Radio Dispatches, Post-Hurricane Irene
August 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM (PT)
ALL ACCESS continues to hear from radio stations and clusters in the areas impacted by HURRICANE IRENE this weekend. Outside of dealing with the devastation, some stations are already in recover mode.
"There was heavy devastation throughout the Capital Region of ALBANY -- especially in the towns near rivers and creeks, WFLY (FLY 92)/ALBANY, NY PD TERRY O'DONNEL said. "Mudslides ... homes were washed away ... and flooding at a level that hasn’t been seen in over a century.
I’m proud that WFLY bagged all syndicated programming and went live and local, with updates on air, via www.fly92.com, and through our FACEBOOK page. Many of our staff members gave up vacation time today in order to come in and help collect donations of food, water, toys, and money, which will go to help the local victims of HURRICANE (Tropical Storm) IRENE. In addition, all other radio stations in our cluster were strategically partnered with PRICE CHOPPER (our local supermarket chain) to collect donations.
TOWNSQUARE MEDIA Hot AC WJLK (94.3 THE POINT)/MONMOUTH-OCEAN, NJ APD/afternooner MATT RYAN faced with doing his show on backup generator, with no Internet or phones due to HURRICANE IRENE had a simple solution. He gave his personal cell number out on the air.
RYAN noted, "Listeners have been without power since SATURDAY night and the need an outlet to vent...so I figured I've got unlimited minutes, they can call me up. THE POInt is all about THE JERSEY SHORE, it's the least I could do for my listeners."
EMPIRE BROADCASTING Triple A WRNR/ANNAPOLIS, MD is running off a generator but the building has no lights or AC. Candles are being used in the studio.
BROOKDALE PUBLIC RADIO Triple A WBJB/MONMOUTH-OCEAN/ASBURY PARK, NJ lost power for a little while, other than that, they’re alive and well and still on the air according to PD RICH ROBINSON. "We prepped the area with tons of coverage re: shelters, evacuation notices and of course weather updates. Now we’re just giving everyone the latest on clean-up schedules."
BARNSTABLE BROADCASTING's LONG ISLAND RADIO GROUP, AC WKJY (KJOY 98.3), Classic Hits WBZO (B103), Adult Hits WIGX (94-X) and Adult Standards WHLI-A (1100), were in full local storm coverage mode for LONG ISLAND where more than 450,000 customers were without power after IRENE struck on SUNDAY (8/28). All stations were live 24/7 with news and updates via its partnership with CABLEVISION's (NEWS 12)/LONG ISLAND and local content from personalities STEVE & PERI (KJOY 98.3), RALPHIE MARINO (94-X), PAUL RICHARDS (WHLI) and WISEMAN & FRANK (B103).
NAB Takes Note...
The NAB wasted no time in declaring Hurricane IRENE a victory for broadcasters, issuing a statement from President and CEO GORDON SMITH lauding radio and television coverage of the event while some cell phone, cable TV, and power systems lost service.
SMITH said, "NAB salutes broadcasters from the CAROLINAS to MAINE who did a remarkable job this weekend keeping citizens informed during Hurricane IRENE. While cellphone, electricity and cable system outages were occurring up and down the EAST COAST, broadcasters were a trusted resource that millions of Americans relied upon for accurate information. Our stations used a combination of 'boots on the ground' reporting and social media to keep citizens informed, proving our contention that broadcasting and broadband are complimentary services. As we work with policymakers on a broadband policy that best serves local communities across the U.S., NAB will continue to make the case that no technology can replace broadcasting’s 'one-to-everyone' lifeline role in an emergency."
A handful of stations lost power and went off the air during the storms, including some in NEW YORK, ALBANY, and NEW JERSEY, but most remained on the air. Many stations provided extensive storm coverage, although some continued with regular music programming.