COMMENTS ABOUT THE "TOWER DOGS" SPECIAL
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"Because we're so close to the day-to-day requirements for climber safety, we see everything through a magnifying glass, through a thicker lens of emotion than the general public that viewed the special."
October 22, 2008 - Ernest is proud of his drug free status for two years
Thank you, Jack, for seeing things the wrong way that night! I wasn't singing at all. I was trying to get the attention of my fellow ground workers at that company. I was up there for two hours calling on the radio and their cells to see if the rope was weaved through the booms for pulling the lines the right way. You probably saved my life.
I found out one was smoking coke in the shelter and the other one was selling it to him. When the owner jumped on me about that he didn't want to know anything about what went on. I didn't have a chance to tell him, because he was dedicated to the one in the shelter. As far as he knew the guy was clean from his addictions.
He was oblivious to the real situation going on. Everyone at the company was either selling or doing cocaine. Including: yours truly. We were out of control and you put my life back together.
Now I have the chance to be in the living rooms of millions of people. I've been clean since that job and my work is impeccable. I hope when the show airs soon you'll see that my singing is my only flaw.
Oh, I do enjoy a beer after a long job. I keep that to a minimum on school nights. Sorry you had to see me while at the end of my rope with my fellow workers. I'm not being a smartass Yankee when I say, thank you!!!!
September 30, 2008 - Ernie's acting debut and singing receive low marks
I started in the tower industry in 1981. My thoughts were: "it's about time we got a little recognition for what we do." I never dreamed it would come out like this (TOTALLY EMBARRASSING)! I see Ernie is still making a spectacle out of himself. I was managing a crew about two years ago in Greensboro, NC on the Cingular project.
Unfortunately, Ernie was on site yelling cursing and singing at the top of his lungs on the tower top. It was a night job in a fairly nice neighborhood. I had to tell the owner of his company he had to go. He was run off the project the next day. Now he has portrayed us as arrogant idiots with no education on national TV. With that kind of attitude he should be lucky he didn't have to pay them to be on site. Only my opinion. No slander just the truth!
September 19, 2008 - Most of his men were embarrassed by the presentation
The last time I saw a film crew on a site it was Bechtel videotaping their subcontractors. None of my men (5) saw the show but had heard of it. None were impressed. Most, in fact, were embarrassed. Maybe the network should‘ve hired NATE and OSHA as technical consultants. (tongue firmly in cheek ) I’ve been in this industry for 34 years, as an employee for 10 and 24 as an owner. I can only recall 3 instances of publicity, all in print media, and none were requested. I turned down a local TV news segment. We have a tough enough job as it is. Let the fishermen and oil riggers have all the fun they want.
To the young lady who lost her brother, my condolences. Even one loss is too many.
Paul J. Hammel and Assoc. Inc.
August 29, 2008 - Big Ern believes his crew is tame and climbers should start out with $18.00 per hour
For the love of God! I have not heard so much bull crap in all my life! A few of your writers that dog me on here are the first in the morning to wake and bake! Yeah, that's the safer crews! Should have filmed them, ay?
NBC didn't pick me to film, I picked them. Nikki needed a climber and I went to Alabama. After they started filming me they wanted more. In my six years of climbing and a few companies I've worked for; we were tame and are tame, compared to most crews out of the 100 or so workers I've met.
Almost all do something for the pain of our work and the pain of being on the road. I want to apologize to all bosses, co-workers, and spouses for having to deal with my past drug addictions. But, they all still loved my work because, I am a bad ass!
My quality of work is second to none. I've been clean for a while now and y work is even better. Every day on the job I do something I should've done differently, or make a mistake. It comes with the job.
The losers (you know who you are) that have worked with me over the years have taught me to be a great tower dog. How, you say? By doing things the exact opposite of what they did. My pictures have been seen all over the U.S. Just ask any carrier to grab them off their desk and show them to you. Yes, a few sites out of 1000s I've done may look bad, but 95% are great!
The sites that aren't are the ones where I wasn't allowed to have last word on. It's easy, my friends. Take pride in your work. I know 100s of great tower dogs. I'm just one of many. The special we were on showed things out of context.
