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Lightning strike takes KCCK off the air

Station back to broadcasting by Monday

A song is readied in the KCCK studio in Kirkwood Community College’s Linn Hall. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
A song is readied in the KCCK studio in Kirkwood Community College’s Linn Hall. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A lightning strike during a storm Friday morning knocked radio station KCCK FM off the air for the weekend.

The jazz-oriented station, operated by Kirkwood Community College, ordered a replacement computer circuit board, which arrived Monday. Dennis Green, KCCK general manager, said the station returned to the air at about 10:30 a.m.

“Our transmitter has lightning protection, but in today’s circuitry everything is a computer,” Green said. “The circuitry is very sensitive and it’s not unheard of for circuits to get blown by lightning.

“Unfortunately, the circuit board it took out also tells you what other things may be at issue with the transmitter. We were just dead in the water for many hours.”

Lightning strikes have taken a toll on local radio and television stations in recent year.

KGAN TV in Cedar Rapids was knocked off the air in August 2018 when a transmission line feeding an antenna on station’s tower was damaged by lightning. The transmission line also fed Iowa Public Television’s KRIN antenna on the tower, resulting in a loss of KRIN’s over-the-air signal.

About 20 percent of KGAN’s viewers were affected. Dish Network and USA Communications subscribers also were unable to get a signal for KGAN due to the storm damage.

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