KKHJ Survives Samoan Quake And Tsunami
September 30, 2009 at 8:35 AM (PT)
SOUTH SEAS BROADCASTING Hot AC KKHJ/PAGO PAGO, AMERICAN SAMOA owner LARRY FUSS has emailed many of his friends who reached out regarding the staff and families of his station in the wake of the major earthquake and tsunami that hit AMERICAN SAMOA.
Thanks for all the calls and e-mails YESTERDAY. If I didn't have time to talk or respond to you personally, I apologize. It was a busy day.
As you no doubt heard, a massive earthquake struck off the coast of AMERICAN SAMOA YESTERDAY morning. The resulting tsunami wiped out much of the PAGO PAGO HARBOR area, where our radio station is located.
JOEY and LUPE were on-air when the earthquake hit. They were able to activate EAS and warn people to get to higher ground before losing power. The power plant for the eastern half of the island was flooded and is still out of service. The generator for our office building was also flooded. As such, we are off-air until we get power restored.
The radio station is on the second floor of PAGO PLAZA. Water inundated the first floor, but the second floor remained dry. A such, we have no physical damage, except to the station vehicle, which was in the parking lot when the tsunami hit.
I've been attempting to get a roof-mounted generator for the studio for several years now, however the local emergency management people have other priorities, and a generator for the primary EAS station so that we can stay on-air in the aftermath of a natural disaster and keep the public advised of critical information is not one of them. I warned JOEY just six weeks ago that if a tsunami came into the harbor, PAGO PLAZA's big diesel generator would be rendered useless by the water. Indeed, that's what happened.
Our L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Restaurant in NU'UULI was not affected by the tsunami. We re-opened YESTERDAY afternoon and it was business as usual.
JOHN RAYNAR was interviewed on the CBS Evening News last night and JOEY was on GOOD MORNING AMERICA and the CBS MORNING NEWS this morning, as well as the BBC and other media. Video that Joey shot out the window of the radio station was shown on CBS and ABC.
I'm in MISSISSIPPI this week and feeling rather helpless. However, even if I was there, there's not much I could do until the power comes back on. I guess I'll renew my efforts to get FEMA, TEMCO or somebody to provide generators, however the damage is already done this time.
Thanks again for all the calls and words of encouragement. And thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. The death toll is now being reported as 99, but all our staff and their families are safe and accounted for.
The station website can be seen at www.khjradio.com.