Feder: Flooding at Willis Tower knocks TV, radio signals off the air

  • A power outage caused by flooding at Willis Tower wreaked havoc on the broadcast signals of several Chicago television and radio stations this week.

    A power outage caused by flooding at Willis Tower wreaked havoc on the broadcast signals of several Chicago television and radio stations this week.

 
 
Updated 5/20/2020 6:11 AM

A power outage caused by flooding at Willis Tower wreaked havoc on the broadcast signals of several Chicago television and radio stations this week, Robert Feder writes.

The South Loop skyscraper, known until 2009 as Sears Tower, was closed for a second day Tuesday after the weekend rainfall caused the Chicago River to overflow into the lower level of the building and submerge a Com Ed substation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The resulting loss of power shut down the broadcast antennas atop the 110-story tower.

WBBM-Channel 2's signal was disrupted by the flooding, according to Derek Dalton, president and general manager of the CBS-owned station. While the outage did not affect cable subscribers, those with DirecTV were patched into the programming of New York sister station WCBS for a time.

WTTW-Channel 11, the Window to the World Communications public TV station, remained off the air (and off some cable systems, including AT&T U-verse). The station directed viewers to watch WTTW live via Comcast and YouTube TV or to stream on-demand at wttw.com/watch and the PBS/WTTW video app.

Weigel Broadcast lost broadcast transmission for its Chicago stations, including CW affiliate WCIU-Channel 26, The U, MeTV, Heroes & Icons, Decades and Bounce.

Radio outages included WLS 94.7-FM. The Cumulus Media classic hits station was off the air from 3 to 11:30 a.m. Monday before transmission resumed from a secondary site at the former John Hancock Center.

Get the full report, and more Chicago media news, at robertfeder.com.

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