Local News

Digital Television Takes a Towering Step Toward Triangle Homes

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CLAYTON — A major move for digital television in the Triangle happened Tuesday as the first sections of a new television tower were put in place.

The huge tower is being put up byCapitol Broadcasting Company, which ownsWRAL-TV.

Big cranes lifted the first sections slowly into place; together, the sections weigh 56 feet and 98,000 pounds of steel. Digital signals from Triangle TV stations, including WRAL andWRAZ, will be broadcast from the tower this fall.

"It's been a long time coming. We've been planning this for years and years," says John Greene, vice president of Capitol Broadcasting Company. "It's been a project under way for a long, long time. The construction of the tower itself, the pieces, has taken a long time."

More than 900 tons of steel and cable will sit atop a rounded steel plate held in position by its own weight and a steel locating pin.

"It doesn't stress the tower so much, so having it sit on a pin like that, and able to move is a better way to go. It's a better design," says supervisor Pat Moore.

Beside the tower, a new building will house transmitters for digital broadcasts. It will take months to build the tower, which features a top that will hold up to six antennas.

A field full of sections sit at the site waiting to be stacked on the base. Each weighs about 10 tons and is 30 feet high, bringing the height of the tower to 2,000 feet.

With 29 tons of steel dangling from the crane, the pin was positioned and the first section settled into place with the help of the tower crew from Texas.

There is a lot of work yet to do, but television's digital future is rising in the Triangle.

WRAL-HDhas been broadcasting digital signals since 1996 and is scheduled to begin regularly scheduled programming Nov 1. However, WRAL-TV will continue to broadcast its analog signal on channel 5 for several years.


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