12 facts about the KSAT 12 tower

SAN ANTONIO – When you think of KSAT 12, you may think of your favorite anchors and reporters, or maybe even our logo. But if you were to drive to our station, the thing that might stand out to visitors is the giant red tower in our parking lot. It doesn’t typically get much hype, but it’s an important part of our history and helps us bring you the news every day.

So, in honor of this broadcasting behemoth, here are 12 facts about the KSAT tower:

1.) The KSAT broadcast tower stands just steps outside the television station on St. Mary’s Street just north of downtown.

2.) Before the Tower of the Americas was built in the 1960s, the KSAT broadcast tower was one of the tallest structures in San Antonio.

3.) The KSAT tower was manufactured in the 1950s by Dresser-Ideco, a company that made oil rigs. It was built to broadcast radio and television signals. The first call sign associated with the tower was KONO.

4.) Today, it’s used primarily for electronic news gathering and support functions for station operations, although it is still fully capable of providing an over-the-air broadcast signal should the need arise.

5.) The massive steel structure stands 550 above ground and extends 15 feet below ground with reinforced concrete feet for support. Each of the three feet has a 20-foot base.

6.) The tower has to be registered by the FCC and approved by the FAA because it is more than 200 feet tall.

7.) The red and white sections are painted according to FAA policy for high visibility to pilots during daylight hours. There is a color chart published by the FAA with color chips to indicate how much paint fade is allowed. It must also be lit up at night.

8.)  The tower was originally outfitted with a broadcast antenna that weighed four tons! The same antenna is still in place and in use, but it’s now only half of its original size. 

9.) Because of structural loading there is a finite amount of objects that can be fastened to or placed on the tower.

10.) Among the objects found on the tower are a remote controlled high definition video camera, 1 super high frequency transceiver, 1 microwave transceiver, 4 six foot parabolic antennas, a UHF 2-way antenna, 2 TV broadcast receive antennas, 4 sector microwave receive antennas and 10 UHF antennas which were recently added for the City of San Antonio.

11.) The tower is constructed of “black” steel, which means it is not galvanized and subject to rust. For this reason it must be repainted every five years. That’s no minor undertaking!

12.) The view from the top of the tower is breathtaking. You can see for miles in all directions of our beautiful city. 

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