Viewers accustomed to watching CBS affiliate KGAN TV2 using rabbit ears or other antennas have been left in the dark after a lightning strike Tuesday caused damage at the Cedar Rapids television station’s primary tower.
Over-the-air antenna users, Dish Network and USA Communications subscribers are unable to get a signal for KGAN due to the storm damage. Subscribers to Mediacom, ImOn and DirecTV are not affected by the outage.
Glen Callanan, KGAN general manager, said the lightning strike at about 10:30 a.m. caused serious damage to a transmission line feeding an antenna on the tower.
The transmission line also feeds Iowa Public Television’s KRIN antenna on the tower, resulting in a loss of KRIN’s over-the-air signal.
“This thing fried,” Callanan said. “We had no idea how bad until we could get somebody up there.
About 20 percent of viewers are affected, he said.
“About 80 percent of our viewers get our signal through a fiber feed, which is the cable TV providers and DirectTV,” Callanan said. “What is left is Dish Network, over-the-air viewers and some of the smaller carriers.”
Until the transmission line is repaired, possibly as early as this weekend, CBS network programming is available on channel 28.2. KGAN newscasts are available on the internet at cbs2iowa.com/watch.
Callanan said there has been no impact on the station’s advertising revenues.
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“As long as we are carrying programming on channel 28.2, we are OK so far,” he said. “We will certainly always base that on delivery.”
Callanan said the station is keeping advertisers and viewers up to date with postings on its website as well as social media.
“We are going to put up the images of the transmission line so people can see that we didn’t make it up,” he said. “We have crews there who have actually fixed the first portion of the line. We still have more to repair.”
Fox station KFXA TV28, which is an affiliate station of KGAN, is not affected by the outage.
This is not the first time KGAN has recorded a lightning strike outage.
In April 2010, a lightning strike caused an over-the-air signal outage that lasted for about 90 minutes. Dish Network and USA Communications subscribers also were affected at that time.