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Radio Stepped Up as Sandy Pounded East Coast

Broadcasters can contact FCC Operations Center, Disaster Information Reporting System, Broadcasters Foundation of America for assistance

As Hurricane Sandy increased in force, radio stations along the East coast stepped up their news and information delivery, either through an all-hands-on deck effort, or with music stations simulcasting their sister stations’ news efforts.

Executives hope long before the winds die down and flood waters recede, it will become evident how hurricane prep helped.

Station engineers began that effort last week, making sure fuel was available for generators at transmitter sites. Many also helped to organize items like extra batteries, as well as food and bottled water for staff staying at the station.

That’s the case with WSGB(FM) PD Rob Bauman, who told the Poconos Record that the facility as well as sister station WVPO(AM) learned a few things when they lost power when Hurricane Irene blew in in August of 2011. Back then, the stations called in extra staff to answer phones and update listeners, but the power went out and the emergency back-up studio lights didn’t work. The generator could only power the transmission equipment, not studio lights, phones or computers.

In advance of Hurricane Sandy, the stations brought in extra generators and extra flashlights. 

The FCC is coordinating with FEMA to ensure that broadcasters have the assistance they need to maintain or restore their facilities to ensure the public receives up-to-date and timely emergency information. The FCC reminds broadcasters who need to contact the commission about any hurricane-related emergency communications issues that its operations center is available. The FCC Operations Center can assist with STAs, waivers and other emergency requests.

Call (202) 418-1122 or email: FCCOPCenter@fcc.gov.

The FCC also encouraged broadcasters who have not done so to register in the Disaster Information Reporting System; there, they can report their operating status and request assistance. Broadcasters can complete their enrollment here.

And finally, New Jersey Broadcasters Association President Paul Rotella said in an e-mail that Broadcasters Foundation of America President Jim Thomson wanted him to reach out and remind stations that the BFoA helps broadcasters “in times of unexpected need, especially broadcasters caught in the crosshairs of the approaching storm, or in its aftermath.”

The BFoA responded rapidly to the deadly tornadoes across the mid-west last year with $41,000.00 in emergency grants dispatched almost immediately after the tornadoes hit.

Emergency grants can be used to buy food, clothing and even emergency shelter during and after Broadcasters. Apply by contacting Thomson at (212) 373-8250 or via email: jim@thebfoa.org.

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