Radio Prepares For Winter Storm Jonas (Updated)
January 22, 2016 at 12:28 PM (PT)
With a major winter storm JONAS on the horizon, radio stations up and down the EAST COAST are girding up for comprehensive coverage. Stations in the nation's capitol are already in gear.
"Simply put … all hands on deck," HUBBARD News WTOP/WASHINGTON Dir. of News and Programming MIKE MCMEARTY said. "We have brought in extra members of our team around the clock to help our listeners and readers in any way possible. We’ve got extra on-air, web, social media, traffic and weather staff to make sure we can cover every angle of this storm, which is shaping up to be historic.
"We offer hotel rooms near the station to all staff," he continued. "We even make sure to offer rooms to staffers not working the rest of the weekend, but unable to drive home safely. We also make sure our engineers, IT personnel and website development staff are on-call to help out if we have any issues on any of our platforms. We’ve even trained people how to brush snow off our satellites on the roof of our building."
HOWARD UNIVERSITY and Urban AC WHUR (96.3)/WASHINGTON D.C. Dir./News & Public Affairs RENEE J. NASH said, "We are WASHINGTON's Blizzard 2016 station. With a team of radio personalities, news anchors and reporters, a meteorologist, and traffic reporter; we are ready to keep our audience up-to-date and informed about the storm while providing the best music in town around the clock. Knowing the importance of live radio, WHUR launched into gear getting its staff in place THURSDAY at a local hotel to ensure maximum all-hands-on-deck for Winter Storm JONAS.
"WHUR has a News Team of six people," she continued. "Our News anchors and reporters are working around the clock to keep our listeners up-to-date on delays, cancellations, power outages, road conditions, and any injuries or deaths resulting from the storm. The station has hourly updates talking with officials around the region including D.C. Mayor MURIEL BOWSER, PRINCE GEORGE's COUNTY Executive RUSHEN BAKER and others about what services are available for residents. We are also hitting the streets to hear from residents on how they are coping in the blizzard.
"Additionally, WHUR has weather updates from our Meteorologist VERONICA JOHNSON, who is filing hourly reports on the snow fall and wind gusts. Traffic updates are also airing twice per hour. Our radio personalities are staying up close and personal with our listeners taking phone calls throughout the day and night to hear their stories about Blizzard 2016 while at the same time rocking the DMV with the best music that 'Sounds Like WASHINGTON'."
Elsewhere In Maryland And Virginia
Meanwhile, in BALTIMORE, "The build-up for this storm is like an extended pre-game show for a major sporting event," HEARST News-Talk WBAL-A/BALTIMORE PD SCOTT MASTELLER said. "It has been the focus of our content since the middle of the week. We have a great partnership with WBAL TV 11 and we are pooling our resources to better serve the community. Planning on live and local content all weekend long as the storm gets underway this afternoon. Events like this reinforce how radio can play a part in giving the community the information they need to deal with the events of the storm.
MEL WHEELER INC. PD KIANNA WADE Urban WVBE (THE VIBE)/ROANOKE-LYNCHBURG, VA, "We have been preparing ourselves and our listeners since WEDNESDAY. Sharing tips from local resources like VDOT (VA. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION) and our Metrology partners from local TV affliates. Basic tips like have water, flashlights, batteries, etc., on hand. But also, having propane handy in case gas grills can be used in the event of power outages. We shared with listeners to park in driveways, if available, and if not VDOT suggest to have all neighbors park on one side of the street to make road clearing easier (side with addresses ending in odd numbers). Listeners have been helpful too by calling in and texting traffic problems due to weather.
"We have taking advantage of social media to post school and business closings using airways to only announce major closings.
"Last night our owners offered staff to stay at the hotel across the street so we could walk to work. Or have employees with 4WD come pick us up and bring us in. Like, in my case, this morning, because I'd rather not drive in snow and I have 4WD, I got a ride at 7:30 this morning in order to make it in before it got too bad. It had already been snowing for a good hour and all streets were covered.
"Our GM was even thoughtful enough to buy food yesterday before we got hit so we can make sandwiches while working since everything is closed here. I have one full-time staff who will stay at the hotel again tonight in order to be live tomorrow. And SUNDAY I will go back in to assess the situation and prepare for MONDAY. Come SUNDAY we should be good as it will be sunny and 40...we are just praying temps wont drop too badly over night and freeze over, so things can resume back to normal."
Action In The Carolinas
In NORTH CAROLINA, GREATER MEDIA Hot AC WLNK (107.9 THE LINK)/CHARLOTTE PD DARLA THOMAS tells ALL ACCESS, "We've got a skeleton staff right now and we're working with sister N/T WBT-A (1110/99.3 FM) PD JASON FURST to update the community. BOB & SHERI made it in as well as my midday host KELLY MEYERS, but our morning show producer MAX slept at the station last night. MATT & RAMONA couldn't get in so their producer DOC is holding down the fort for the rest of the day.
In the area, "Milk and bread are sold out around town so we offered our listeners some recipes to use what they had on hand. And don't forget it's still #BLACKANDBLUE FRIDAY around here so check out our listeners showing their support for their PANTHERS on our special web page on WWW.1079THELINK.COM supporting the home team. JONAS won't slow us down!!"
BEASLEY MEDIA GROUP/CHARLOTTE OM/PD JAMILLIAH "JAM" MUHAMMAD, "Thankfully we have had enough notice for JONAS that many have been able to plan and prepare. Our goal has been to keep our listeners informed, up to date, and entertained. Certainly encoraging folks to be safe first. We have updated them every hour on weather conditions, school closings, warming centers, call-ins from TV station personalities on the road and we've been airing listeners that are out in it for 'real time updates.'
"WEEKEND programming will be live, however, my personalities have the option to voice track if necessary."
RADIO ONE/CHARLOTTE PD MARY K, "We started prepping listeners in advance of the storm with weather updates and preparedness tips on-air and social media. Yesterday we did hourly weather updates. As well as today. Staff-wise everyone that could make it safely came in."
In The Big Apple...
EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS PD SKIP DILLARD Urban AC WBLS (107.5)/NY: "We're getting set with hotel rooms near our stations for on-air/technical weekend staff who may need a place to crash and went grocery shopping for the weekend crew as well.
"We've got hourly on-air updates (more as needed). Main concern for our listeners will be transit, bridge and tunnel access along with heavily monitoring of CON ED and PSE&G for any power outages resulting from the storm."