Broadcasters in Florida found themselves preparing for Irma as both hurricane and weekend approached.
iHeartMedia said that its five FM stations in Tallahassee were tracking updates and “prepared with a full staff to broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of the storm, including up-to-date storm and traffic information as well as resources for emergency situations and community relief. “
The company said its local broadcast operations stocked up on generator fuel, food, water, supplies, batteries and chargers. “Employee safety is a priority, and all markets are prepared to support our staff that stay to help the community during the storm,” the company said. “We’ll also continue to work directly with local county Public Information Officers for LEOs and EMAs for relief information, shelters and traffic updates.”
Its stations in Florida checked generators, fuel and transmitters, and backed up systems and servers. “Our disaster assets have been moved to a staging area in Jacksonville, and supplemental engineering staff will arrive in Orlando today to assist local markets throughout the storm.”
It reminded listeners that if power goes out they can hear the stations’ emergency broadcast information and updates via battery radios and the iHeartRadio app. “On the web and social media our stations are showcasing a StormWatch page and providing storm tips to the community, such as how to report price gouging, keeping your cell phone charged in a storm and more. If the storm comes closer, we’re prepared to simulcast 100.7 WFLA, Tallahassee’s News Talk station, across all stations with staff from each station helping with the broadcast, station operations and phones,” iHeart announced.
Separately, Beasley Media’s Tampa operation said it was providing regular on-air weather updates with its weather partner ABC Action News. “The jocks are giving updates on weather, shelters, sand bag stations, etc.,” according to an announcement. “We’re directing everyone to the station websites /Storm (ex. 995QYK.com/Storm) for all updates.
Its Ft. Myers cluster put its Hurricane Action Plan is in effect. “This will include teaming up with WBBH –NBC and WZVN-ABC affiliates, providing our listeners with the very latest Hurricane information.” It created a timeline of on-air reminders, for instance: “10 Hours before landfall to ground zero, we will providing updates every 20 minutes covering landfall info, public shelter info, preparedness info as it relates to safety and advisories from the National Weather Service and Emergency Management.”
Beasley’s Boca Raton stations set up a simulcast of coverage from a West Palm CBS TV station.
Elsewhere, SiriusXM and The Weather Channel teamed to provide a live simulcast of The Weather Channel on Sirius Channel 137 and XM Channel 202, available on all SiriusXM radios, for both subscribers and non-subscribers.