Yes, it took all day to do a monopole stack. Crane got there at 7:00 a.m., finally made it to the top of the hill at 11:00 a.m., crane setup at 12:00 p.m.
Top of tower and crows nest got there and built at about 4:00 p.m. Don't forge the collar. And no daylight savings time. Oh, did I mention I was the only climber that day. Ninety nine percent of the time to be honest. We're a small company so you should lay off us.
Also, the comments I've read in forums and other places about Nikki are wrong, to say the least. I'll put her up against half the laze ground men I've worked with. And for sure she'll know more. Also, they were anonymous.
Let them come to one of my job sites and reveal themselves. She's a tough boss, but we'll still defend her. Oh, the tape drop. Yeah, my bad. One of the times I would've have done things differently.
Hey, five months of filming, had to find a couple of errors, ay? I'm cocky they say? My project managers make me feel that way! When they request us to work for them, and get rid of other less meticulous crews. If you do what they say and how they want it, you can't go wrong!
The "show" was to let people know about our jobs and to let them know we are severely underpaid! $14.00 an hour is an average. I get paid by the job. Sometimes I make more, and sometimes less.
I think we should all start at$18.00 and at least a dollar every six months of good work. Hazard pay would be nice! Winter rates! How high you work? How many states away from home, and how long on the road.
For now in reality land I'll stick with the view and camaraderie. By the way, since the show I now have two friends, Mikey! Peace to the real tower dogs. Love all who love me, and those who don't. We should be one!
Big Ern McKraken is my name!
August 13, 2008 - Wife enjoys coverage and hubby's profession
I've noticed a lot of women writing to you about the special on NBC. Although I personally thought it was good to see tower hands getting some publicity for the great work they do, I want to say that I know a lot of women that go to this web site to get information about the work their husbands such as mine do.
Thanks for your good coverage about tower workers and the work that they do to insure that everyone can use their cell phone. I'm proud of my husband's profession and know that he always works safely.
August 12, 2008 - Spouse says Ernie was not the best choice for Dateline
My husband, Mike, has been climbing towers for 8-plus years. I have been to many job sites and we converse daily about his jobs and what he does. The NBC special on "Tower Dogs" in my opinion didn't really show what they go through on a daily basis. Mike has to wear five layers of clothing during the winter season here in Michigan and hangs on the tower all day long without climbing down. Let us not even start on how dangerous this job can be some days. I don't know how he does it because I know I'm not that bad.
The show had Ernie as their main character, which in my opinion was not the best choice, and my husband worked with him for about a year. Although he is a nice person, I personally don't agree on how he chooses to act.
I believe they chose him because they knew had some drama for their show. I was really surprised and impressed with how a woman ran her crew but I think you can't really see the whole picture when you only do one special.
I really hope people don't think that that this show is really what all "Tower Dogs" are like or work. I know that safety is #1 priority.
August 12, 2008 - Eight-year-vet says NBC should have picked another crew
Okay, I watched the show since climbing towers has been my life for the last 8-1/2 years. I read through pretty much all of the reviews and agree with a lot on both sides. I'm glad to see Ernie actually has made a friend over the years. I worked with Ernie and I know he means well, but a he is a very hard person to work with. I keep seeing the word rappelling and it should say controlled descent, but it seems they are using a fisk descender. NBC definitely should have picked a more responsible safe crew...but then again, that wouldn't make for a very good TV show. Thanks for the time. Be safe, all my brothers.
August 11, 2008 - Thankfully, the public has let sleeping dogs lie
Our industry has had its 15 minutes of fame. NBC, Wireless Estimator, NATE and others all jumped on the bandwagon to get some publicity from the "Dogs" special. Americans have a short attention span - thankfully - and the non-event has been overshadowed by John Edwards' unsafe climbing in bed habits. Let's keep it that way. No more tower climber specials, please!
