To President Robert Brown:
I read with great dismay an article in The Daily Free Press regarding the radio tower on your campus (‘Sign of the times,’ Nov. 24, p.1). The removal of the tower is one thing, but the ignorance of your faculty and students is another.
Radio broadcasting is not obsolete. It is a $20 billion a year industry in the U.S. It is also listened to by 99.5 percent of the U.S. population each week. There are more FCC licensed radio stations now than ever before. We have a wonderful public radio service in the United States called NPR that uses, as described by your Dean Tom Fielder, ‘old technology.’
As for the tower being antiquated, ‘vertical real-estate’ values are at an all time high. If Professor Anne Donohue wants to be ‘progressive,’ use the tower to distribute Wi-Fi, Wi-Max and other new Internet technologies. Cell phone companies will also pay you a small fortune in rent for tower space.
Regarding the comments that it is an eyesore, the same was thought of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and it was nearly demolished. Many radio towers, such as Mt. Sutro in San Francisco, have become architectural landmarks. Many great works of art and engineering are considered eyesores by some.
Regarding Dean Fielder’s feeling that radio speaks for ‘old technology,’ yes, radio waves are old technology. Electromagnetic fields ‘-‘- radio waves ‘-‘- are one of the four forces in nature and have existed since time began and before matter was formed. The mathematical equations that describe radio waves, Maxwell’s Equations, are the foundation of electrical engineering and one-fourth of the world’s economy. The work of Maxwell inspired Einstein to do his work on relativity.
Instead of tearing down this tower, you should be dedicating it as a monument to science and culture. You should place a plaque below the tower describing the scientific, historical, cultural and sociological importance of radio waves in our world. Perhaps your students might be inspired each time they saw it, and unlike Dean Fielder, more informed of our scientific world.
Salt Lake City, Utah