BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The WAFB tower is getting a fresh coat of paint, and will soon look good as new.
The 475 ft. tower must be painted every 8 to 10 years, as per requirements from federal organizations. The color is called "aviation orange" and was chosen by the same federal organizations that require the maintenance of the paint. The bright orange color was selected to make the tower as visible as possible against the blue sky.
Built in 1951, the tower has survived many hurricanes, including Betsy and Gustav to name a couple.
The tower transmits live shots, the National Weather Service (NWS), and WAFB's channels, WBXH and WBRH, as well as Escape and Grit.
The freestanding tower is one of the tallest in Baton Rouge. Most towers built today are cable towers, or guyed towers. All programming is actually transmitted from the tower at WAFB's location downtown to another, taller tower nearby on River Road. That tower is 1,749 ft. tall.
The tower being repainted at WAFB is about as tall as the state's capitol building.
Before the tower could be painted, it had to be pressure washed and scraped to remove old paint. The workers who do this are called "steeplejacks." And while they are at the very top of the tower, the wattage output is reduced for their safety, which may cause some temporary interruptions in the broadcast. A new type of paint is being used that essentially vaporizes when it's sprayed away from the tower, preventing the wind from picking up drops of the paint and getting it all over downtown Baton Rouge.
The project is expected to take about three weeks to complete.