Houston Media Comes Together As Harvey Devastation Continues


In a testament to teamwork and an industry coming together in times of need, TEGNA-owned CBS affiliate KHOU-11 resumed broadcasts late Sunday from Houston Public Media studios with limited capabilities and the assistance of two co-owned stations in Denver and Dallas, respectively.

On the radio side, a variety of efforts have been seen as the Houston market prepared midday Monday for even more flooding and rain tied to Hurricane Harvey.

At iHeartMedia‘s KTRH-AM 740, non-stop storm coverage has been since 8am Friday.

Eddie Martiny, iHeart’s Houston Region President, noted in an internal memo to employees shared by the blog Media Confidential that one station vehicle was lost due to flooding and that the broadcast towers for Class B KPRC-AM 950 have been lost. KPRC uses 1 daytime tower and 3 daytime towers for a 5kw signal from facilities in Northeast Houston off Liberty Road and Houston’s North Loop, Interstate 610. A message on KPRC’s web page directs listeners to KTRH.

“I am amazed and appreciative of the constant support we’ve received from iHeart around the country,” Martiny said, singling out executives Tony Coles, Kevin LeGrett, Jeff Littlejohn, Tom Cox, Chris Berry, Gene Romano and Scott Logeman for being in constant contact and asking what they can do to help. “That’s not to mention the hundreds of employees from around the country who continue to check in.”

Meanwhile, as of 10:30am CT Cumulus Media‘s CHR/Pop KRBE-FM 104.1 remained live and local, with midday host Freddy Cruz offering information in between hit music. At Cox Media Group‘s Classic Rock KHPT-FM & KGLK-FM “The Eagle” and Country KKBQ-FM “93Q”, music was heard in the 10am hour on both stations with live hosts offering weather updates. Urban One’s CHR/Rhythmic KBXX-FM 97.9 “The Box” was on live at 10:50am CT with members of The Madd Hatta Morning Show. The company’s top-rated Urban AC KMJQ-FM “Majic 102.1” was offering a mix of contemporary Gospel and R&B music in between its own live storm updates.

At 11:20am, a live caller noting that she was stranded was put on the air at KMJQ, noting that 14 people including a 17-year-old with special needs were huddled in the second floor of a flooded home at 12730 City Green Trail. The caller was unable to get through to any emergency services line and called Majic as a last-ditch plea for help.

CBS Radio‘s Houston radio stations took a unified approach to serving listeners, especially important for CBS as KHOU-11 struggled to keep its coverage on the air. All AMs and FMs (except Spanish Contemporary KLOL-FM “Mega 101”) are simulcasting, with the KHMX Morning Mix hosts Sarah Pepper, Geoff Sheen, and Lauren Kelly joining KILT-FM Morning Bull hosts George, Mo and “Cowboy Dave” joining together on Sunday to begin the joint coverage.

As of 11am ET Sunday, some 9 radio stations are out of service the impacted region of Texas:

  • Liberman Broadcasting‘s Class C KJOJ-FM 103.3 in Freeport, Tex. Simulcast partner KTJM-FM 98.5 in Port Arthur, Tex. was still on the air with the station’s “La Raza” regional Mexican programming as of midday Sunday.
  • In Corpus Christi, iHeartRadio’s News/Talk KKTX-AM 1360 and Classic Regional Mexican KUNO-AM 1400 “El Patrón”; and Malkan Interactive‘s Talk KEYS-AM 1440, heritage CHR/Pop KZFM-FM 95.5 and KKBA-FM 92.7 licensed to nearby Kingsville
  • American Family Radio’s KKWV-FM 88.1 in Aransas Pass and KAYK-FM 88.5 in Victoria

While these radio stations are not on the air, no TV stations were taken off the air; this was before KHOU’s temporary signal loss.

Meanwhile, as of 11am Eastern on Sunday cellular and data services was heavily impacted in four Texas counties. In Aransas County, 18 of 19 cell sites were inoperable; Some 23 of 27 cell towers in Calhoun County were out. In Refugio County, 22 of 26 cell towers were not operating, while San Patricio County saw 30 of its 58 cell towers knocked offline.

The FCC as of Noon Eastern had not released a Hurricane Harvey update on the status of stations that are not presently broadcasting, cell towers not in operations, or MVPDs that have gone dark due to the storm’s damage.