KCBD's Tower at Full Power - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/16/02

KCBD's Tower at Full Power

For most people, getting up in the morning involves a cup of coffee and maybe a donut.

"You ready Big Andy?" says David Sills.

But these aren't most people.

"Yeah, I'll be up there in just a minute," says Chris King.

They are the men of Coast to Coast Tower Service, and getting up means hooking yourself to a metal cable and being hoisted 700 feet into the air. Their assignment: replace the antenna at the top of the KCBD tower. A 30 foot piece of high-tech gadgetry that's supposed to broadcast in digital quality HDTV, but so far has only broadcast headaches. The first antenna caught on fire, burning like an over-sized Olympic torch. The second antenna, well, it just didn't work right. Enter the five man crew of coast to coast.

"It's not that big of a deal," says Evin Thurman. "It's not as scary as you might think it is once you get up there.

Evin is the crew foreman, and despite the repeated warnings of danger, more danger, some caution, triple danger, and double caution, he says it's rare to actually be in fear for your life.

"You have your moments, don't get me wrong. There's the moments when you grab your heart and say, oh, okay, everything's cool," he says.

And that's good news for Michael Terry, given that he's been on the job a total of just..."Uh, four hours. Yeah, this is my first day," he chuckles.

He's relying on his big brother Chris to help him learn the ropes, and also to pass on more practical advice, like what to do when mother nature calls.

"You go, you let it rain down," laughs Chris.

But does he at least give a warning to the folks down below?

"Yeah, you try to holler down, but then you got everybody staring at you!" he says.

With the antenna securely installed, the crew is racing to get off the tower. There's a state championship football game in 60 minutes, and a local radio station needs to broadcast at full power, but if they do that with men on the tower.

"Them guys will get burnt and shocked," says Chris.

And so, like a well-oiled machine. "We got to get the rope," says Andy Beckel. The tight-knit group swings into action. "Might be better off pulling down this side," shouts Chris. And with just 10 minutes 'till kickoff: "Time is of the essence," muses Andy. They finish the job.

"It turned out to be a pretty good day," says Evin.

So for kids out there who dream of one day having an office view shared only by the birds, here's some important advice from David Sills: "I guess just hang on."

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