KXJB should be famous
worldwide because of its transmitting tower
, the second tallest manmade structure
in the world. However, North Dakota
's television towers don't have the big money backing of such tourism
-hungry endeavors as the CN Tower
, Petronas Towers
, or Sears Tower,
so you've likely never heard of KXJB.
In addition to pure height, there's some history here, too. KXJB's giant 2060-foot tower was originally built in 1966, 38 miles northwest of Fargo, near the town of Galesburg. On the morning of February 14, 1968, the structure came crashing down as a Marine helicopter collided with the tower. All four occupants of the helicopter were killed, and the station's building was seriously damaged. CBS4 was off the air for 8 days while the station prepared its old 1085-foot tower to fill the giant's shoes. Meanwhile, a new 2060-foot tower was built on the Galesburg site, and within five months, KXJB was once again broadcasting from the world's second tallest structure.
Disaster struck the tower once again in 1997. On April 5, a brutal ice blizzard encased the tower in ice and pelted the structure with gusts of wind greater than 70 mph, causing the tower to collapse under the strain. Once again the transmitter building was heavily damaged. Having sold their shorter backup tower in 1991, KXJB was unable to bring back full service for a year and a half while yet another 2060-foot replacement was being built. In the interim, the station had to rely on microwave relays, other towers, and its cable partners in order to get its signal out. The new tower finally went up in August 1998.
By the way, you might be wondering what tower currently holds the top spot as the world's tallest manmade structure. Excluding underwater structures such as the enormous MARS TLP oil drilling platform, the award goes to... another North Dakota TV transmitter. KVLY's mast soars three feet higher than its fragile competition, and has been standing without incident since 1963.*
*It ought to be noted that Warszawa Radio's Konstantynow tower was the world's tallest structure from 1974 to 1991, but this "majestic" tower was not rebuilt after its 1991 collapse.