A visit to the KMFA Radio Tower

~ posted by Angelica Davila, KMFA summer Programming Intern

On Wednesday, my third day on the job, KMFA technical guru Phil Pollack took Adrianne Williams and me (we’re the new KMFA interns) to tour the radio station’s broadcast tower. We’d all seen them from afar—the red and white latticed structures somewhere out in the hilly distance—but today Phil would take us up close and personal.

View of the tower from the car

We all piled into a hot car and braved the sunshine as we headed out to the wilds of Westlake Hills. After maybe half an hour of winding roads and great views, we arrived. Standing outside a grey block of a building, we were right at the foot of our tower, towering over us at about 1100 feet. Around us were several other structures, belonging to various T.V. and radio stations, with their cables stretching out into the foothills and their lights blinking above us.

1100 feet of tower

Inside the building, an A/C unit roared loudly while copper pipes and metal coils ran all along the ceiling. Front and center was our KMFA control center. Neatly separated into 4 large metal boxes, the transmitters blinked continuously while Phil explained each knob and button. We had two transmitters: the main and the auxiliary, as well as what we  dubbed the “miscellaneous rack,” which contained all the communication equipment connecting this far-off building to our downtown studio. The rest of the boxes, resembling large metal cabinets, contained the power supply that keeps us up and running.

Sarah, Adrianne, Phil, and Angelica

Behind the KMFA transmitters were others belonging to the various stations we shared the tower with, each with a slightly different set up. We peeked briefly at each cluster of boxes, sizing up the “competition,” and exited out the back door.

We were now behind the building and directly in front of our tower. Ignoring the high-voltage warnings, we marched up to its foot and tried to catch a glimpse of its very tip, squinting and stumbling back a little with every new attempt. We laughed and shuddered at the idea of climbing it, and then took a moment to soak in the view.

Adrianne reminds us to be careful around the tower

It was so peaceful and beautiful…but also very hot, so, with a little more knowledge rattling around in our brains, we hopped back in our cars and headed back to town.

~posted by Angelica Davila, KMFA summer Programming Intern

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