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Repack Faces Tower Crew Shortage

Recalling the frantic period of activity to get antenna systems in place leading up to the June 2009 deadline for the U.S. DTV switchover, could it be “déjà vu all over again” when the 2016 incentive spectrum auction dust settles? 

Given the number of stations likely to be impacted by an anticipated channel repack, the National Association of Broadcasters commissioned Digital Tech Consulting to examine the matter. Early last month, the Dallas-based research firm released its findings in a 60-page document (“Broadcast Spectrum Repacking Timeline, Resource and Cost Analysis Study”), which examined several industry sectors critical in moving the repack forward. One of these was tower workers.

Crew Crunch

The availability of qualified tower workers has to be a major concern, for no matter how much channel-change hardware (transmitters, antennas, RF components and tower structural modification members) can be delivered, without sufficient installers it will be just so much dead weight languishing on pallets and in packing boxes.

It all seems to boil down to: “Are there enough tall-tower workers to handle the anticipated changes within the three years the FCC has allotted?”

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