BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Eyes were on the skies around Television Hill on Tuesday as the antennas for three local TV stations, including WJZ, were removed from the iconic candelabra tower in north Baltimore.
Just after sunrise, crews began unbolting the old antennas on top of the 1,000-foot tower before a specially-designed Skycrane helicopter lowered them to the ground.
Nearby, several curious Baltimoreans watched the work unfold.
“I was watching the news, and I knew that they were doing work on the tower… and when I heard it I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve got to get up there and see it,'” Allen Burris said.
The project was required by the FCC as part of a nationwide effort to create more space in the airwaves for companies like cell phone carriers.
The big day! The famous @wjz candelabra tower gets new antennas. A giant Skycrane helicopter will lift off the old and carry up the new gear over the next couple of days. LIVE coverage on the air and in https://t.co/u618G6m0o5 @SoniaDasgupta @MartyBassWJZ pic.twitter.com/hJ3pxg0cxT
— Erik Lee (@erikleeWJZ) July 21, 2020
Jean Kiddoo, the chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, drove to Baltimore to see the project for herself.
“Out of the 978 nationwide, this is one of the most exciting because it’s three different stations on a very complicated tower,” she said.
Replacing the antennas has been a project three years in the making, WJZ Director of Broadcast Operations Peter Conkling said.
“It’s been an exhilarating project up until this point,” he said. “It’s even more unbelievable to watch it in person… You’re seeing a helicopter land in your backyard and a helicopter taking off this equipment down, putting this new equipment up. It is just unbelievable.”
Some major work happening today on TV hill as the antennas for three local stations are being replaced 1000ft in the air. pic.twitter.com/rxqHPOVK8O
— Sean Streicher (@SeanStreicher) July 21, 2020
Once the old antennas are completely removed, crews will then install new antennas.
After the work is done, those on the outer limits of the WJZ viewing area should get better over-the-air reception.