Wildfire Hits Myrtle Beach; Radio Responds
April 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM (PT)
When disasters strike, local radio is often at it's best, jumping in to help and inform their communities.
SOUTH CAROLINA Gov. MARK SANFORD declared a state of emergency THURSDAY for a coastal county where a wildfire has consumed thousands of acres and destroyed dozens of homes, reports CNN. "The county includes some of the state's most popular tourist spots, including the MYRTLE BEACH area. By late afternoon, however, officials in NORTH MYRTLE BEACH said the fire there was mostly contained.
"The fire is very contained on our end right now," said the city's director of public safety, WILLIAM BAILEY. "We have hot spots. I would say we're about 75 to 80% [contained]."
"As of about 6p THURSDAY, the fire had consumed 15,500 acres, destroyed 69 homes and damaged 100 others, according to the HORRY COUNTY Emergency Operations Center. While no fatalities or injuries were reported, some 2,500 people have been evacuated, officials said. About 440 people were in two shelters at the HOUSE OF BLUES and at the NORTH MYRTLE BEACH AQUATIC CENTER, the operations center said.
Qantum's Cluster Jumps Into Action
QANTUM Top 40 WWXM (MIX 97.7)/MYRTLE BEACH PD RON ROBERTS tells ALL ACCESS that their "radio stations in MYRTLE BEACH are rallying to get out information to displaced residents, after wildfires have ravaged over 14,000 acres. In tandem with THE RED CROSS, fundraising drives are already in place. Beginning at 6a and all day TODAY, QANTUM stations WWXM (MIX 97.7), along with WGTR (GATOR 107.9), WRXZ (ROCK 107) and WYNA (BOB-FM) will be live at COASTAL GRAND MALL in MYRTLE BEACH collecting for RED CROSS disaster relief efforts. Additionally, shelter, pet shelter, school closings, traffic advisories, fire coverage maps, can be accessed at www.qantumradio.com/fire.htm."
WGTR (GATOR 107.9) PD/morning man BRISN "JD" SIMS added, I went up yesterday in a helicopter over the fires you can check it out here."
NextMedia Works With Red Cross
NEXTMEDIA/MYRTLE BEACH OM MARK MCKINNEY said, "one of our towers sustained damage, but it's one we no longer use on a full-time basis. The flames are within five miles of my house, but it looks as though the wind will push them away from my neighborhood. Last night my family went through our 'hurricane routine' and boxed up family keepsakes and important papers."
"The whole community has come together, continued MCKINNEY, "including THE HOUSE OF BLUES canceling shows so they could act as a RED CROSS shelter. But even now only 36 hours after the fire started the shelters are clearing out because local hotels are offering free rooms for the displaced families. I love the calls that come into the station asking 'How can we help?'
"At NEXTMEDIA our News/Talk station WRNN has kicked it into high gear on coverage and our other stations (Hot AC STAR 92.1, Alternative 96.1 WKZQ, and Classic Rock WAVE 104.1) are working closely with fire officials and THE RED CROSS acting as information clearing houses. Several times we've gone on-air to talk about a specific need and everytime that need was meet by someone in the audience within minutes. In addition we started collecting for THE RED CROSS YESTERDAY.
"That effort will continue TODAY and throughout the weekend as we hit the streets to collect for the families. Then on TUESDAY most all media in the market will come together to do a marathon remote broadcast as a huge fund-raiser. Competition is set aside for awhile as we all work together to get these friends and neighbors back on their feet as soon as possible."