Fall River, MA
August 6, 2008 - Provides an unqualified "yes" to rappelling
I didn't record it, but it looks like he may have been. I thought I only saw one line going over the edge, but maybe someone who recorded it can take a closer look at it and let us know. An article here said that NATE issued an alert about rappelling, possibly because two men might have died from it this year. Although the program was pretty unrealistic, it has at least got the industry focusing upon safety.
August 4, 2008 - Viewer wants to know, was Cody rappelling?
When Cody was doing work on the water tower and had to get over the edge, was he rappelling? It went by too quickly for me to tell. It looked pretty dangerous to me. Was he safe while going over the edge?
Sioux City, IA
August 2, 2008 - One survey finds: Didn't see it or didn't get upset
I think Wireless Estimator is correct in saying we might be too close to tower climbing to think how the show is viewed by the rest of the country. Here's a suggestion you might try. I asked six people while I was at a zoning meeting if they had seen the Dateline program. Not one of them had seen it. I know that my neighbor had seen it because I asked her to look at it, but she came away from the program with no really negative feelings. She did say that she didn't realize how dangerous the job was and for the first time actually realized what a cell tower looked like.
August 1, 2008 - Reputations tarnished throughout the country
My husband has been in the tower industry for just over eight years. He was very excited when he heard about this show because he thought the men and women in his industry would finally get recognition for the dangerously hard work they do. What a disappointment!
"Tower Dogs" showed the world a stereotypical tower crew and did nothing but harm to the real-life reputations of tower workers everywhere across the country.
I can honestly say that safety is the #1 issue for any tower company. They have safety meetings constantly and have to be certified to do CPR. I didn't hear or see them mention any of that on that show. Just checking and throwing out equipment is not enough.
Bottom line here is, I want to hear a statement from NBC admitting they had no idea what the Tower Industry is about. I refuse to believe they did any type of research before they picked what company/crew to follow to do their show about.
I also do not feel they focused on the families. I worry constantly about my husband, as do our children. They did not show the true pressure of this type of job. Showing views from the top of the tower isn't enough. My husband actually takes pictures when he's up there and shows them to me when he gets home. These workers are constantly out of town and missing out on some of the best years of their lives to bring businesses and everyday people the opportunity to communicate with one another.
Without them, who would build these towers? Who would maintain them? Where would the cell phone industry be without them? They work long, difficult hours and deserve respect. I hope NBC has the common sense and courtesy to either apologize or do it over RIGHT.
On behalf of my husband, Tower Foreman Hubert "Scoob" Lykins and his co-workers,
July 31, 2008 - Ernie says he was talking about skills, not his temperament
Sorry, what I was trying to say is that I'm a "bad-ass/tower worker". The guys who taught me the tower business like Aaron F, Matt D, Jimmy C, Johnny K, Mike T, Jimmy H, Troy L, and lots more are the best in the business. Thanks for the support.
July 31, 2008 - Say cheese and drink coffee when the camera's on
They call that a show, what a joke!
My hubby has been in the industry for over eight years and is now running five crews as a Field Operations Manager. He watched the show and said they basically showed nothing that really goes on.
Yeah, they climb towers and drink...but there is so much more to it than that. How about stacking guyed towers or self supporters over 200 feet?
Monopoles are the easiest towers to stack, there really isn't anything to it right? How about taking down a tower? How about running all the equipment up the tower, coax, antennas or using a gin pole?
Yes, it's just as dangerous to climb a tower, which most of the scenes showed, but when you're working on a tower to do more than just replace an antenna or jumpers that's when things get hairy. Personally, I don't watch my husband do his job, I've only been on site once or twice and that was enough for me but he loves what he does and wouldn't change it for the world!
NBC must not have really thought that other "Tower Dogs" would be watching the show. They need TLC or the Discovery Channel to pick up on a crew or two and do a series over a year and see what it's really like to work in all conditions like rain, snow, ice, wind (or all four at once here in MN or the upper Midwest), heat, everything and then everyone will REALLY see what goes on and people will get a better understanding about the industry!
