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Lodestar Tower and International Communications Management was founded by Ron Crider and Paul Lansat in West Palm Beach Florida in 1985. The companies were started to build a tower near Orlando Florida to facilitate the move in for two Daytona Beach FM stations to move closer to Orlando. Doug Arbauch was the actual inspiration for the tower. Doug worked for WFtl and Joe Amature in Fort Lauderdale. At that time Ron Crider worked with Doug. Doug later became the GM of an FM station in Daytona Beach. He remembered Crider's expertise in the Tower business. Doug worked for the Baltimore Sun that was the owner of the Daytona Beach station. He convinced the Sun to provide some of the seed money and sign a long term contract to lease space on this proposed tower. Crider and Lansat arranged the financing for the tower by using their relationship with Norman Wane and Bob Weiss of Metroplex Communications to convince Ameritrust of Cleveland Ohio to provide the necessary long term financing.
Our contact at Ameritrust was Chesley Madox. Chelsea arranged the strangest initial cash advance of $250,000. Although the bank had agreed to to finance the Orlando tower and the Jacksonville tower no papers had been signed with the bank. As the closing day arrived, there was still no paperwork from the bank. Chesley assured us they were doing the deal and moving ahead. The day before closing Chelsea told us to go to Orlando, to the Sun Bank closing day, show our ID card and a cashiers check would be there for us in the amount of $250,000. Neither Paul or I really believed she could wire that much money to a bank we had on account with for funds we had not signed for. Well, guess what. Yep, the funds were at the bank the next day and all I had to do was show my drivers license. Later I ask Chesley why she advanced so much money with on paper work. She told us she didn't think it was enough money for either of of to skip the country. Never have I ever been involved with a stranger banking transaction as this one. Ameritrust the following year also financed the Lodestar Jacksonville 1,049 foot tower as well.
Lodestar Orlando and Lodestar Jacksonville took 100's of hours of dealing with the banks as well as the various county's to obtain the necessary permits to construct these tall structures. Jacksonville had a surprise ending. Just prior to construction I lost 3 FM stations as tenants for the tower. They decided to purchase an old not used TV tower rather than joining us. I got scared that our Jacksonville was to ambitious and at the last minute scales the capacity of the structure down to save money. The tower was launched with it's reduced capacity only to discover soon after it was finished we really needed the strength I had given up. We then had to do a major retrofit to accommodate the unexpected new tenants. Six months after the tower was completed I was informed the tower was 49 feet to tall by the FAA. The tower company failed to take into consideration the elevation above sea-level where the tower was built was 49 feet. The FAA insisted we chop 49 feet off the top of the tower. That was impossible since the stations FM antennas were actually the top of the tower. There was not way to do this without rebuilding the entire structure. All the tenants were out for my head as all their FCC filings were totally wrong. Fortunately for me and after a great deal of white knuckle meetings with the FAA, they finally reluctantly agreed to raise the flight minimums therefore paving the way for clear our tower. The bad news was that the stations then had to deal with the FCC to get their paper work correct. The good news is that the Lodestar Jacksonville Tower is actually the tallest tower in Jacksonville by 49 feet. This was really a good thing for the stations, but it sure was a embarrassing few months for me and my clients because in reality I suppose since I was the designer and President of Lodestar the buck did stop with me. As they say all is well that eds well.
Next came "Lodestar New Orleans" Lodestar St. Pete and Lodestar Charlotte, NC and Lodestar North Palm Beach, Lodestar Daytona Beach. Yes, you guessed it there are stories about those towers to come soon.
Groundbreaking for "Lodestar Orlando" located near Orange City Florida 1986. This was a 1,749 multipurpose Radio-TV and Communications structure. The tower was designed by Ron Crider and built by LeBlanc and Royal of Oakville Ontario. From right to left is Ovie Loeman (Engineer) Ron Crider, Paul Lansat, Claud Bowers (TV 55) and Scott Frothingham.
Lodestar Jacksonville building and tower. This was suppose to be 1,049 feet but ended up being 1,099 feet. The tower is located on Hoge Road. 1987
Groundbreaking Lodestar Jacksonville, FL Ron and Paul Lansat. 1987