Denver metro OTA discussion Mar 22, 2006 (1 Viewer)

SimpleSimon

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Synopsis of the radio show: 10:00-11:40MST

Text in []s are my editorial comments.

Discussion of Lookout Mt. DTV transmitter tower issues and local residents objecting and blocking it.

Canyon Area Residents for the Enironment - stonewalled, would not appear. Mayor of City of Golden - ditto.

Pete McNally & Marv Rockford from Lake Cedar Group - representing local Denver TV stations.

They touched on why OTA is needed. [Nothing new to members here.]

3 existing towers for TV, plus a TV weather radar tower. Tallest is 840', the others are 2-300'.
Plan is to replace those with a SINGLE shorter (730') tower, that will be lower on Lookout Mt.
This will IMPROVE the aesthetics (mountain view).

There are several other radio, TV, and cellular towers on Lookout Mt. - it's a long time antenna farm.
Towers have been there for 50+ years - long before the homeowners arrived.

The TV stations want to build the new tower to start good DTV transmissions now,
and dismantle the old towers in 2009 - when analog TV dies.

There is NO chance whatsoever that ALL these towers will go away, the TV stations want to consolidate 4 into one.
If this plan doesn't go through, the TV stations will simply convert the old towers in 2009.

Discussing RF "pollution" issues - blah, blah - no danger now or in the future, but even so, they plan on using better antennas to actually lessen stray RF. They are also willing to hire a monitor to ensure safety.

City is wanting to condemn the site owned by the stations so it can't be used. Gov't has offered $1.6M for 65 acres - supposedly for "open space". TV stations have offered the existing LARGER site FREE for open space once the old towers are no longer needed (2009). Seems like a blocking attempt against the TV stations.

Taking phone calls:

Caller lives in that area (bought house in 2000). Asking about how many people get HD via OTA - he thinks it's only 1-2%. Chopped off at the knees - DTV is government-mandated. He asks about RF "pollution" - has been told that there will be more in the city of Golden. TV guys stated that Golden has the same levels as other west-side cities. Caller contends that the existing towers are not in compliance with federal regs - wrong! Caller says it's a non-conforming use - TV guys say that it's pre-existing (from many years before zoning), and that it's legal as long as they keep using it - which they will. Back to RF health risks (cancer) - more crap. TV guys quote a Colo. Dept. of Health study indicating no risk. Now he's asking about fuel storage for backup generators. TV guys say, yes - just like all the other towers, and that the new tower will have current gear conforming to modern safety standards. Finally, he asks about alternative sites (in somebody else's backyard) - pushing that they just want to be there because they already own the site. TV guys rebut by saying they own it because it's the best place for towers. Mike asks for the caller's opinion on the TV guys rebuttals - the caller waffles hems and haws. [Seems to me that he's just a NIMBY (not in my backyard).]

Chris in Highland Ranch: Complaining that he can not get OTA DTV because of these people. [existing Denver DTV is low-power due to lack of tower space.]

Mike in Golden/Genessee - 5 miles from towers but not in line of sight: He says he's been monitoring the situation for 7-8 years. Says there's an elevated cancer rate on Lookout Mt. Moderator (Mike Rosen) asks caller why he hasn't moved - the towers are NOT going away. Caller says an omni antenna will be worse because DTV carries farther. TV guys rebut by saying they are NOT going to use an omni - because they want to efficiently send RF energy east (away from the local residents) to the viewers. Caller is worried about RF energy at the schools. TV guys say that the existing RF levels at the local schools are the same as in Aurora (east side of Denver metro) 21 miles away. Some experts state that FM radio is the problem. The TV guys REMOVED that part of the proposal [even though that would still be an improvement in RF "pollution".] Moderator brought up the point that cell phones are worse, but you still use THEM.

Caller from Littleton: Has D* but network HD OTA only [D* doesn't yet carry Denver DTV]. Asking about D-to-A conversion boxes [and other stuff we already know about.]

Frank in Denver: Has HD and E* but using OTA. TV guys say that OTA will be better than DTV via satellite due to compression.

Ken in Golden/Genesee: Complaining that the other guys aren't on - moderator responded that they tried - more than once. [My experience has been that KOA does MORE than due diligence to get representatives from both sides for issues like this.] Now he's bringing up zoning violations and RF interference (garage door openers, etc.). Shot down on the first, and TV guys state the RF interference is due to the FM stations, NOT the TV transmitters. TV guys say they've been trying to work with the locals, but they just throw up a brick wall. TV guys say they are only 5% of the total RF on Lookout Mt. and even though the new tower will help, the TV issues are so small in the first place it's not going to matter. [Maybe if the locals had not complained about the FM going on the new towers in the first place, they WOULD have seen an improvement - but that's not on the table now.] Now he's arguing about whether Lookout Mt. is still the best place for TV towers. Caller brings up Squaw Mt. but can't back up contention that it's better [It's not.].

Conclusion:

TV guys reiterate that the TV stations have NEVER been in violation of RF emission standards and that they have offered to pay the county to hire someone the county chooses to monitor RF in the future.

Moderator is concluding that the locals there are just being NIMBYs that don't care a whit about anyone else in the metro area and that they bought in Lookout Mt. KNOWING that it was a broadcast tower site.
 
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