The Dish On The Dish

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

How a storm, a short and a case of bad timing made so many of us so mad!


It couldn't happen in the middle of the night, maybe during an infomercial.  It couldn't happen in the middle of a newscast, when we could explain the situation as soon as it was remedied.  It had to happen on a Sunday morning.  It had to happen on a Sunday morning when the Broncos were the CBS early game.  The icing on the cake to produce the icing on the dish?  It snowed.  Not a lot...just enough.


I'm no engineer...not the train-driving kind, not the equipment-fixing kind. Here's the non-engineer explanation of what happened to make us all miss part of the Broncos/Redskins game.

When we bring you the Broncos we receive the signal of the game from the network on a satellite dish outside our building.  Only after we receive it can we send it back out over the air and to the cable company and to the home satellite companies.  Sometimes in a storm snow can accumulate on these dishes and block the signal from coming in.  To combat that problem you literally sometimes get someone outside with a broom to sweep/knock snow off a dish. That had been done a couple of times this morning to the smaller dishes, but it doesn't work with the big ones, like this one.  It has a built in heating mechanism designed to keep it free of snow and ice so it can do what it's supposed to do.

Now the perfect storm.  Somehow as this rain-sleet-snow event unfolded, just enough moisture got into the part of that dish which houses the heating mechanism.  There was a short, the heater failed and enough snow and ice accumulated on the dish to block the signal from coming in.  We were off the air from about 10:52 until about 11:16 am.  It was about 24 minutes.  It was just enough time to miss the Broncos' opening score and the Redskins' rapid response. 

We had a rapid response of our own.  An engineer (the equipment-fixing kind) quickly rushed in from home to see what he could do.  He quickly realized what the problem was and set about equipment-fixing.  He knew it would take way too long for the heater to clear the snow, so he had one of our large live trucks pulled up next to the dish.  Only by standing on top of that truck could he reach down into the dish to clear away the snow and ice.  It all happened very quickly while staffers inside were fielding phone calls from angry Broncos fans.  It was about 24 minutes.  It was just enough time to get a lot of Broncos fans really, really angry.

I was angry too.  I was at home, knowing I could, for once, watch most of the game.  The Broncos usually play at 2 in the afternoon and by then I'm at work, not able to pay much attention to the TV.  So fellow fans I share your frustration, I understand your anger.  In the big picture we lost our picture and that's our fault. As one commenter to pointed out, in the eyes of many viewers a Broncos game is probably just about the most important thing we air...ever.  There's no doubt when we dropped the signal, we dropped the ball.  I simply ask that when you look back on this frustrating fumble, you realize that Mother Nature and a case of terrible timing conspired to knock the ball loose.

Here's a huge apology from all of us to all of you.

Oh yeah, it doesn't help that the Broncos lost.  Next time they play it's against the Chargers.  I hope they win, and I know we'll bring you the game....the whole thing. 

We'll talk again soon.







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