It was the spring of 1962. WRBL and WTVM joined forces to have a TV tower built that would serve both stations. The FCC approved the construction of the tower in Cusseta.
When it was finished, the tower rose to a height of 1,749 feet, the tallest manmade structure in the world at the time. It was acknowledged as such by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Former WRBL General Manager Don Nahley was an account executive in those days. He says they took clients out to the site to celebrate the accomplishment.
Nahley says the station management quickly learned that one of the hazards of having a tower that tall was the formation of ice on the guy wires in the winter time. Sometimes the ice would build up on the wires and fall in large chunks. Nahley recalls, “One fell on the tower building below. Fortunately nobody got hurt, but I actually believe it broke through the roof on one occasion.”
And how would you like to be the one who changed the light bulbs on top of the tower? Nahley says, “I’ve talked to the guys that have been up there and they say that thing will waver about a foot or so. That sounds like a little bit, but when you’re up there 1,750 feet that’s a long way!”
If you ever drive near Cusseta, you can see the tower for miles. There are actually two towers fairly close to each other. The second one was built in 2005 and it eclipses the height of the WRBL tower by about 15 feet.
For comparison sake, the WRBL tower is 295 feet taller than the Empire State Building in New York City.