By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor
One of the taller landmarks on the High Plains and easily the tallest in Portales is coming down.
The 300-foot tower at the old KENW-TV studios will be taken apart this week by Advanced Tower Services of Albuquerque. Work began Tuesday and depending on the weather, the tower could be down by Friday, according to Cliff Barbieri, a supervisor for the company.
A crew of five was crawling up and down the tower’s framework Tuesday, removing lights, cables and other attachments. Barbieri said that they could possibly be removing the first of the 20-foot sections by mid-morning today.
While Advanced Tower Services specializes in installing towers and has put up other towers for KENW, dismantling them is a service they offer.
“We put more of them up than we take down,” Barbieri said. “But occasionally people want one taken down.”
Duane Ryan, director of broadcasting at Eastern New Mexico University, said the tower hasn’t been used in nearly two years. A newer tower near Greyhound Stadium, on U.S. 70 between Portales and Clovis is now being utilized.
Ryan explained that the new tower is digital and matches up with the equipment being used now in KENW-TV’s new Broadcast Center. The location also gets the signal up out of the Portales valley and allows digital signal to be broadcast to Clovis and Portales.
“We needed to have a little more height and we wanted to get the RF (radio frequency) out of the community,” Ryan said. “When we first went on the air with that 100,000 watt transmitter in 1978 we had garage doors opening all around town until we got it fine tuned.”
Ryan said the tower was erected next to the station in 1973 at a height of 150 feet. In 1977-78 the building was expanded and the base of the tower ended up inside the building.
Ryan said there are three sets of guy wires on the tower and crews will leave the lower guy wires in place as they disassembly lower from the top in 20-foot sections. Barbieri and Ryan said the street in front of the old station may be closed at times while the work continues.