Cleveland: Radio stations knocked off the air

7:56 PM, Jan 25, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- At least three Cleveland radio stations were knocked off the air for up to 90 minutes on Friday.

They went to dead air when a major equipment failure at AT&T cut the link between the radio studios and their transmitters.  

"We went down around 11 a.m. this morning," said Keith Williams, general manager of ESPN 850 WKNR and 1540 KNR2.

"We just started calling and realized we could not dial out from our phones. The fax machine went down. Everything went down."

ESPN 850 reestablished a link to its transmitter by early afternoon, but operated with a weak signal. KNR2 was off the air for several hours.

"It certainly affected our business," Williams told WKYC.

Another leading Cleveland broadcasting company, Radio One, became "Radio None" for more than 90 minutes. That's how long the group's flagship station was off the air.

Z 107.9 was affected by the equipment failure, and employees did not immediately realize what had knocked them off the air.

"We thought it was weather-related," said Program Director Colby "Colb" Tyler, who was doing his afternoon on-air shift on Z 107.9 when the station returned to the air.

"We were part of the story today," Colb told his listeners, "and it's really scary that one situation like that could cause such a mess up."

He was referring to the AT&T malfunction also knocking out internet, various communication channels, and 911 service across parts of Northeast Ohio.  

Radio One's other three stations, including WZAK, Newstalk 1490, and Praise 1300 managed to stay on the air during the outage.

"It's been a really weird day here," he admitted. "We were off the air for a little bit earler and usually when those things happen, we try to figure out internally what's going on."

"But actually, something bigger happened today in Northeast Ohio and it might have affected you," he told his audience.


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