A 2,000-foot tower in Vacherie, La., co-owned by iHeartMedia and Cumulus, was destroyed during Hurricane Ida.
According to Jeff Littlejohn, executive VP, engineering and systems for iHeartMedia, the tower held the antennas of FM stations KVDU “104.1 The Spot,” owned by iHeart and licensed to Houma, La., and WZRH “Alt 92.3,” licensed to Laplace and owned by Cumulus.
Both are 100 kW stations.
“We’ve moved KVDU to operate from an existing aux tower and it is still serving the core New Orleans population,” Littlejohn said. “We are reviewing all long-term options.” He said no one was hurt.
WZRH posted on Facebook late Tuesday, “Unfortunately Hurricane Ida did a number to our broadcast tower. If things go according to plan, we’ll be back up at some capacity on ALT923.com and our ALT923fm app. Our hope is to get out as much information as possible to help our communities in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. We live here too.”
The tower is on Dicks Road in Vacherie in St. James Parish. It was built in 1988, according to FCCInfo.com.
Cumulus Media SVP, Technology & Operations Conrad Trautmann said on Wednesday: “Ida created widespread power outages across all of the New Orleans area, impacting all of our stations. Our engineering teams have worked tirelessly and have three of the stations back on the air serving the community.”
The fourth station, he said, was WZRH(FM). He said the Vacherie tower came down with only about 150 feet still standing.
“Thankfully, nobody was injured and we continue to assess the full extent of the damage. Our backup facility for that station remains without power so we are working for another solution to get that station back on air as soon as possible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community as the recovery process continues and we are doing our part in that recovery.”
Overall, at midday Wednesday, the FCC listed eight FM, five AM and four TV stations that had checked in to say they were off the air because of Ida.
The FM signals that had reported being off the air were KKND, KVDU, W208FC, WJDR, WQUE-FM, WSSM, WYLD-FM and WZRH.
The AM stations off the air were WCJU, WHSY, WSHO, WWWL and WYLD.
The TVs were KFOL, WGNO, WNOL-TV and WYES-DT.
The commission also granted an emergency request from the ARRL for a temporary waiver to permit higher symbol rate data transmissions for Hurricane Ida traffic in amateur radio.