This show just showed a gist of what really goes on. They could have done some better editing or followed a different crew for the audience to get a better understanding about the nation's #1 MOST DANGEROUS JOB! Heck, if I had a film crew following me around knowing that it would probably be aired for everyone to see (including OSHA), I would make sure safety is our #1 priority like always, and maybe, just maybe, lay off the alcohol while the cameras were around so I wouldn't look like such a dumb ass!
July 30, 2008 - Do you think about oil well drillers after filling your tank?
The tower business has its good and bad companies like any other industry. So why would you not expect to find people and companies that do things incorrectly?
If there are poor companies out there, it will be noticeable in the type of work that they do. Is that no different than car mechanics or any other profession?
If you're safe and you get the job done it really doesn't matter if you have a couple of rough around the edges guys doing it. The main thing is was it done safely, correctly and on time? That's what the customer wants.
Some people will want you to believe that everybody is so professional in this business and that the "Tower Dogs" crew gave the business a bad name. Visit one of the Yahoo tower forums and you'd be amazed at what goes on.
But just because some of the people that post messages are without a doubt as loony as you can get, even talking about their drug/alcohol use in public, that doesn't mean that everybody that belongs to those groups is the same way.
It's no different than tower companies. The good ones will be recognized for what they can do. It's nice to be concerned about what the general public thinks, but the last time I checked they weren't the people that signed paychecks.
When was the last time you thought about how oil well drillers spend their nights after work after filling your tank at $4.25 a gallon? If they had heavy fatalities would you be willing to pay $4.75 a gallon to get more qualified people that took safety more seriously and have on-site supervision to make sure that safety requirements are met? Would the general public?
You might go for the increase, but the general public couldn't give a damn.
July 29, 2008 - Would welcome "Big Ern" back on his crew any time
Ernie Hart "A Drunk", I think not. I know Ernie very well. I've worked with Ernie, prior to his debut on Dateline NBC. We in this industry work away from our families and friends for weeks, sometimes months at a time. We work day in and day out with the same guys; tensions run high and sometimes tempers flare. Yeah, and occasionally we go out and have a drink.
NBC followed that crew on and off for several months. I'm sure if a camera crew were to follow you around for that long, there would be things about you that people would be judging you on. So, unless you are Jesus, who are all of you to so harshly judge one individual from what you have seen on television. Shame on you. (It's only TV).
What is so wrong about going out and having some drinks with our co-workers after a hard day's work? Ernie never came to work drunk, despite what others here have implied. I would gladly have Ernie back on my crew, he was always the first one up on the tower and the last one down. He is a hard worker and takes pride in his work. He is truly a "Diamond in the rough". Oops, was that a NATE video reference.
Let's face it, do you really think that NBC spent all of that time and money to pander to the 9,500 tower workers out there in the workforce? (Probably not). It is my belief that they produced the show for the millions of people in America that haven't a clue on who or what out there makes their TV's, radios and cell phones work. There are many reality shows out on the tube that make millions of dollars a year for the networks, and if there a chance of them tapping into some of that money, they need to make it as interesting as possible to capture the audience. And there is no one that I know could make it more interesting than "Big Ern".
NATE is a wonderful organization and has done a lot for the tower industry and they are to be commended. I support NATE and their mission. So, instead of beating down this "Dawg" that was intended for the entertainment of the general public, let's stand behind NATE whose voice has and will continue to be the voice of the tower worker to make this a safer occupation.
July 29, 2008 - Betting on industry viewing "Dogs" if it becomes a series
I'll bet that if some channel ever picks this up as a series, many people would be watching it all the time, even though they think it is far from accurate. I have a brother that's been a homicide detective for almost 15 years, and whenever the cop shows are on he's always watching them.
Of course, he always has to point out the mistakes in them, but he does say that some of them were fairly accurate.
July 28, 2008 - Believes it would be best to let sleeping "Tower Dogs" lie
NATE's campaign to let the news media know about how upset they are with the show may not be such a great idea. Even though there were a lot of people that did see the show, most of America didn't see the show.
So why give the industry more negative publicity and talk about all of the things that the tower workers did wrong?
All they are doing is adding fuel to the fire instead of letting it die out.
