Stagnitto: A View From New York
Stagnitto, director of engineering for WNYC, sat in the middle of Sandy’s
assault on New York City. As one can imagine he’s been a very busy man for the past few days.
New York Public Radio comprises WNYC(AM/FM), WQXR(FM), the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space and New Jersey Public
Radio as well; the organization describes its holdings
as “America’s most listened-to AM/FM news and talk public radio stations,
reaching 1.1 million listeners every week.”
“Stag” took a few moments late Thursday out of his busy schedule
to apprise Radio World of the situation.
How were New York Public Radio stations
affected by Sandy?
N.Y. Public Radio and N.J. Public Radio
operations at our Varick Street location [in lower Manhattan] have been on generator power since
Monday night. So far, we have been able to get fuel to keep operations up and
running. We had engineers on standby duty as well at the NPR N.Y. bureau,
which also has emergency power, should the generator at Varick Street fail.
In the past, the ATUs at the Kearny site [the WNYC AM site in New Jersey] took the brunt of any flood. This
time, for the first time in memory, the water came into the transmitter
building itself, approximately 18 inches. The access road to the site is still
technically closed, though the site can be accessed only at low tide. [The photo shows damage to the walkway serving Tower No. 1. Friday, the station was working to get back on air with a 1
kW non-directional emergency signal.]
As for the New York FMs, Empire State Building worked fine, as did our 4 Times
Square backup site. The biggest problem is the failure of multiple T-1 and
telco services, which are still out as of today [late Thursday].
What about N.J. Public
The NJPR sites were hard hit, connectivity-wise. Both RF-based and wired STLs
were lost. One RF link is now back, but two sites were on the air by virtue of
alternate means — one an Internet connection to the NJPR webstream. Another is
currently on via a POTS codec. We assume that the transmitter for WNJO(FM),
which is located in Seaside Park, N.J., is somewhere in the bay. We have not
been able to reach it since the height of the storm and cannot gain access to
the barrier island the town is on.
How’s the staff?
As far as our staff, there is, of course, a skeleton staff for news,
engineering and facilities actually on site, with a lot of people directing
operations remotely. They are a dedicated, talented, versatile
group of people who have been camping out in the darkness of downtown New York,
and turning out some incredibly good radio coverage.
UPDATED: Jim informs us: “WNYC(AM) went back on the air with 1 kW at 5:58 p.m. [Friday] with a nondirectional temp rig. Now, comes the rebuilding.”
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