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Madison’s mystery tower buzzes have inspection crews baffled, residents going batty

For the past three days — maybe more (who can remember with that buzz!) — residents living near 18th and Madison have experienced a slow, painful periodic torture. Take a listen:

Tower Buzz by Chs Blog

That mysterious buzz is coming from one of the towers that, well, tower above the area broadcasting signals from KCTS, KCPQ and more. One of those towers or something at the facility is buzzing. Neighbor Ming explains:

This is a noise problem with the radio towers that sits on 18th & Madison.  For the last 48 hours (since Wednesday), the radio towers has this very loud buzzer sound that has been going off every 30 seconds, day and night, non-stop.  As I am sitting here inside my apartment on 18th & Madison, this very loud annoying sound is getting to me.  I do not know what to do.  Oh and I did called 911 last night and reported this alarm buzzer sounds to the police, but this early Friday morning it does not sound too good.  The only sound that is louder than this noise on 18th & Madison is the Blue Angels.  Seriously, please help me and all the people in my apartment building.  Because I do not know what to do.  The police has many reports regarding this already, but nothing has been done.  No body is in danger here, just lack of sleep and minor headaches.  The police can careless. 

CHS visited the towers Friday morning — they’re operated by the television stations, not radio though there is equipment for KUOW and others at the site —  and we’re sorry to report the buzzer is still periodically, randomly going off.

We also called some of the tower operators via phone numbers listed on signs at the site. A representative from Richland Towers, a Florida based contractor that operates at the facility, said he was not aware of the issue. A rep from the engineering wing at KCPQ said the station has been getting calls but that its equipment has been inspected — the persistent buzz isn’t coming from their gear, the local channel says. 

Standing at the site, the sound is most audible near the eastern-most tower operated by KCPQ. But given the vagaries of sound waves, it’s possible the sound is coming from gear on one of the two western towers. Whatever the cause, the buzzer hums continue.

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21 thoughts on “Madison’s mystery tower buzzes have inspection crews baffled, residents going batty” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Thanks for investigating! I live next to these beauties and couldn’t figure out where that noise was coming from.

  2. I’ve been hearing it too, thought I was hearing things at first. I figured it was the towers though, they cause so much havoc all of the time. Wireless headphones are worthless near them, so is our electric piano because KUOW constantly broadcasts out of them and other random electronic devices.

    I saw two employees standing on the roof of the buildings under the towers yesterday watching the Blue Angels, so someone there has to have heard it.

  3. Thanks for bringing this to our attention – we’re looking into it this morning to see if there’s anything we can do.

  4. The police won’t be interested in this (they do deal with disturbance noise but not this soirt of commercial noise) but the City of Seattle Noise Abatement people will be and they have the power to do something about it too.

    You report this (and other Noise Ordinance violations … commercial excessive noise in quiet hours) by email at

    It can be very effective. The 230 Broadway E construction slowly drifted their start time (well before 7am) during their dig. It took three weeks before I filed the complaint but a quick email exchange with Seattle Noise Abatement folks and a midday site visit resulted in the problem being fixed and them not violating the 7am start time since (if they do they get a stop work order … that’s an incentive).

    Urban noise pollution is a problem. Report it when you hear it.

  5. I first heard these noises on Tuesday night and have heard them every evening since. I couldn’t tell if they were coming from the towers, the construction site at 19th and Madison, or the substation down on 23rd. I’ve only been hearing it at night though, not during the day, so I assumed it was coming from a generator at construction site that is powering the lights on the site/crane.

  6. I work for Richland Towers and have been listening for this but have not heard it. If it is happening at night it could be a street light with a bad balast. Although it kinda sounds like a noisy air conditioning compressor.

  7. Ah, so that’s what radio station is plays on my electric keyboard. I live all the way over at Belmont & Republican. Luckily it’s fairly quiet where I am.

  8. If it’s coming from HSDC, definitely call Noise Abatement. Our builidng had an issue with them about the extremely loud crosswalk on 19th & Madison a few years back, and they were extremely uncooperative until we got Noise Abatement involved.

  9. Our tower is not generating this buzz either. Still a curious phenomenon and we’re asking questions to see if we can find the source.

  10. You can also contact them by phone, but I don’t have the number handy. I live at 19th and Madison and battled the city about 5 years ago over the crossing signal at 19th and Madison. It would go off at every cycle of the light, and it was so loud that you could hear it for blocks in both directions. I called chronically, even reporting it to the city council, until finally the operator heard the noise on the other end of the phone. The volume was turned down within 24 hours of that.

    The squeeky wheel gets the grease…

  11. “I was told this is coming from the Hearing Speach and Deafness Center and they are aware of it.”


    Seriously, that sounds awful. I hope this gets figured out.

    I’m amazed you guys get such interference from KUOW…I’m half a mile away (and can see the towers out of my window) and some days I can’t get a clear KUOW signal in my kitchen.

  12. Hmmm. Now I’m wondering it there is any relationship between the buzzing (but that was HSDC?) & the VERY LOUD exlosion-like BOOM I heard while I was walking by the towers on the way to work this morning, about 6:45 a.m. I didn’t see any smoke or anything, but dayum. It was loud & when I looked up I expected to see the towers falling. On me.

  13. It’s time that KUOW held a fund raiser which would lead to construction to a new transmitter on Cougar Mountain near Issaquah where the other FM towers are located. Now, KCPQ uses the transmitting tower for it’s sister-station KZJO in which KCPQ rebroadcasts on DT 22.2 while KZJO’s main signal is on DT 22.1 & Antenna TV is on DT 22.3. KCPQ’s DT 13.1 transmitter is on Gold Mountain near Bremerton. KCPQ also broadcasts Accu-Weather on DT 13.2 which is also on the same tower as 13.1.