The owner of a radio station in Middlesboro says they are off the air because their tower was vandalized.
Police arrested Joshua Lee on Monday for knocking down the tower. According to an arrest citation, part of a Dodge truck came off and got tangled in wires. Police used that piece of the truck to track down Lee, who told officers he owned the truck. After being arrested, Lee admitted to hitting the tower.
Frank Smith, the owner of WFXY, says the station went off the air around 3:45 p.m. Sunday. He went to look at the tower and found wires torn down and the antenna toppled.
“It’s devastating,” said Smith
Smith knew right away someone pulled the tower down.
“The force was so strong it pulled the tower up and over the fence just breaking the top part of the fence down,” said Smith.
Smith says the station he owns in Pineville, WANO, is still on the air.
WFXY could be off the air for two to three months.
“Right now, we’re in our two months of prime election advertisement which I’m losing,” said Smith.
Smith said not getting the advertisement money is a big financial hit.
“With no insurance, and it is hard to insure something like this, it’s my livelihood,” said Smith.
This is not the first issue on the property.
“We were in the process of putting cameras up here after another incident over the summer where someone got busted for growing marijuana in the field out here,” said Smith.
Police charged Lee with criminal mischief, failure to report a traffic accident, and failure to maintain insurance.
Now, Smith plans on working every day to get the station back on air. He estimates it will cost more than $75,000 to replace the tower.