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Remembering AM Radio’s Value in Puerto Rico

Think your generator isn’t important? Think again

As power outages and other major challenges continue to confront Puerto Rico more than seven months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, it’s hard to imagine any positive consequences that may have come from the storm. 

But Ryan Bell of the Columbia Journalism Review highlighted one bright spot in a recent article: The natural disaster may have inadvertently reinvigorated AM radio.

He points to Mayagüez-based station WKJB(AM), which remained on air during and after the hurricane — in part because the station had learned the hard way when Hurricane Georges blew through the island in 1998. The staff had installed a backup power generator and a reinforced antenna.

[Even if your station isn’t in the path of hurricane season, Marty Hadfield can teach you about emergency preparedness — his station survived Hurricane Katrina.]

The information the station and its mostly volunteer staff put on the air was crucial during the month-plus period that television station were off the air and digital publications were off line.

Read the full CJR story online here. It’s a good reminder about the importance of emergency preparedness as we head into another hurricane season.