If they wanted to get some good PR out of it they shouldn't have condemned Dateline, but said that they were happy to see that safety was frequently discussed on the show, but it was not always being observed…and then point out some of the errors…that we all agree were there.
They could have taken the lemons they were handed and made lemonade.
July 27, 2008 - Regular tower work isn't sexy enough for prime time
I agree that it didn't show the best side of the industry, but it's doubtful that the day-to-day operations of cell site construction would ever make the light of day on TV.
Putting on a connector isn't sexy, although depending upon how many times it has been poorly wrapped could be the dirtiest job in America.
A full two minutes of showing someone pulling their hair out while trying to locate close-out documentation? Heated discussions about not having charge slips to go with an expense report?
A site bid walk where all of the questions put to the client's CM ends in, "I don't know. I'll check on it!" A Cadweld mold being opened with a drum roll only to find out it didn't take?
Most of these events would be great for "The Frustration Channel," but not necessarily prime time TV.
How many times have we heard from people in other occupations say, "I could write a book about what goes on here!" Perhaps they could, but it would never be accepted by a publisher unless it had the ingredients that "Tower Dogs" had, conflict and danger.
July 26, 2008 - Says Ernie's a hard worker and didn't show up to work drunk
I know Ernie Hart and I know the tower industry after working in it for the last ten years. Ernie represents a lot of guys out there. He has the job that nobody wants. He is not a project manager, construction manager, inspector, field engineer, or God forbid the dreaded RF engineer who sits at a desk all day. He is one who has to go up the tower every day, first thing in the morning. If it's cold, hot, or just a Monday, everyone is waiting on him to get up there and get it done.
All the deadlines and due dates come down on him, and he is always ready to climb up there and do it, no matter what it takes. Is he the safest climber in the industry, probably not, but not much different than most of the people out there doing the work. Contrary to popular belief, he is a hard worker and he does do a good job. There was a lot of editing and spin put on the show to make it more dramatic. I just want everyone to know that ERNIE DIDN'T SHOW UP TO WORK DRUNK, the crew didn't work the day after "The Bar Scene".
July 25, 2008 - Opposes NATE's reply to "Tower Dogs" concerning training
I don't know why it was necessary for you to include the entire NATE press release. It was a cheap shot to get some publicity out of this deal even though they were featured in the NBC program. It sounded like they weren't happy with the amount of time they were given.
They said that companies should only use qualified contractors and they knocked Nikki's company because she had some equipment that the GC made her get rid of.
What do they think happens in an inspection? You find stuff and you get rid of it. You're supposed to do that every day because equipment can be damaged every day.
NATE wasn't at the inspection so how do they know the circumstances? So if they are trying to lead people to believe that this is a yahoo subcontractor that doesn't meet the high standards of NATE contractors, then why did the GC who is a NATE contractor even hire them in the first place if he didn't feel they were capable???
I'm not defending the subcontractor because I also had some concerns after viewing the show.
But what really made me laugh is this statement from NATE:
"One of the subcontractor's crewmen walked off the job, putting the team behind schedule because he was the only person trained and qualified. When evaluating a subcontractor it is important to ensure that all members of the team are properly trained so that the team isn't hampered if one person becomes unavailable."
Whoever wrote this has never run tower crews. What job doesn't go off schedule when someone drags up, even if you have someone that can handle their work? And what company has never had someone leave in the middle of the night or the middle of the day?
Now it sounds like that they want all members of the "team" to be cross trained. Did NATE forget that they told OSHA that tower climbers aren't ready to be trained for tower rescue unless they've been with a company for a year?
There are some people that shouldn't get within a foot of sweep gear and there are people who should never operate a hoist no matter how much training they've had, but are good at everything else and are some of the most talented workers in the business.
It's nice that NATE is looking out for the welfare of our customers.
As you all do, we do work for companies that require certifications for the work that is going to be done by the person that is doing it…not for every one on the job site. We don't need NATE suggesting to them that everybody should be cross trained.
Sorry for the rant.
