DigitalTraveler42 ,

After reading a bit deeper about this station and this antenna in particular, i have to wonder if this isn't an attempt at insurance fraud, and why I say that is that this station has been trying to repair that radio tower over the years and have had an issue with the tower going dark repeatedly, maybe they figured they could make more money off the insurance claim, or enough to replace it, and through all of the fundraising and exposure it looks like that's just what's going to happen.

captain_aggravated ,
@captain_aggravated@sh.itjust.works avatar

So from reading the article, it seems that it wasn't just the tower taken, but also the transmitter. Which makes a little more sense; you don't want to be the thing that detaches an AM broadcast antenna from its feed line while it's on the air. They often transmit with kilowatts or megawatts of power, and often the tower structure itself IS the antenna, or half of it.

I'd be curious if there was a political motivation. This happening in Alabama, was someone scheduled to say some things that aren't extremely racist or something?

The article states that the missing property has a value of ~$200,000, but I imagine that's in the form of an intact radio transmitter and tower; as scrap metal it's probably worth a small fraction of that, and what scrapyard is going to accept a broadcast tower without any questions?

Also:

While the tower remains MIA, WJLX remains off the air. The radio station asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow it to keep broadcasting its FM station even though its AM station is off the air, but the FCC denied the request on Thursday, the station said, since the FCC doesn't allow FM translators to run without the AM station also being on air. The FM station is now only available online.

What? Why?

LarmyOfLone ,

What are the chances this is politically motivated? What kind of radio station was it? Right wing talk radio?

shinratdr ,
@shinratdr@lemmy.ca avatar

Alabama

AM

I mean I can’t say 100%, but…

VampyreOfNazareth ,

Ah censorship takes a new level of intricacy.

Naja_Kaouthia ,
@Naja_Kaouthia@lemmy.world avatar

I saw this story yesterday and I just cannot fathom HOW. It’s kind of amazing.

And009 ,

In Bihar, they steal steel bridges, railway tracks, train engine and even asphalt road. Imagine how that works

ComradeKhoumrag ,
@ComradeKhoumrag@infosec.pub avatar

Probably got eaten by one of China's 5G cell towers... Always a bigger fish

debounced Admin ,
debounced avatar

Haven't looked up the station's license to see how much power they could have been pushing, but if I were the "authorities", I'd definely be checking local hospitals for records of anyone coming in with mild to severe [RF] burns. With [low frequency] AM stations, the tower itself is basically the other half of the antenna electrically... probably lit them up like a Christmas tree.

spongebue ,

HIPAA does have some exceptions to allow giving relevant information for crimes that occurred on their premises, but I'm not sure there's anything that could be applicable here.

piecat ,

With am... Either you're cooked dead or not. 20-50kW of power...

They probably turned off the transmitter. Because that's gone too.

ShellMonkey ,
@ShellMonkey@lemmy.socdojo.com avatar

First it was copper wiring and plumbing, now people taking the radio towers. You ever stop to think maybe if someone had a bit more hope for having enough to live on stupid shit like this would stop?

surewhynotlem ,

This is the answer. People will find ways to survive.

agamemnonymous ,
@agamemnonymous@sh.itjust.works avatar

It's my understanding that this is frequently done by pirate radio operators so they can use the equipment to broadcast their own signals.

HootinNHollerin ,

wonder if its some far right militia group or preppers

agamemnonymous ,
@agamemnonymous@sh.itjust.works avatar

It's Kid Charlemagne

frezik ,

Maybe, but pirate radio in the US is somewhat limited. It was popular in the UK because of how tightly controlled the airwaves are controlled there for the BBC, and you move just outside territorial waters and still broadcast to a good chunk of the country.

An AM radio tower in the US, though? Can't discount it completely, but doesn't seem likely. Every broadcast gives away your location--it's like lighting a match in a dark cave--and AM transmits pretty far even on small amounts of power. There are ham radio operators who track down things like that just for fun.

A_Very_Big_Fan ,

Steve Lehto speculated they might have done it just to get the program off the air when he covered this story. He also mentioned the equipment would sell for practically nothing, so it was probably motivated more by the financial damages the station would incur than what they'd be able to sell the equipment for.

I'm inclined to believe him as someone who worked in 6 radio stations across his lifetime

ShellMonkey ,
@ShellMonkey@lemmy.socdojo.com avatar

Something like that's possible, but since taking an antenna after the fact won't undo the broadcast, and still leaves the option of internet transmission it seems like a lot of risk for little reward. That's why the first thing that came to mind for me was scrap salvage. Plenty of people on both the lawful and unlawful side of things making relatively untraceable income that way.

tsonfeir ,
@tsonfeir@lemm.ee avatar

Give me a reason to have hope, that is based on reality, and I will.

HootinNHollerin , (edited )

Dun runn oft

thurstylark ,

R-u-n-n-o-f-t!

wildbus8979 ,

The Geerlings did a piece on this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZSxb8QIIa4

autotldr Bot ,

This is the best summary I could come up with:


As first reported by Memphis' Action News 5, Jasper, Alabama, radio station WJLX 101.5 FM/1240 AM, sent a bush hog crew to maintain the area around the tower on February 2.

The radio station manager has told outlets that he's hopeful that community tips and surveillance footage from the poultry plant near the tower's former location may eventually help police find the tower-taker(s).

Federal law says one who "willfully or maliciously injures or destroys any of the works, property, or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or system, or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United States" can face up to 10 years of imprisonment and fines.

Tinsley told the news station that she has reached out to people to identify media outlets that might be willing to help WJLX get new equipment.

It was eventually revealed that two NSCDC officials "were approached by a scrap metal dealer to provide him security cover to transport the items," per Media Trust-owned Daily Trust.

If WJLX's case is anything like the Nigerian heist, someone likely knows more than they're letting on, and the financial burden to the media outlet could be hard to resolve quickly.


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