Kennewick Radio Station Fire Now Officially Called Arson
They're our competitors, but this isn't funny or clever in any way.
Kennewick police are searching for the suspect (or suspects) who set fire to a radio transmitter building North of Kamiakin High School sometime late Friday night - early Saturday morning.
Officer Dan Todd of the KPD says it's now labeled as an arson investigation. An employee of Radio Tri Cities (one of our competitors) noticed stations Power 99, KTCR 1340AM and Eagle 106.5 were off the air early Saturday. After troubleshooting at their studios in South Kennewick near 27th, the worker went to the transmitter and tower site of KTCR.
You've probably seen their tower, located at 1020 N. Cleveland St., it's in the field behind the North parking lot at Kamiakin H.S just off Edison St.. The worker found someone had pried open the doors to the small brick building that not only houses the KTCR transmitter, but also the relays (they're called an STL) used to beam the signal from Power 99 and The Eagle to their towers on the hills South of Kennewick.
This person, or persons, set fire to the inside of the building, causing extensive damage to the wiring and equipment. The blaze burned itself out by the time police and fire crews were called, but it knocked the three stations off the air for much of the weekend, and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. If the KTCR AM transmitter was damaged, it's potentially a five - figure fixing bill. They're not cheap. These units, such as Newstalk 870's 10,000 watt unit, can set you back several hundred thousand dollars for a new one.
As I said, they are stations who compete with us here at Townsquare Media. Our group includes 102.7KORD, 97Rock, HOT97.5 and 98.3The Key, besides Newstalk 870. But having been through technical and equipment disasters myself at various jobs, I hope they catch these clowns.
The incredible amount of work required to repair this sophisticated broadcast equipment is not something we would wish on anyone. You don't just run down to Radio Shack and buy a few items to fix this. It requires hours and hours of work to restring wiring alone, and the rest is so technical we will skip the details.
I can probably tell you what this worker said when they opened the door at the transmitter site and saw the damage, but those words cannot be reprinted here, for obvious reasons..and there would have been a steady stream of them!
Anyone with information is urged to call Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at (509)-586-TIPS (8477). All leads are confidential.