BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was an amazing sight over WKBN’s main broadcast tower Friday morning.
A large helicopter lifted our new antenna to the top of our tall tower in Boardman.
That new antenna is part of the work underway to give WKBN and our sister stations — WYFX and WYTV — the clearest signal possible.
The Sikorsky S-61 heavy-lift helicopter flew into Boardman around 7 a.m. Friday, circling before landing next to the big tower.
As the final two tower climbers joined four others 1,400 feet up the tower, workers on the ground got ready to to take the 6,000-pound orange antenna up to them.
Moments later, the chopper was in the air.
First, the old antenna had to come down.
A line from the chopper had to be safely connected by some tower climbers while others unbolted the old antenna.
Then, with a rev of engines, the pilots took the weight of the antenna and slowly and expertly guided it to the ground.
“Well, it’s just an exciting day. It’s not every day we have a helicopter a quarter of a mile up in the air on top of our antenna, on top of the stick,” said Dave Coy, general manager of WKBN, Channel 27.
With the old antenna unhooked, the big helicopter took off again.
Ground crews connected the lines to the new transmitter antenna.
Again, the pilots showed their experience, lifting the heavy piece of equipment more than a quarter-mile above the ground.
The tower climbers then got the first bolts into place and finally secured the antenna so the chopper could let go.
“For the long run, this will be the strongest digital signal that we’ve ever had once we complete this project. So for our advertising clients, for our viewers, for the community, it’s exciting for us to get into the next generation of where we need to be,” Coy said.
Work will continue on the tower for the next several days.
Once that is finished, we will be able to turn on our strongest digital signal ever to get our local news, sports and programming to your home.
At 2 p.m. Friday, the government required all stations serving Youngstown to change frequencies. That means you, or your neighbors, have to rescan your TV if you watch us over an antenna.
If you’re watching over cable, streaming or Dish Network, they’ll do it for you, and you won’t need to do a thing.
If someone can’t get our signal after rescanning, just download our news app in the Apple or Google store. We’ll alert you when the new antenna is turned on at full power, and you should be able to get us with a rescan then.