CPB issues emergency grants in NYC


In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is helping out New York-based public media stations WNET-TV and WNYC-A/FM with emergency grants of $250,000 each to aid them in continuing to air news and info about relief efforts to communities throughout New York and New Jersey, as well as to repair station infrastructure damaged in the storm.

“WNET and WNYC are public media stations truly connected to the people they serve. Their boards comprise men and women who live and work in New York and New Jersey, and they are connected to friends and families in all the communities hard hit by this devastating hurricane,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “WNET and WNYC will be on the ground, on the air and online telling this story long after other news coverage has moved on. CPB is pleased to be able to provide these additional resources so that WNET and WNYC can continue to deliver the vital news and information on which their listeners and viewers depend.”

With so many in the region without electricity, and with transportation systems still hobbled, public media has proven to be an important lifeline leading up to and in the days following Hurricane Sandy.

WNYC has reporters stationed throughout New York and New Jersey to provide updates on the recovery process and connect listeners to emergency resources.  The station has aired all recent press conferences by elected officials and has featured interviews with key officials, including New York City’s Metro Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota, and others, such as John Hockenberry, who shared his own experience being evacuated from his home in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

WNYC also created a number of maps that helped online audiences follow the path of the storm and track storm surges and flooding throughout New York and New Jersey.  Currently a “transit tracker” is keeping people up to date on the status of mass transportation systems, while a map of the five New York City boroughs is providing a color-coded update on traffic jams.

On television, WNET and WNET-owned NJTV began broadcasting extensive Hurricane Sandy coverage last Sunday and continued throughout the duration of the storm with live updates, programming and press conferences with Governor Christie and other state and local officials.  In addition, NJTV provided streaming coverage on their website. Since many New Jersey citizens are still without electricity, NJTV’s web reporting remains a valuable resource for thousands of people.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s pretty humbling to see how much has been affected in the media biz nationwide, due to so many companies in the NYC metro area being affected by Sandy. Commercial stations in that market are also going to lose a good deal of local ad dollars due to businesses being flooded and without power.