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Radio Stations Feel Harvey Impact

Some were off the air; iHeart details impact on its operations

Story has been updated with new information. Radio World welcomes news or updates from any radio broadcasters affected by Harvey. Email [email protected].

There were at least nine radio stations out of service due to the effects of former Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, all in Texas, as of Monday.

KKTX, KUNO, KPRC, KKWV, KAYK, KMKS, KZFM, KKBA and KEYS had notified the FCC Disaster Information Reporting System that they were off. (KJOJ-FM was restored to service but KMKS was added since Sunday’s report.) DIRS is a voluntary online system that communications providers — including broadcasters — can use to report status of infrastructure and “situational awareness information” during a crisis.

The commission asked that communications providers in the affected areas “expeditiously submit and update information” through DIRS regarding the status of communications equipment, restoration efforts and power. The portal is here. If you haven’t already signed up, you will be asked to first provide contact information and obtain a User ID.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement Monday afternoon: “The worst of tragedies brings out the best in people. In Harvey’s wake, first responders and everyday citizens have heroically stepped up to the plate to help their fellow Americans. Broadcasters and other news outlets have also played a critical role in conveying emergency information, and in some cases, even coordinating live, on-air rescues. Everyone who is pitching in deserves our gratitude and support. We’re all in this together.”

Separately, iHeartMedia on Sunday evening issued a summary of activities at its businesses. The company said its broadcast radio, digital and billboard operations were involved to inform people in the Corpus Christi, Houston and Austin areas.

In Corpus Christi, all stations were simulcasting News Radio 740 KTRH(FM) out of Houston. “K99 Country, Big 93.9 and Tejano 99.9 are broadcasting in English and Spanish to address the needs of the both communities,” the company said in the Sunday evening summary. “The Red Cross is featured across all of iHeartMedia Corpus Christi’s radio station websites for listeners to easily find information and to encourage donations.” The local iHeart office was working with the Red Cross to coordinate post-storm relief efforts; the company said its displaced employees were able to use studios in McAllen/Brownsville as emergency relief studios.

“In Houston, iHeartMedia’s local staff has been broadcasting in long-form nonstop since 8 a.m. on Friday, as well as reporting on Facebook Live to provide local listeners with up-to-date information and emergency resources,” it continued. “Though the region lost a station’s vehicle, multiple employees’ homes are affected and KPRC-FM’s transmitter is down due to water damage, iHeartMedia continues to broadcast from our five remaining stations (Sunny 99.1, 94.5 The Buzz, 93.7 The Beat, KTRH News Radio 740, and Sports Talk 790 AM) with help from on-air talent, operational staff, sellers and managers who are on-site to answer phones and direct listeners to the appropriate community resources.”

In Austin, precautions were put in place for seven iHeart stations: 96.7 KISS FM, 102.3 The Beat, KASE 101, KVET 98.1, AM 1300 The Zone, 97.5 Pride Radio, and Tu 103.1. “They have joined with iHeartMedia’s San Antonio stations to secure a semi-truck of ice, water and fuel that will deploy to the Gulf Coast as soon as recovery efforts begin. Supplementary relief efforts are being arranged.”

Clear Channel Outdoor billboards in San Antonio and Houston are promoting emergency coverage from News Radio 1200 (WOAI-AM) and News Radio 740. The company’s hundreds of station websites are featuring a call to donate to the American Red Cross.

(The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite show the temperature at the top of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. as the storm approached Texas. Photo used under Creative CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO license.)