As Joplin Recovers From Devastation, Radio Informs
Some Radio Staffers And Their Families Lose Their Homes
May 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM (PT)
In the wake of the massive tornado that devastated JOPLIN, MISSOURI Gov. JAY NIXON vowed that crews will keep searching until everyone is accounted for in the city. Rescue crews worked into the night digging through rubble for survivors of the deadliest single tornado in nearly six decades. It killed at least 116 people; 17 have been rescued.
YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 5/23), ALL ACCESS reported The ZIMMER RADIO GROUP cluster in JOPLIN went to continuous team coverage on all of its stations; Talk KZRG-A's signal on 1310 was off but the station's news coverage was airing on its FM translator K275BD as well as sister Top 40 KSYN (KISSIN' 92.5), Country KIXQ (KIX 102.5), AC KJMK (LITE ROCK 93.9), Classic Rock KXDG (BIG DOG 97.9), and Talk KZYM-A (AM 1230 THE TALKER).
ZIMMER Country KIXQ (KIX 102.5)/JOPLIN morning host RANDY BROOKS took time to tell ALL ACCESS, "We suffered in the direct path of the tornado, and this is the first Internet access I've had. The stations of ZIMMER RADIO INC. formed a collective information broadcast that was simulcast over all seven stations with our News/Talk station as its base of operation. We started with wall-to-wall coverage almost an hour before the tornado hit, and are still wall-to-wall. We were the first with reports of damage to the main thoroughfares and many law enforcement agencies and government officials reported that we were their only means of communication and information during the early hours of the aftermath. You can listen yourself to this coverage at any of the ZIMMER station websites through the listen-live functions. I am proud that I work for a company that still values live on-air personnel and has such a high level of commitment to serving our community."
ZIMMER OM/Director of Programming CHAD ELLIOTT tells ALL ACCESS, "Seven members of our on-air staff lost everything except the clothes on their back, this includes me! We are now searching for a new place to live! JOPLIN needs all the help we can get! We are currently collecting non perishable food items, bottled water, toiletry items, etc next door to ZIMMER RADIO at FOOD FOR LESS. We are also encouraging donations to the AMERICAN RED CROSS. We’ve been on the air with non-stop continuous weather coverage since SUNDAY at 4p, and it’s now TUESDAY!"
ZIMMER Top 40 KSYN APD/MD/afternoon host STEVE KRAUS told ALL ACCESS, "I'm good. Lost everything, but missed it by about 10 minutess … left home ... came to the station ... and it roared through my living room."
ZIMMER is looking to provide employees a place for them to stay, including RVs. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured. KZRG staffers have virtually lived on the phone, getting information on the missing from listeners and encouraging callers to donate blood and other essentials. The station also used its FACEBOOK page to spread news on the whereabouts of numerous tornado victims.
Meanwhile, social networking is providing an outlook for people looking for information. A FACEBOOK page named simply "JOPLIN, MO. Tornado Recovery" is approaching 127,000 followers.
"We are looking for my grandma," wrote LORI BRENNENMAN. "Last she was seen she was being hauled away from 18th and Hi-view by two people carrying her in a blanket ... Her name is EMMA ... She talks very quietly, she has a very prominent birth mark on her left cheek about the size of a nickel and she is missing her bottom dentures."
NICKI KIRCHER ROSS posted "there are people posting on FB that they are alive and wanting to be rescued from a trailer park behind Flying J near 32nd St. If anyone can reach them, they have no way out and no food or water."
MERRIE TANG DUNCAN stated in a post on the page, "My family lost their business, homes, friends' homes -- gone. Amazingly, though their homes are gone, have accounted for all my family members and they are all alive."
If You'd Like To Help
MISSOURI's State Emergency Management Agency has set up ways to donate funds or offer to volunteer in the short-term or long-term recovery efforts. Click here to help.
THE HEART OF MISSOURI UNITED WAY has launched a JOPLIN Relief Fund, promising 100% of all donations will be given to relief efforts in JOPLIN. Text "JOPLIN" to 864833 to make a $10 donation, or visit www.uwheartmo.org.