April 15, 2024

WJLX 1240 AM basic supervisor Brett Elmore says he “grew up within the halls” of the radio station.

“This radio station is like household to me, I am a second technology broadcaster,” he says.

The theft of his station’s 200-foot radio tower has silenced “the sound of Walker County,” as their slogan says. Because the Nineteen Fifties, the AM-originating station has been a dependable supply of reports and knowledge for Jasper, Alabama and the encompassing space. 

Then final week, the station’s transmitting tower was out of the blue gone. 

Elmore mentioned final week, a landscaping crew despatched all the way down to the world on round 52 acres of land, the place the tower stretches in the direction of the sky, found that the lengthy rural communications spire taller than the size of a soccer discipline had simply vanished — “stolen and not using a hint,” the station mentioned. 

Elmore was “shocked” when the crew known as to inform him, he mentioned. 

The tower wasn’t insured, and there weren’t any cameras round it. What cameras there are at a close-by poultry processing plant simply supplied low-quality restricted video, if any, in response to Elmore. 

“Clearly they’ve cameras, however the cameras actually — from what I perceive — usually are not giving a great view, they usually solely preserve [the video] for a brief time period.”

Elmore mentioned the police investigation continues to be ongoing, and signaled there might be challenges because the poultry facility close to the tower is “going by a large undertaking” to increase their facility. 

The tower is “type of behind” the poultry operation, and “you must undergo the poultry facility’s car parking zone to get there,” Elmore mentioned

Police advised WJLX their investigation continues to be ongoing, however Elmore hopes the nationwide and worldwide consideration the story is getting will assist resolve the case. 

“I’ve at all times needed to make the nationwide information, however for successful the Powerball, not for somebody stealing my 200 foot tower,” Elmore mentioned. 

“That is house, I’ll convey again the radio station,” he added. 

This week, the station mentioned the FCC denied their request to maintain broadcasting with the lacking tower. Elmore says the lacking tower was their AM transmitter which was simulcasted to their FM station. It survived, partly, by a authorities revitalization effort for AM radio transmissions. With out the AM tower, 101.5 FM can’t broadcast, the federal company advised Elmore. 

The station has powered down their FM transmitter per the federal authorities’s orders, Elmore mentioned. 

Now WJLX 101.5 FM will solely be allowed to stream on-line by way of an online browser or their app. 

With out insurance coverage, the station was advised it may price over $60,000 to interchange the tower — so Elmore did what he did not need to do, and arrange a crowdfunding marketing campaign on-line to attempt to elevate all or a few of that cash. 

“The city primarily does not have a voice,” Elmore mentioned — putting among the blame on the FCC’s denial of their request. “I am disillusioned within the determination, however I respect it,” he mentioned. “That is one thing we didn’t trigger or create — I can not assist it that thieves got here down there and robbed us blind.”Scripps Information reached out to the Jasper Police Division however did not instantly obtain a response concerning their ongoing investigation. It is unclear if detectives have any leads on a suspect or suspects, or what might need been the motive. 

“We will make it by this,” Elmore mentioned. “We will be again on the air as quickly as we are able to.”

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