Louisiana Flooding Challenges Broadcasters
Broadcast radio operations are slowly recovering in flood-ravaged areas of
southern Louisiana, according to Polly Prince Johnson, president/CEO of the
Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. Catastrophic flooding there last week damaged
at least 100,000 homes in what some are calling the worst natural disaster in
the United States since Hurricane Sandy.
broadcasters in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other small communities were hard
hit, Prince Johnson says. A handful of stations, including some owned by
Cumulus Media, iHeartMedia, Townsquare Media and Guaranty Broadcasting, were
off the air for a time due to flooded transmitter sites, she says, but have returned
to broadcasting. In some cases entire transmitter buildings were flooded out, leaving
some broadcasters relying on their auxiliary sites.
has been a very traumatic event for this area. Devastating of course. The
broadcasters did everything they could to remain on the air and broadcast
emergency information for as long as they could. It’s taken a lot of effort by
some to get back on the air,” Prince Johnson says.
at least one station remains dark. WOMN(AM) in Franklinton, La., owned by
Pittman Broadcasting Services, is “still off the air and might be for a long
time,” she said Thursday. The station suffered extensive damage to its ground
Prince Johnson also is advocating for a congressional
mandate ordering all wireless providers to activate chips in smartphones enabling
the built-in FM tuners to receive local radio signals. “AT&T didn’t have
any service at the high point of the flooding. People couldn’t make calls but
if they had the (NextRadio) app on their cell phone they could have listened to
local radio for emergency information,” she says.
Broadcasters Foundation of America, a group that provides emergency financial
aid to broadcast professionals and their families who find themselves in acute
need, has begun the vetting process to get money to flood victims who lost
personal property. Prince Johnson says those broadcasters who suffered damage to
their homes will be eligible for a $1,000 emergency grant.
Prince Johnson said there was no flood damage at LAB’s own headquarters in
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