Clark provided this graphic from a study by the risk management
company Munich Re, demonstrating an increase in reported natural
catastrophes in North America.
company has established routines for conducting business efficiently.
The model includes equipment, personnel and procedures. Routines can
be disrupted by occurrences manmade and natural, unintentional and
intentional, predictable and unpredictable.
for such events can minimize or prevent downtime. Most companies have
several departments with supervisory personnel experienced in
anticipating the types of disruptions and how to deal with them,
should they arise. A comprehensive emergency plan is a key element in
recovering from a catastrophic event. In many cases, experience is
the best teacher.
relies on broadcasters to keep them informed during times of crisis.
The Emergency Alert System may be used by officials to warn the
public of imminent danger and how to best protect themselves.
must have a plan in place to ensure that their ability to serve the
public is not impeded by disruptive events.
with the unexpected will be the theme of two Wednesday technology
sessions at the Radio Show in Orlando.
for the unexpected is not an oxymoron, but an essential. In business,
one establishes a plan for normal operations and anticipates what can
disrupt the norm and what steps can be taken to respond accordingly.
Disruptions for radio can take many forms, such as storms, utility
failures, personnel issues, STL loss, fire, accident, sabotage and
session, “Essential Planning for the Unexpected,” will feature
Roswell Clark, director of technical operations, Cox Media Group in
Tampa/Orlando Radio, and Howard Price, director of business
continuity and crisis management for ABC News. The moderator for both
sessions is Bill Hendrich, vice president and marketing manager for
Cox Radio in Jacksonville, Fla.
addition to his duties at ABC, Price is founder of
MediaDisasterPrep.com, a free resource for business
continuity and crisis management guidance to broadcasters. He offers
these suggestions in planning:
• Assume you will be on your own for 72 hours.
• Make a plan.
• Keep it simple.
• Communicate it well.
• Exercise it semi-annually.
• Build key public and private relationships.
• Ensure adequate backup power and communications are available at key sites.
• Maintain an accurate emergency contact list that includes all station employees, critical vendors and service providers.
Clark emphasizes the principles of business continuity planning:
Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Prevention. “Response
and recovery considerations need to involve all departments.”
further ideas based on comments from Price and Clark, and the
author’s own experience:
a relationship with public works department(s) that may be engaged to
clear access to studio and/or transmitter sites, and with other
relevant local officials as a source for vital information.
source of information is the local amateur radio operator community.
Establish a relationship with local clubs.
your community participates in the Corporate Emergency Access System
(CEAS), make sure you get emergency site access cards for your key
personnel, should your building be cordoned off.
possible, establish and maintain a secondary site from which to
operate should the main become unusable or inaccessible.
it should be an integral part of daily operations, ensure your data
is backed up and accessible from an alternate site.
relationships should include the utility provider(s) for your studio
and transmitter sites. These should be on a priority list for
restoration. Without power a broadcaster cannot render crucial
information to the public and participate in the Emergency Alert
fuel provider for your generator(s) and station vehicles should
likewise be on a priority list.
important practice during an emergency or catastrophic event is
recordkeeping. Maintain all receipts, invoices and restoration
quotations for insurance and record keeping purposes.
should always be prepared for the unexpected. Think through all
eventualities you can imagine: a vehicle or aircraft hitting a tower;
vegetation growth or new construction suddenly blocking an STL path;
sinkhole, fire or explosion necessitating the evacuation of a studio
facility; utility failure. How would your organization respond to
sums it up well: “Business continuity and crisis management are not
the same. Crisis management involves the immediate response
to an instant untoward event or confluence of events. Business
continuity is the process of assuring your operational resilience
during and after an untoward event.
are necessarily dynamic — part of an iterative process that never
stops. It’s a big responsibility and a lot of work; so set up an
internal, interdepartmental committee to share the pain, and to
assure you’ve accounted for all of your operational needs.”
STORMS, TWO FLOODS
planning and after the crisis comes recovery.
Smeal, who will participate in the session “Recovering From the
Unexpected,” is director of technical operations at Greater Media
in New Jersey. He too emphasizes the range of possible nasty events.
unexpected ... there are a wide range of things that can fall into
that category. Natural disasters: forest fires, floods, hurricanes,
tornados. Manmade disasters: fire, natural gas explosions, tanker
cars going off the tracks and releasing chemicals and civil unrest.
of the unexpected we have a glimpse of: An oncoming hurricane will
get us into a preparatory mode, and the recovery starts even before
the event takes place. Then there are the truly unexpected events:
fire, lightning and the like.”
relates experiences at WCTC, an AM station in New Brunswick, N.J.
during two notable weather events, Irene and Sandy.
two storms came from different directions. Both flooded the WCTC
transmitter site. Irene dumped so much rain into the watershed that
the Raritan River flooded, putting 18 inches of water into the WCTC
transmitter building. Having been flooded in 1999 and nearly flooded
in 2007, there were reference points on USGS and NOAA website river
gauges so we were able to track the rising river.
was different. I was keeping an eye on the river gauge and the site
was well below flood stage; but the sensors in the building sensors
were indicating flooding. Being tidal, the river rose due to the
storm surge, but this never reached the upstream river gauge.”
27 inches of water in the WCTC transmitter room, partially submerging
the generator. The station is fortunate to have an auxiliary site at
the WMGQ tower and remained on the air from that location. Since the
water did not rise into the air intake, the generator was dried out
and functioned well. The propane tank nearly floated away during
Irene. It was bolted down and remained in place during Sandy.
consider the STAR approach: Stop, Think/Assess, React — have an
existing disaster plan, then implement it.
participating in the recovery session will be Andy Laird, vice
president and chief technology officer, Journal Broadcast Group.