KVLY-TV Mast – Blanchard, North Dakota - Atlas Obscura

KVLY-TV Mast

Blanchard, North Dakota

This sky-high radio mast is formerly the tallest man-made structure in the world. 

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Once a human feat of engineering, the KVLY-TV has now been stripped of its titles, and of literal height.

Upon its completion in August 1963, this sky-high radio mast was the tallest structure in the world, until it was surpassed by the Warsaw Radio Mast about a decade later. When the Warsaw mast collapsed unexpectedly in 1991, the KVLY-TV mast reclaimed its title, until the 2,722 foot tall skyscraper Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed in 2010. In 2019, the top mount VHF antenna was removed for the FCC spectrum repack, dropping the height to 1,987 feet. This de-throned it as the tallest structure in the western hemisphere, and even made it drop in the ranks beneath the nearby KRDK-TV mast.

Prior to its partial dismantlement, the KVLY-TV mast was the first manmade structure to exceed 2,000 feet in height. The structure itself takes up 160 acres of land with its guy anchors. Owned by Gray Television of Atlanta, Georgia, the tower broadcasts at 356 kW on channel 44 for television station KVLY-TV (channel 11 PSIP, an NBC/CBS affiliate), based in Fargo, North Dakota. The tower provides a broadcast area of roughly 9,700 square miles. It originally cost half a million USD to be built, and is made of Kline iron and steel.

Five miles away stands the KRDK-TV mast, which at 2,060 feet is currently the eight-tallest structure in the world. This mast, completed in 1966, has collapsed and been rebuilt twice: once in 1968, when a Marine helicopter crashed into it, killing all four onboard, and once in 1997, during an ice storm with 70 mph winds.

Know Before You Go

The tower can be spotted for miles around on rural North Dakota, and you can drive directly up to the base and transmission building via a dirt road.

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February 21, 2017

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