Those tornadoes Sunday night in Dallas sent KNON(FM) dark after a direct hit on the building housing the radio station’s studios.
Dave Chaos, station manager for KNON, was at home enjoying the Dallas Cowboys football game on TV when his radio station was literally blown away by the tornado.
“Great game but it was a horrible storm. I had a call at home that we had lost power at the radio station about an hour prior. Then the tornado hit the building and about all was lost,” Chaos says.
The office building housing the radio station in North Dallas suffered major damage, including blown out windows. In addition, part of the building’s roof was blown off. Serious damage was done to the station’s main studio and offices, Chaos said. Some of the station’s broadcast equipment was damaged by the estimated 140 mph winds and broken glass and likely won’t be salvageable.
“We had several employees at the radio station when the tornado hit. They hid in the bathroom as the tornado roared past and shook the building. It scared them but they were uninjured,” he said.
KNON returned to the air less than 36 hours after the tornado, Chaos said, and continues to broadcast from a small brick building located at its transmitter site, which is located in Cedar Hill, approximately 20 miles southwest of its former studios. The transmission site remained intact following the storm.
“We are broadcasting at full power from an empty transmitter room and plugged straight to the transmitter. It’s about a 10 x 10 room. We have a few tables with a 16-channel Behringer mixer board, two CD players and two mics,” Chaos said. “We also have a USB connection into the board so we can plug laptops in with music to play.”
Chaos says the station will have to find a new permanent home since the damage to the station’s building is so severe. “We’ve already been told by the owners of the building we will not be able to rebuild there.”
KNON, which is owned by Agape Broadcasting Foundation, broadcasts at 89.3 MHz and also streams online. It plays jazz, punk, metal, gospel, R&B, Latin, blues, country, Cajun, reggae and Native American music, according to its website.
The radio station is a “nonprofit, listener-supported community radio station, which derives its main source of income from on-air pledge drives and from underwriting or sponsorships by local small businesses.”
The National Weather Service confirmed this week that a total of nine tornados hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area last Sunday night. The strongest twister, rated as an EF-3 by the weather service, packed 140-mph winds. No one was killed by the tornados and no major injuries were reported.