Spliced Cable Knocked WHAS-TV Off the Air

WHAS-TV news director Mark Neerman said he got a call about 9 p.m. last night with terrible news.

The news was that the power was out and the station was off the air. No one knew how long it would take to fix, and the 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts were in jeopardy. Fortunately, the station was dark so no one had to answer the barrage of phone calls from viewers that were surely coming in. It was after 11 before engineers were able to get the station back on the air, but that was using a generator. There wasn’t enough power to do a newscast.

What happened? Neerman said this morning that he’d learned a transformer blew right outside of the Chestnut Street building. There was supposed to be an LG&E backup, but that failed.

“On top of that our generator didn’t work. That may have been blown when the LG&E initial surge hit. It didn’t work. LG&E is out there now trying to figure out why,” he said.

Neerman said this morning that they’d discovered “the smoking gun, a spliced old LGE lead cable outside the federal building that also feeds our transformer failed causing the larger failure. That lead to the surge in the building.”

He said he didn’t know if nearby buildings were affected, as most are closed at night.

During the outage, he said staff members were working online from home, updating the actual news and informing Facebook followers about what was going on.

It was fortunate, in a way, that it was a relatively slow news day and that ABC was airing the dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice.  Had it happened down the street at WDRB, they were airing a live World Series game. Neerman said the station will announce a date soon to re-air the missed programs.


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