TAMARAC, FLA. — After experiencing a near-calamitous scenario at its corporate offices and the business offices and studios for its Fort Myers-Naples, Fla., station group, business activities at Beasley Media Group on Wednesday afternoon returned to normal following the arrival and damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
The same cannot be said for Streamline Publishing‘s Radio + Television Business Report and co-owned Radio INK.
“We are very pleased to share with you that our team continues to do an incredible job as we move forward at all of our locations,” Beasley VP/Corporate Communications Heidi Raphael said just minutes before RBR+TVBR’s 4pm Eastern editorial deadline on Tuesday. “There is a limited staff in the corporate office today. Things are running but we on generators.”
Beasley’s corporate offices are located on the west side of U.S. 41, just north of Golden Gate Parkway— the main east-west route to Interstate 75.
“The building did not have any flooding issues,” Raphael said. “Downed trees and branches are currently being removed. We are working to restore operations. Power for the office is being run via a generator.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Raphael’s update said the corporate office was up and running, with some staff working from the facility; many South Floridians are reporting to work only to escape their power-absent homes, taking family members with them.
Raphael noted in an email communication on Monday that Mike Cooney and Corporate Network Manager Director Ron Randall were completing final testing on the company’s systems. “Our hope is to be operational soon and accessible for our staff by the end of the week,” she said.
Beasley’s Southwest Florida radio group is located in a different facility, at U.S. 41 and Estero Parkway, to the north.
This facility suffered severe flood damage, and on Monday all of the cluster’s radio stations were forced off the air.
By 6:45pm Monday, all of Beasley’s stations except WXKB-FM 103.9 and WWCN-FM “ESPN Radio” 99.3 were back on the air.
However, as of 3:40pm Eastern Tuesday (9/12) all of Beasley’s Fort Myers-Naples stations have returned to the air, and at full power. “Our engineering team installed a new transmitter in Fort Myers this morning,” Raphael said.
MAJOR AM OUTTAGES ON EAST COAST
As Southwest Florida radio stations and Beasley’s corporate office recovered from Hurricane Irma, so did Streamline Publishing’s Radio INK. Editor-in-Chief Ed Ryan is based in Fort Myers and did not lose power.
That was not the case for Radio + Television Business Report‘s Hollywood, Fla., editorial headquarters. Power remains out, and a boil-water alert was in place throughout Sept. 11. Duties resumed this morning from Tamarac, Fla., where power and internet returned Monday evening after 33 hours.
Still, power outtages persist across Miami-Dade County; WDNA-FM 88.9 was back on the air today after being off all day Monday.
Also off as of 6pm Monday: iHeartRadio’s WIOD-AM 610 in Miami, the designated emergency information station. This was particularly troubling, as all iHeartRadio FMs had resumed regular programming.
With hundreds of thousands of people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties still without power, Entercom AC WLYF-FM “101.5 Lite FM” was the lone station throughout Monday afternoon to continuously offer news updates from its TV partner, WPLG-10, an ABC affiliate owned by Berkshire Hathaway. This coverage was combined with music and live updates from air personalities Julie Guy and Gayle Garton.
Meanwhile, three Boca Raton-based Beasley AMs including WSBR-AM 740 returned Wednesday via generator power. Ongoing power outages persisted Tuesday evening just to the north of Streamline Publishing’s headquarters, including at tony Mizner Park.
At Beasley, teams have already swung into action across all of its markets with its Beasley Best Community of Caring Hurricane Irma Relief Effort.
“Beasley Media Group stations across the country are working together to encourage listeners to donate to the Red Cross, as well as will be doing outreach and hosting on-site collection events to assist those impacted by the storm,” Raphael said.
SANDY ACT GETS SENATE OK
While Floridians recover from Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Senate last night passed the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act (SANDy Act).
This was met with applause from NAB EVP/Communications Dennis Wharton, who said, “NAB applauds the Senate’s passage of the SANDy Act and urges its quick signature into law by the President. As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have demonstrated, hometown radio and TV stations play a lifesaving role as ‘first informers’ during times of emergencies, and this legislation will provide local broadcasters with access to vital resources to stay on the air when disaster strikes. We are grateful to Rep. Pallone for spearheading this effort after he witnessed firsthand the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and thank Sens. Cantwell, Booker, Thune, Rubio, Nelson, Menendez and Schumer for their leadership in the Senate.”
RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION: Hats off to the local media who helped us here in South Florida get through Hurricane Irma. However, we salute local TV: WPEC-12 in West Palm Beach, WBBH-2 in Fort Myers-Naples, and WTVJ-6 in Miami each get gold stars for their incredible reporting and non-stop coverage. We also salute WSVN-7 and Cox Media Group for giving the station plenty of radio stations to tune in from. Once the power went out, all we had for information was a radio. The iHeart stations were not coming in clear; Cox Media Group stations were audible, as were CBS Radio stations simulcasting WFOR-4. But, it was WTVJ meteorologist John Morales who deserves the Bryan Norcross Award for Best Weathercaster in a time of panic. On Sunday night, tornado warnings were flying left and right, and he kept his composure while pleading to iHeart executives to get his voice out on the air. WIOD-AM was using WHYI-FM “Y-100” as a partner with NBC6. Morales’ demeanor and exceptional delivery helped us greatly. Once Alpha Media‘s WEAT-FM 107.9 went dark, we could turn to WRMF-FM 97.9 for more localized coverage of Boca Raton and northern Broward County. The CBS12 team was great. We only wish we could say more about the efforts of local radio hosts. But, we salute Entercom and WLYF PD Rob Sidney for remaining the lone Miami-based radio station to provide information to thousands of people without TV due to power and internet outtages. That included us. Did Miami radio prematurely go back to regularly scheduled programming? Yes. Is Rob our hero? Yes.