Knoxville-Area Radio Continues To Support Community During Natural Disaster Relief
November 30, 2016 at 1:04 PM (PT)
Following the devastation from the GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN wildfires in EAST TENNESSEE, KNOXVILLE-area radio has rallied around the GATLINBURG and PIGEON FORGE communities to provide up-to-the-minute information, breaking news coverage, and to recruit relief effort volunteers (NET NEWS 11/29). TODAY (11/30), however, brings a new set of challenges for the area.
Last NIGHT (11/29), areas just south of the fires were hit with tornado activity. The ATHENS, TN, area took the brunt of the hit and has seen areas of destruction from the tornado touchdowns in the area. In addition, heavy rainfalls assisted in controlling the GATLINBURG-area fires, but in KNOXVILLE and surrounding areas, caused flooding in many areas.
"The weather is a blessing and a curse all at the same time," CUMULUS Country WIVK/KNOXVILLE PD NIKKI THOMAS told ALL ACCESS. "We're hearing from a lot of people who don't have power who are relying on us to give them updates. We aren't going to let those people down. This is why we're here -- to serve. We're still collecting donations and giving regular news updates. There's a lot going on. There's a list of around 40 names of people who are still missing. The death count is now at seven. If you have any extra prayers to send our way, please do."
ALL ACCESS NASHVILLE also caught up with SCRIPPS Country WCYQ/KNOXVILLE MD/morning show co-host OPIE JOE this AFTERNOON (11/30), who said, "the VOLUNTEER STATE" has earned its name this week. The RED CROSS and other relief agencies have been overwhelmed with donations, and they are now asking that those wishing to donate make monetary donations to one of the two local banks who have set up relief funds. So much was donated for the wildfire relief efforts that WCYQ loaded up two semi-trucks to ship to the ATHENS area for their tornado relief work TODAY.
"We didn't plan a show again this morning," OPIE JOE told ALL ACCESS. "We started taking calls from people affected by the tornadoes and by the fires. We spoke with people who were inside [a local grocery store] as the tornado ripped the roof off of the building. We have continued to check in with our television news partners. With most of the fires contained, we have switched from news to recovery information as we balance the two natural disasters. We, as a station, will be there with the community through every phase of rebuilding."