In case you were wondering: KSL AM and FM are presently broadcasting "dead air" due to a power outage at Broadcast House, and ksl.com is down as well. KSL TV has also been affected by the power outage. Apparently they still have internet access, because updates are being posted on the KSL radio and TV Facebook pages.
AM & FM are both back on now, but KSL.com is still down. 1160 & 102.7 are temporarily broadcasting from the FM 100 studios on the second floor of Broadcast House. KLO 1430 is also off the air as of 5:00 PM, but not KBZN or The Wave. I know Capital's studios are also in downtown Salt Lake, so maybe that has something to do with KLO being off the air as well.
10 PM UPDATE: The power failure knocked out both the main and back-up power sources for KSL radio, TV and KSL.com--OUCH! All are back up and running now, although there seems to be some occasional issues with the web site not loading properly. KLO is back on the air as well.
In the end this incident isn't exactly a major deal, but there's an important takeaway that I see failing to be heeded over and over again. I don't know what continuity planning Bonneville has (and I'm sure they have one), but something obviously went wrong in this case. A good general rule is that you must live test your backup systems at least once a year, and preferably two or even three times. KSL has backup generators that should have prevented this from being an issue at all, but they failed. I've heard of this happening with alarming regularity at stations around the country. It's not that hard to do. At 2AM on Monday morning just have power to the building cut off and make sure the backups kick on like they're supposed to. Simply starting the generator and making sure it runs isn't enough. An analogy would be the national EAS tests that are occurring now. Weekly and monthly EAS (and before that EBS) tests have been going on for decades and work fine. The first time the country tested an actual national EAS activation it was a complete meltdown. There's no substitute for the real thing. All stations should make sure they don't have a false sense of security and are ready when something real crops up.
I also noticed that KUTR 820 was off the air yesterday afternoon at the same time KSL AM/FM and KLO were MIA. I'm not sure if all the outages were connected in some way, but it's a possibility.
Hopefully the KSL staff has learned a valuable lesson from this experience and will be better prepared in the future. I think it's funny that the outages were apparently triggered by a Mylar balloon getting ensnared in a high voltage power line, but I'm sure no one at Broadcast House was laughing. But speaking as a radio geek, it was definitely cool to see the videos of their studios that were posted on Facebook Saturday.
I remember July 4, 1976, when much of the state had a long blackout. KSL radio was on the air. They made a point of noting that they were running completely off of generators, both at the studio and at the transmitter.
It was things like this that gave KSL an aura to me of being better, special. That aura is long gone.
I wonder if KSL is still as prepared for an extended emergency as it was then. Or has the bean counters at DMC cut away a lot of the muscle?
Last Edit: Aug 5, 2019 6:59:06 GMT -7 by amanuensis
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Post by christopherjohn on Aug 5, 2019 23:58:27 GMT -7
Being around this business. You can have all sorts of backup plans but when stuff goes wrong it can really go wrong. I’m sure they have UPS backups in their building. But once those are exhausted with no generator, you are done. I have had that exact thing happen to me at my building. Our backup generator didn’t fire correctly on a hot summer day. Had to use portable generators to keep the crucial stuff on until the big one could be fixed. Here’s what funny is the damn thing was tested two days before. As for the triad generator, it could have been a number of things. I know KSL is very good at generator maintenance. Could have been something catastrophic, maybe a transfer switch burned up. Who Knows. You should see the backup systems they have on Farnsworth Peak. In fact just a few weeks ago I heard Farnsworth had to run for about 40 hours on Generator because of a issue with the power lines going up there. General public had no idea. They could actually take over from up at the site if they have to. It’s good to have backups but sometimes bad things happen. I feel for the engineering team over there. Props to them for dealing with that level of disaster. They are a bunch of great people.
Post by christopherjohn on Aug 6, 2019 1:46:51 GMT -7
Yup, put the building load on the generator. I also keep track of the UPS testing as well. They self test once a week and occasionally I will just cut the AC just to see how it goes. Most places do load testing when they test generators. A lot of transfer switches will test and load automatically and can give you a detailed report of what the status is.