Stations go off air, power down for tower improvements

CHAMPAIGN – One Champaign radio station went off the air for nearly three hours and another station temporarily reduced its power on Sunday in an effort to improve reception for people listening to National Weather Service broadcasts.

Ed Bond, engineer and producer at WDWS-AM and WHMS-FM, said work crews spent late Sunday morning and part of Sunday afternoon replacing the National Weather Service's antenna on top of the radio tower near Neil Street and Windsor Road.

The weather service uses the tower to broadcast warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information in East Central Illinois.

"The old stuff is coming down and a new transmission line is going up," Bond said on Sunday afternoon. "The goal is to increase the coverage of the National Weather Service broadcasts for people who listen to their weather radios."

WDWS temporarily went off the air and WHMS reduced its signal at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Bond said, to keep the work crews safe while they worked on the tower.

WDWS returned to the air at 2 p.m.

"We wanted to make sure we were broadcasting so people could listen to the Cardinals game that started at 2 p.m.," Bond said.

Both radio stations offered a reduced signal until the work was completed before sunset Sunday.

"This work has been in the planning stages for quite a while," Bond said. "I think we did a pretty good job being only off the air for two hours and 45 minutes."

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