“All hands on deck” was the byword Thursday afternoon for radio engineers on much of the eastern seaboard — and at their corporate offices — as broadcasters turned from sharing stories about the recent earthquake and focused more on growing worries about Hurricane Irene.
Steve Davis, senior vice president, engineering & capital management of Clear Channel Radio, used the “on-deck” phrase in describing planning underway among his staff, particularly those in charge of facilities from South Carolina on up north.
According to ABC News, evacuation orders were issued along the coast of North Carolina, and emergency declarations were being made by states as far north as New Jersey. ABC quoted a public information officer for Dare County, N.C., calling it “a very, very serious situation.” Amtrak service south of Washington was cancelled.
Like other broadcasters with facilities on the East Coast, Clear Channel was tracking the storm closely; and its engineering department arranged a conference planning call for Thursday afternoon for its affected markets.
“As a precautionary measure, we have checked that all of our DARP vehicles are working, fueled and ready to roll … General readiness info was sent out via email to the markets on Monday,” Davis told Radio World. DARP is the company’s disaster assistance and response program.
At Cumulus, Gary Kline said, “We have held several calls and meetings with our eastern seaboard and East Coast engineers and managers,” to review disaster planning even while hoping the storm would turn away or diminish.
“As you might imagine, our North Carolina and South Carolina engineering team is pretty used to this drill,” Kline said. “But our folks in Bridgeport and Westchester, for instance, don’t see Category 2 or 3 storms every day.
“We think we are as prepared as we can be. We have several seasoned hurricane engineers in other markets on stand-by to assist if needed.”
Noting that the earthquake had quickly been followed by the storm threat, one engineering executive remarked to Radio World: “As you well know, it’s always something!”