUH, by the way, stood for "Duhamel" Broadcasting, which owns this station as well as KOTA-TV in Rapid City, S.D., a few hours to the north. There's quite an irony in this tower's collapse coming as part of DTV installation; the Duhamel family has been loudly protesting in Washington against the unfunded mandate of DTV conversion, arguing that it's an expense these small stations in this incredibly rural part of the country can't bear. Now viewers who depended on KDUH as one of only three reliable local TV signals in far western Nebraska (the others being KSTF, channel 10 in Scottsbluff, relaying CBS from KGWN in Cheyenne, Wyoming and KTNE-TV, channel 13 in Alliance, carrying Nebraska Educational Television) are down to two signals while KDUH rebuilds its tower. In the meantime, KDUH is feeding area cable systems directly, as well as reaching in-town viewers in Scottsbluff and Chadron on translators K02NT and K02NY, respectively.

One more quick bit of midwestern tall-tower trivia: While KDUH was the tallest tower in Nebraska, there are a few sticks elsewhere in the region that rise just a few feet higher, right to the FAA limit of 2063 feet. KVLY-TV (Channel 11) in Fargo, N.D. is the very tallest, at the limit itself. A few miles away, KXJB-TV (Channel 4) in Valley City, N.D. rises 2060 feet. KXJB's tower collapsed in 1998 and was rebuilt shortly afterward. No, Tower Site hasn't been to the Fargo area, either...but we will, and you'll see it here.

In the meantime, tune in again next Thursday as we take you to a site so new, it wasn't even on the air yet when we visited!

Like last week's WTIC picture? It's one of the more than a dozen Tower Site images featured in the 2003 Tower Site Calendar, coming this fall from Tower Site of the Week and fybush.com.

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