Yesterday, we spoke with Ken Carson from LM Communications in Charleston, SC, about how his stations were preparing for Hurricane Florence. Today, we move up the coast to North Carolina and hear from Curtis Media President and COO Trip Savery about how this monster storm will affect his team. Trip tells Radio Ink Thursday and Friday are the big days.
Radio Ink: What’s the latest on what you are hearing about where this will land?
Trip Savery: Thursday afternoon we will see impacts with tropical force winds and storm surge in our coastal communities. Friday morning is when landfall is projected and it could be anywhere along the North or South Carolina coast. Hurricanes are very hard to predict, and once it hits land it really depends upon how far inland the winds extend and how much rain the storm brings with it. Our worst situation would be high winds taking down trees and power lines followed by the storm stalling inland with flooding from 10 to 20 inches of rain.
Radio Ink: If the forecast is accurate now how will that impact Curtis’ facilities?
Trip Savery: Our engineers and programming staffs are ready to respond to any transmitter or studio issues. We have spent the past few days re-testing all of our generators and backup systems. With more than 50 signals across the state, we are certain to have some impacts on our facilities.
Radio Ink: How are you preparing to stay on the air?
Trip Savery: Our full time staffs are scheduled to be in hotels near our broadcast facilities across the state throughout the weekend. They will be broadcasting as long as necessary to insure the public stays informed during and after the storm. The impacts of this storm will likely continue well into next week. It is going to be a marathon for our on-air staff and engineers.
Radio Ink: If you lost power for an extended period of time, will you be able to stay on the air the entire time? How?
Trip Savery: We have systems in place to stay on the air at our studios and transmitter sites. Our general managers, programming, and engineering staffs are all committed to doing our utmost to stay on the air.
Radio Ink: What do you tell your team when something like this approaches?
Trip Savery: It’s times like this when live and local radio becomes even more real and relevant. We live in the communities which we serve and our stations are a critical connection to our friends, families, and neighbors in times of need like this. That is when we have our greatest responsibility as broadcasters to insure the public has the information they need.
Radio Ink: How is the community preparing and what are you broadcasting to them to help them prepare?
Trip Savery: In addition to our Curtis Media Group stations, we have more than 80 affiliates across the state through our North Carolina News Network, so we reach about a third of all North Carolinians every day. However, every community will be impacted differently. We have coordinated our newsrooms across the state and we are on the air right now with three storm updates per hour customized for each region. We are also broadcasting storm preparation tips. In advance of the storm, our local stations are letting listeners know which gas stations still have fuel, and where they can find generators and bottled water.
Radio Ink: Is the community taking this seriously?
Trip Savery: Yes. We have had major impacts in the past from hurricanes Fran in 1996 and Floyd in 1999. We had significant flooding two years ago from Hurricane Matthew which some communities are still recovering from. From the mountains to the coast, everyone across the state is taking this very seriously.
Radio Ink: It’s times like this that radio shines, wouldn’t you agree?
Trip Savery: We have the greatest reach of any medium, and our listeners are engaged with us every day. When the power goes out, and the radios come on, our ability to respond, communicate, and serve the public makes us very proud to be broadcasters.
Reach out to Trip to wish him and his team good luck this week at [email protected]