Vandals topple four 197-foot ArizonaAM Towers AM guyed towers

March 29, 2006 - Vandals took a torch and toppled four 197-foot radio towers that were part of a seven-tower AM array in Black Canyon City, AZ, authorities said today. The guyed structures were heavily damaged, ripping up ground screens as they collapsed.

A Yavapai County sheriff's office spokeswoman, Susan Quayle, said the vandalism occurred late Tuesday at the Krazy Horse Ranch Polo Club, which is west of Interstate 17 in the community 30 miles north of Phoenix.

The polo club's ranch manager heard the towers crash and reported the incident about 10 p.m., but there were no injures to people or horses at the ranch, Quayle said.

The Spanish AM station, KMIA (710), is owned by Entravision Communications Corp., a Sacramento firm that operates a string of Spanish radio and TV stations throughout California and the Southwest. It recently started broadcasting ESPN Deportes, a sports-talk format.

Station manager Tom Duran said there was no immediate indication when the station will be back on the air, explaining that it could be several weeks.

He would not say whether the damage may be linked to recent immigration unrest throughout the nation, but said the FBI would be asked to investigate.

The towers, which were constructed in the late 1990s, pitted some residents against the radio station and a lawsuit was brought by several Black Canyon City homeowners opposed to the antenna farm, requesting that the station remove the structures.

The opponents won a key ruling in late 2000 when the Arizona Court of Appeal validated a referendum seeking to put the issue before Yavapai County voters; however, they were defeated in their quest to have the towers removed when voters approved the guyed towers in November 2002.

Ironically, Entravision's EVP/CFO John DeLorenzo told a Bank of America analyst audience earlier today that Entravision might divest itself of stations in markets where the group owns only radio stations that are not complemented by TV broadcast stations. Phoenix is one of those markets where KMIA-AM may be on the block - once the structures are rebuilt.