Gray Television will be a while replacing two-thousand feet of metal that came crashing down in March. But Gray President Bob Prather told analysts that “friendly competitors” quickly restored coverage for WEAU-TV (NBC) Eau Claire, WI and that the advertising revenue impact has been negligible.
In his quarterly conference call, Prather made a point of thanking other broadcasters for coming to the aid of WEAU when its tower collapsed in an ice storm with heavy winds. “We literally missed virtually no service and I want to thank all of our competitors – our friendly competitors, I’ll use a word – they’ve been very, very helpful to us, and we appreciate the fact that the broadcasters in that area jumped in and were good citizens,” he said.
Both Quincy Newspaper’s WQOW-TV (ABC) Eau Claire and Grant Broadcasting’s WLAX-TV (Fox) La Crosse put WEAU on digital multicast channels to restore full market coverage within 48 hours of the tower collapse.
Prather said the tower site clean-up is still underway, but Gray is already soliciting bids for a new tower which will be paid for by insurance except for a negligible deductible. No one was hurt when the tower fell and there was no property damage except to the tower itself.