A towering beacon that has become a Peninsula landmark and guided many pilots home during bad weather has transmitted its last radio signal. On Monday, October 1st, the 278 foot radio tower fell perfectly into a mass of tangled iron where it had stood since 1972 just off Kalifornsky Beach Rd. at the KSRM radio station studios. “We bought the tower used from KHAR in Anchorage and then moved it here from Solid Rock Bible Camp in 1972 and it was this month when it first went on the air from out here so it was exactly 40 years to the month that it’s been broadcasting here,” said John Davis, who was the stations manager in 1972 and now is the owner of KSRM radio group. According to Davis demolishing the tower was necessary due to rusting over the years from the inside out of the tubular metal, “The one we are erecting in its place is solid steel so there’ll be chance of rusting from the inside and it should be up in 3 or 4 days,” said Davis.
In less than 10 seconds from the time the final guy wire was released the former giant lay like a twisted pretzel on the ground. A lot of planning and engineering went into the drop to be sure it fell safely. Anchorage engineer Paul Jewusiak spearheaded the project and was happy with the results, “The tower crew did the bulk of the work and did a tremendous job of making sure it landed in a safe space and it couldn’t have gone any better. The weather cooperated and that was a big help. The last thing you want is to have wind on the day you have only two sets of guy wires holding the tower up and it blows it the way you don’t want it to go, so the weather was with us today but we wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t,” explained Jewusiak.
Bringing a tower down is not as easy as it looks and there are many variables said Jewusiak, “A tower isn’t meant to hold itself up it’s a guyed tower held up by wires so you release the guy wires to keep it in the direction you want it to go. It ends up folding on itself as it comes down and you want it to fold away from anything that it might damage and so that parts can be reused,” explained Jewusiak. The old tower ended up landing only 6 feet from where its replacement lay in wait to be erected, “Okay it was a little be closer than we planned but the bottom line was it didn’t damage anything and landed perfectly safe and we’re ready to go with new tower.” As to whether it’s easier to bring one down or put one up Jewusiak replied, “Well it took less than 20 seconds for the old one to come down, it’ll take several days to put the new one up so I’d have to say it’s easier to bring one down than put one up.”