7/25/08 - "Dogs" is not a business piece by Mad "Tower Dog" Jim Cramer
I believe your article correctly defined it as a "slice of life" piece. I don't believe it was supposed to be anything other than that. It wasn't a documentary, and it wasn't a primer on how to build towers. It wasn't a safety film, and it certainly wasn't a business piece by Mad "Tower Dog" Jim Cramer letting viewers know how they can squeeze profits from antenna and line subcontractors.
It wasn't a Tennessee travelogue and it surely wasn't a Betty Ford Clinic abstinence special.
It was about tower climbers. A unique profession that will never be accused of being construction choir boys. Granted, you could have found a better crew, but that would be like replacing Seinfeld's Soup Nazi with Julia Childs. I don't think, "No bon appetite for you!" would have audiences clamoring for more the following week.
It's only TV, folks. Don't take it so seriously. Take safety seriously and when there are no fatalities or serious injuries, "Tower Dogs" will no longer have the audience that we created because we're currently not safe.
7/25/08 - If there is a reality series, they'll be riding the profit and loss line
I watched that "show" from start to finish. I came away very disappointed in the way Dateline let TV hype and sensationalizing cloud the profession. I am a retired cell tower construction supervisor, (1994) and I can tell you if I had a "hot dog" alcoholic like that Earnest guy show up on a site of mine, he would be fired before his truck was turned off. None of my crews ever came to work smelling of or under the influence of alcohol. They knew it meant immediate dismissal, no questions asked. That might be an accepted way of life in some companies, but not where I worked. Safety before profit always!
I agree completely with the other professionals here that have named the various safety "short cuts" that were plainly visible. The job is hard enough with the safety issues, let alone partying and TV hype. Yes, I can see a reality series coming that will probably include tower companies that are riding the profit and loss line. Solvent companies would not put up with any of that.
If you took out all the stupid commercials, and all the off-the-clock soap opera dialog, and filled the time with real-time tower construction work and actual iron flying and assembly from raw to completed site, now that would be a show the public might appreciate the next time they use their cell phone. Sure, mostly the people in the business would understand the technical procedures, but don't sell the public short. A lot of laymen and women saw right thru the attempt to put a TV hype and spin on a serious career.
My heart goes out to the families that have lost a loved one to this profession. I am thankful that I never had a fatality on any of my crews on the Wisconsin build. It takes a very dedicated person to come into, train for, and commit to a difficult but rewarding job.
7/25/08 - Bird dog a professional crew next time
I believe the show should have followed a crew around that was more professional. This show was a slap in the face to the tower industry in my opinion. I also believe that NBC should, in the future, consider following a company around that stresses safety and the well being of there employees. The show was entertaining to the younger, 18+ viewers, but not to the experienced "Tower Dog" who takes his job seriously. The show was a very good idea, but very misinterpreted.
East Syracuse, NY
7/24/08- Florida construction manager says it pandered to a general audience
Unfortunately, having come out of the broadcast industry many years ago I can tell you the #1 rule is: "If it bleeds it leads." Obviously, the whole production was tweaked to pander to a general audience.
1-A cute blonde single mom, having to parent a hulking galoot that I would not let mow my yard much less climb for me.
2-Young kids, 19 and 20-somethings, climbing into the face of dangerous situations?
3-The wild drinking?
The whole thing was a big bread and circuses/ NASCAR event designed to attract people to the screen to see if anyone fell.
It may turn out to be a big recruitment tool ...if you want 20-year-old high school dropouts with no sense of mortality.
It was a "soon-to-be" reality show, not a look at the industry.
Construction Manager - North Florida
7/24/08 - Deceased's sister appreciated the look at the safety side of the piece
I am interested in making comments on the program that aired on Monday, July 21, 2008, "Dateline: Tower Dogs". I am sure that your invitation to make comments was probably meant for those in your industry, however, since I have been visiting your site for the last few months I would like to weigh in on the subject of this broadcast.
First, I have to preface all of my remarks by informing you that I may be a bit biased in my viewpoints because I happen to be the next of kin to the fourth death of 2008, William E. Bernard, Jr. He left us on April 17, on a tower in Frisco, NC. My brother had been in the industry for over 20 years and was proud of his work.
