CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A combination of Friday's "derecho" storm and additional thunderstorms Sunday knocked West Virginia public television off the air statewide, said Bill Acker, director of broadcasting and technology for public broadcasting.
"At this point, there is no West Virginia public television in the state," he said Monday afternoon.
Later Monday, power was restored at WNPB in Morgantown, providing broadcasts to cable viewers in the Morgantown area, as well as feeds to translator towers in the Eastern Panhandle, he said.
Strong, sustained winds produced by Friday's storm knocked microwave dishes on the tower of WSWP in Grandview/Beckley out of alignment. That facility is where the signal for the two other West Virginia public TV stations originates.
Having worked at television stations in the Midwest, Acker said it is almost unheard of to have sustained winds powerful enough to knock microwave dishes out of alignment.
"This storm, obviously, was very strong," he said.
By Saturday, WVPB engineers had jerry-rigged a system to originate public TV broadcasts at WNPB Morgantown, then transmit it by fiber-optic cable to a tower in Weston and microwave the signal from there for broadcast on WPBY in Charleston-Huntington.
Transmission by fiber-optic cable was necessary because WNPB's antenna was destroyed in a plane crash June 22.
The jerry-rigged system worked for a day, until a second round of storms hit Sunday evening, knocking out the tower at Weston, as well as the fiber-optic link from there to Morgantown.
That knocked public TV off the air statewide around 9 p.m., he said.