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Residents concerned about safety after radio tower’s lights go out

Posted at 9:05 PM, Aug 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-30 23:43:27-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Neighbors in one Wilson County community are concerned after the lights on a massive radio tower have gone out.

The tower, which residents say is around 800 feet tall, is located on Underwood Road in the Gladeville area. It has been there for decades. However, recently, one resident noticed it is not lit up at night.

“I think it’s dangerous,” said Henry Lutz. “You normally have six lights up there, and now there are no lights on the tower.”

Lutz called the Federal Communications Commission, but didn’t get much response.

He said planes are often seen flying above the neighborhood on the way to the Lebanon or Smyrna airports. Lutz worries with no lights to guide the pilots there could be dangerous consequences.

“Just like anything, you got to have lights to protect the tower and keep people from crashing into it, if they are flying.”

The tower is registered to Midwest Communications, Inc. in Wausau, Wisconsin. The company has 82 radio properties across the country, including WCJK 96.3 Jack FM, WJXA 92.9 FM, and WNFN 106.7 FM.

When NewsChannel5 reached out to the company’s CFO, Paul Rahmlow, he wasn’t aware the lights were off. He said he would notify an engineer and hoped to solve the problem quickly.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, all structures taller than 200 feet must be marked with tower lights or tower paint. The recommendations vary based on the location of the tower.

Lutz hopes the situation is fixed soon, and the lights come back on.

“As a citizen, I just want our community to be safer,” said Lutz.