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Jul 26 2007

WPXI: Studios almost ready


Just a little over a month to go before WPXI-TV (11) officially moves into its new Summer Hill home. Drivers along I-279 at the McKnight Road exit have probably noticed the familiar “11” logo and the NBC peacock recently installed on the building’s town-hall type structure. The station spent $29.7 million converting the once-vacant lot into a state-of-the-art broadcast facility.

In order to be a good neighbor, the station opted to keep its present 800-foot antenna tower in operation at Fineview. If the station had moved the tower, it would have had to build a 900-foot tower to compensate the same signal quality. Another tower in the area did not sit well with residents who already contend with WPGH-TV’s and KDKA-TV’s towers nearby. Although the tower (which also holds antennas for WSHH-FM and WWSW-FM) and a few small service buildings will definitely remain at “Television Hill”, some speculate that the current WPXI studios, in service since sign-on in 1957, will be demolished.

Another issue that didn’t sit well with the “new neighbors” were arrivals and departures of the stations helicopter, “Chopper 11”. That was later quelled when WPXI announced that the chopper was in the air usually less than one hour a day and that it is kept safely in a hangar at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin.

If all goes well, the first official broadcast from the new studios will take place at 6:30 PM on Labor Day following the annual Jerry Lewis telethon.

Full details in the Tribune-Review.