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NE Stations Prepare for Storm

Snow, wind, ice bearing down on some of the same areas hit by superstorm Sandy

With the big storm bearing down on the Northeast, engineers are executing their emergency preparations.

Some radio groups have facilities that were particularly hard hit by superstorm Sandy and still handling the aftermath of that storm.

Curt Yengst, assistant engineer at WAWZ(FM) in Zarephath, N.J. says that station has remote control of its transmitter site, studio, “and our emergency ‘bunker.’ The generator’s full of fuel and station personnel have the necessary contact phone numbers.”

In New Hampshire, Saga Communications CE Ira Wilner told Radio World he rushed to complete “potential problems” at a couple of tower sites so he doesn’t need to access them with a snowmobile later. “I made sure we had ample fuel on site and that all generators did not have any alarm lights lit. Our staff of course went over their normal winter storm staffing and broadcast programming that will be in effect as required.”

We spoke with WOR’s Tom Ray as he was leaving New York City; this morning he tested the generator and made sure the microwave links are valid. The generator has a full tank of fuel. That’s 4,000 gallons, which should provide power for about eight or nine days.

Greater Media is one radio group whose New Jersey shore stations are still recovering from Sandy. The broadcast group is still mitigating the damage caused by flooding at its AM site in New Brunswick, for example, according to VP Radio Engineering Milford Smith. High tides coupled with strong winds pose a possible threat to the already decimated shore area.

Similar to what the company did pre-Sandy, for this storm, engineers have made sure the generators are fully fueled and tested and any mechanical issues resolved. They’ve tested main and backup STLs, verified arrangements with snow removal contractors and fueled and prepped the four-wheel drive vehicles. The two-way radio systems have been tested and the company has made arrangements at the potentially affected stations, where appropriate, to shelter and feed any employees that might have to ride out the storm at the facility, according to Smith.

Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, is executing the company’s Standard Operating Procedures, according to Jeff Littlejohn, executive vice president of Engineering & Systems Integration. That includes making sure generators are full and additional fuel has been pre-staged, as well as testing all the vital equipment. Preventive maintenance is part of the SOP as well, he added.