N.D. TV Tower No Longer World's Tallest

The KVLY-TV tower near Fargo, N.D., no longer holds the title of the world's tallest manmade structure. That honor now belongs to the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, which is 2,717 feet tall. Doug Jenson, chief engineer for KVLY-TV, says the North Dakota structure has always been a source of pride for those who work there.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Yesterday, Dubai celebrated the opening of the world's tallest skyscraper -2,717 feet - more than half a mile high. But Dubai's glory is North Dakota's downfall. The KVLY television tower has for years held the title of the world's tallest structure, 2063 feet, rising out of the plains of Eastern North Dakota. Doug Jenson is chief engineer of the NBC affiliate that operates the tower. He joins us from Fargo. Mr. Jenson, your bragging rights took a little bit of a hit, I guess.

Mr. DOUG JENSON (Chief Engineer, NBC): Yeah. They did actually for the second time. There was a tower in Poland that, for a time, was taller than it back in the - I believe, it was like the late '80s, early '90s until it came down.

BLOCK: Was it a big deal, do you know, at the time when it was put up?

Mr. JENSON: Well, I believe so. I actually grew up in the area around here and I was probably seven or eight at the time and I remember it. It was heavily promoted. In fact, the call letters of the station at the time was KTHI, or K Tower Hi is what it was short for. They had a lady who was known as Katy Hi(ph)�

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JENSON: �and was a personality at the time and a lot of things along that line for many years.

BLOCK: Mr. Jenson, you're in charge of maintenance for the tower, I guess, right?

Mr. JENSON: Yes.

BLOCK: How do you get up?

Mr. JENSON: There's a small two-man service elevator that will take you up to the base of the antenna, so it's about 1,950 ft or so.

BLOCK: And how long does that ride take?

Mr. JENSON: It takes about 20 minutes to get from the bottom to the top of the tower.

BLOCK: No kidding. And how far can you see once you're up there?

Mr. JENSON: I'd say you can see 20 miles pretty easily. And the only difference between that and flying in a plane is, is you see this tower going down below you connecting to the ground and it's a little unnerving at first.

BLOCK: You know, I would think that this would be kind of a source of pride for you there to have that�

Mr. JENSON: Yeah.

BLOCK: �even if now you're just second tallest, but still it's a really big tower.

Mr. JENSON: Yeah. It's for the people that work especially with the tower and those of us in the technical side, it's always been sort of a source of pride that here in little North Dakota, we have something that is somewhat unique.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Jenson, thanks for talking to us about it.

Mr. JENSON: Nice talking to you, Melissa.

BLOCK: That's Doug Jenson, chief engineer for KVLY-TV in Fargo, North Dakota, whose tower is no longer the world's tallest structure, but it's still pretty darn tall.

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