Tower Erectors' Group Unhappy with Dateline Depiction

NBC's Dateline program broadcast a segment on Monday, July 21, that has riled the National Association of Tower Erectors. The segment, entitled "Tower Dogs," depicts communication tower repair and construction crews at work -- but NATE said this wan't the kind of publicity its 575 members welcome.

Patrick Howey, NATE's executive director, said the program (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25786803/) depicted tower climbers as unprofessional and more interested in finishing a job on time than on doing it safely. One climber walked off a job site after arguing wth a supervisor and was shown in a bar the night before, raising a question about his fitness for duty, Howey said Thursday. He said NATE's members have sent "dozens" of comments about the program to the association, which will share them with NBC.

"A lot of them are very concerned about the lack of professionalism and how they portrayed the industry," he said. "The way it was done just doesn't reflect today's tower climbing companies. We stress working a job safely."

The association said the TV program inadvertantly highlighted some critical issues facing the climbing industry: the impact of unrealistic timelines and budgets on safety, the importance of hiring qualified contractors wih the proper equipment and skills to accomplish the task at hand safely, and the need for adequate training for all crew members.

For information about NATE and its safety programs, visit www.natehome.com.

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