As the post-auction transition gets underway, many broadcasters are focused intently on getting equipment prices, conducting site surveys, filing for construction permits, and completing their FCC Form 2100 Schedule 399 paperwork.
That’s the typical to-do list for broadcasters impacted by the Spectrum Repack. But, there’s something else that has to be a high priority—booking the tower crews.
The reality is that hundreds of TV stations have the same finite 39-month window in which to complete their construction, but there are only a handful of tower crews qualified to do the installs. As demand surges, this shortage could lead to unforeseen bottlenecks and costly delays.
Considered one of the most dangerous jobs in America, tower crews generally risk their personal safety to climb tall towers and lift thousand-pound antennas into place. The field of choices narrows further when you factor in tower crews that have a good safety track record and experience doing high power broadcast TV tower work and reinforcing towers.
In our experience here at Dielectric, we estimate that there are between 7 and 11 tower crews that have good track records. And many of the larger TV groups have already locked in these qualified installers to handle the dozens of antennas their stations require across all 10 phases at once.
As a result, many of the good crew companies are already booked up, and have shut off the spigot because they don’t want to take on more business than they can safely handle.
We advise broadcasters that haven’t scheduled their installs yet to make it a priority to find qualified, safety minded tower crews. This way you won’t be stuck taking chances with inexperienced crews that could cause something catastrophic to happen at the tower site, and you’ll be able to sleep well at night.