Second, I have to say that I enjoyed the production, for the most part. I found that what I saw as the interaction of the crew was what I had been told by Bill. He hated being on the road so much but truly enjoyed the freedom of the job and the "sight from the height of a tower" (his words). I felt that airing the bar scene and getting drunk was a little soap opera-ish and was unnecessary to the profile of the industry.
Third, I thought the portrayal of the young men in the business was a bit too much for those watching that might be considering this line of work.
There are too many young people nowadays looking for that next extreme adventure and I think that this portrayal may encourage those with questionable outlooks to try this as a career.
Fourth, I appreciated the look at the safety side of the job. Many of my family members had no idea what Bill went through on a daily basis and they all watched the show and were amazed and awed at the issues each of you face on the tower. I have always understood that this industry is "unforgiving", but this program really brought that home.
Many of my family ended the evening in tears, but had a greater understanding of what this job truly entails. Safety is the number one concern in your industry and it should be. Safety should be at the forefront in every considered job or task of that job on a tower site. I understood these conversations with my brother and he always stressed that if a man on his crew were acting outside the guidelines he would remove them from the task at hand.
Fifth, and most important, I would urge anyone in your industry to discourage the makers of this production from pursuing the idea of selling this as a reality television series. Your job is too intense to have someone hanging a camera over them to satisfy the curiosity of the common onlooker.
As has been stated, safety is the most important part of your industry and I do not feel that cameras in the field with tower workers equates to safety.
The industry has had 66 deaths in the last 5 ½ years without any outside influences. Don't make the mistake of adding a camera as an outside influence to bring more pain and heartache to those who love your industry workers.
I would like to thank whoever produced the dedication for including those we have lost. Each of those men would have also appreciated the recognition from the industry they worked in. Thank you for allowing me to put in my comments.
Sister to William E. Bernard, Jr.
7/23/08 - Appreciates recognition industry is getting
As a former tower dog and electrical utility lineman, and now an inspector who oversees activities involving cell towers, including raw builds, I was somewhat offended by the program that aired July 21st. Mostly by the tower dog named Earnest.
First thing, this guy would not be allowed to work on any of my job sites with his drinking habits. First smell of alcohol on his breath in the morning and knowing he had been out drinking all night (no less with his boss) would be enough for me to run him off my job site. He in my opinion is an accident waiting to happen. I also noticed several safety infractions during the show as well.
For one, I noticed Doug Delaney was not wearing his hardhat when he was hit with the falling rope. Did not see tag lines on the monopole section being set and most of all, Nikki Collins telling her workers to do the job fast and quick is a sure recipe for disaster. I think special attention towards the tower owners and especially the cell carriers should have been brought to the forefront. All too often cost over safety is the major goal for the customer. They always say, " We can get it done cheaper omewhere else".
I am glad our industry is getting the recognition it deserves. Not many people realize what went into their being able to pick up a cell phone and talk at their convenience.
Wireless Site Infrastructure Division
7/22/08 - He's not looking to audition, but says he takes the job seriously
I am a Tower Climber and also a Supervisor, and in watching your special on "Tower Dogs," it had me very concerned. Watching these individuals work in the manor that they do is killing this industry. That's old school tower climbers. I watched and video taped the entire special. Myself, and many other climbers have said the same thing, "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?"
I really thought that the special was going to speak about what we face and the risks we take. Instead it took a bunch of guys traveling around the country building cells sites and drinking after work to get bombed. Why do you think there are accidents?
Accidents happen because of one thing, not paying attention. I've worked with a lot a climbers. Some of which are the best in this business to the worst. Sorry to say, in this business, those individuals that you filmed were the worst. I am not saying that my company or crew is the best in the country, but what you placed on your special has made many climbers embarrassed. I and many other climbers take our jobs very seriously. Safety in this business, comes first. I don't feel and many others that I spoke with all said the same thing, Those guys were not safe.
I'm not looking to be a STAR by writing this to you. Like I said, I'm just concerned.