During the wrath of Hurricane Ian, an American Tower site near Fort Myers Beach was flooded, and transmitters serving Renda Broadcasting, Fort Myers Broadcasting and Relevant Radio were destroyed.
But before it bore the brunt of the storm, the same site was hit by a disastrous fire just a few weeks prior. Beasley Media, which had housed its Florida operations at the site prior to the fire, incurred $800,000 in damage and lost six transmitters and a combiner.
Like Beasley, Renda Broadcasting’s WJGO(FM) lost all of its equipment in the fire due to the heat and soot — from BE transmitters to antenna combiners to processors.
Relevant Radio, whose WMYR translator is housed on-site, was able to scavenge some of its equipment after the fire; although, as most of it was damaged by smoke and acid, the group was actively looking for replacements.
After the fire, Renda’s WJGO came up with another transmitter (Harris HPX) only to have it destroyed by flooding a few weeks later during Ian.
“WJGO is off air at present,” said Jason Horvath, chief engineer and IT director for Renda Broadcasting, on Oct. 7. “This is unfortunately due to several factors including a severely damaged facility, lack of power and unknown damage to the antenna systems.
“The site experienced intense coastal flooding during the storm among the intense winds. The site sits just off the cost behind Fort Myers Beach, Fla. where most of the island was wiped away.”
While Relevant Radio’s translator equipment was mostly spared from the fire — after the flood, everything was a total loss.
John Clark is the Florida engineer for Relevant Radio. He shared photos with Radio World that depicted the scene at the tower site after Hurricane Ian barreled through.
Clark said Relevant Radio didn’t replace any equipment after the fire, but now they have no choice as the hurricane “killed everything.”
While the WYMR translator has been dark since Hurricane Ian flooded the area, as of Oct. 7, Clark says WYMR’s AM broadcast tower — which is located off-site — was only briefly off the air during the storm.
Its tower remained untouched even though its protective gate was brought down. “They were back on the air before I could even get there,” said Clark.