The top story on WEAU‘s 10 p.m. newscast last night, which aired on a digital subchannel of rival station WQOW in addition to streaming on WEAU’s website, was the dramatic collapse of the western Wisconsin NBC-affiliate’s broadcasting tower.

“It was gut-wrenching,” said Ron Wiedemeier, WEAU’s chief engineer, in describing his reaction to the tower collapse, which left wreckage strewn in three different directions.

WEAU provided a eulogy for the tower, which has been around since 1966, during the 10 p.m. newscast. “We had great pride in it,” said WEAU engineer Ron Viste, the station’s longest-running employee.

While the station works to rebound from the collapse of their 35-year-old landmark, the incident works to highlight the ways in which recent technology has significantly changed the way WEAU reaches its community. Less than a day after the 2,000-foot tower was reduced to 25 feet worth of wreckage, WEAU was back on the air thanks to online streaming and digital broadcasting. Read more