If you woke up Saturday expecting bluegrass from KBEM, the FM station owned by Minneapolis Public Schools, you got dead air instead.
The district station was kept off the air for close to 24 hours beginning Friday night and continuing into Saturday evening by what's diagnosed as a lightning strike. Lightning also knocked the station off the air for part of Memorial Day weekend.
According to district spokeswoman Emily Lowther, equipment belonging to the station's communications provider was struck and "all of our communications suffered,." That affected a T1 internet connection that links the studio and transformer, another line that's used as a backup, and the phone link that notifies the staff that there's a problem.
Lowther said that normally tower equipment begins calling at 90 seconds of dead air, but the downed link prevented that. Normally when the T1 line fails, there's a backup. But the unit that handles that was still back at the factory being repaired from the Memorial Day lightning strike.