United States

Yet more storms affecting radio stations – Tampa FL.
With Ian Threatening, Tampa Radio Moves Into Storm Coverage Mode.

It was the calm before the storm in Florida Tuesday afternoon as Ian emerged into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 3 hurricane. The impact on Florida is expected to be severe, especially in the heavily populated Tampa and Fort Myers areas. iHeartMedia news/talk “NewsRadio” WFLA Tampa (970) shifted into wall-to-wall coverage early Tuesday with plans to remain in that mode through the duration of the storm. As the situation deteriorates, Tampa sister music FMs “98 Rock” WXTB, AC “Mix 100.7” WMTX, country WFUS, CHR WFLZ and urban contemporary WBTP planned to simulcast WFLA’s coverage. For now, iHeart’s 13 other stations in the Tampa-Sarasota region are airing news reports from WFLA every 15 minutes.

Florida is one of iHeart’s eight regional news centers. In addition to a statewide broadcast it will be providing, all of its stations in the state have partnerships with local television stations to bolster their own people in the market, Chris Berry, iHeartMedia Executive VP of News/Talk Programming, told Inside Radio.

“We have relocated some of our news anchor staff to Orlando, who will be able to continue to broadcast if there is any kind of a disruption at our studios in Tampa,” Berry said. Engineers from other markets have been brought into Florida should stations lose transmitter facilities or electricity. “In addition to our primary broadcast studios, we have the ability to relocate, if necessary, to a more hardened emergency broadcast location,” Berry added.

The plan is to simulcast throughout the Gulf Coast region while providing local content for sister stations, from Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Tampa up the Gulf Coast into Tallahassee and potentially Pensacola and Panama City, if needed.

“We have a lot of resources that are already in the state – in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami – and we have the ability to move people around as necessary to provide reporting on the ground and also from the studio,” said Berry.

Beasley Storm Center Updates

Beasley Media Group’s Tampa stations, including country WQYK and classic hits WRBQ, were promoting and airing hourly updates Tuesday with their ABC TV partner, amidst regular programming, while pointing listeners to their websites. Beasley stations also sent emails to their listener databases with a link to follow their Storm Center updates and “tips to get you through a hurricane” from ABC Action News meteorologist Denis Phillips.

CMG Airing Multiple Updates Per Hour

Cox Media Group’s Tampa music stations were following a similar blueprint, interspersing essential storm-related news with regular programming. “Our programming, content and engineering teams in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville have been preparing for several days and are ready to give critical life-saving updates to our audiences,” CMG Radio VP of Audience & Operations Chris Eagan told Inside Radio. “Our stations are updating weather, closings, evacuation and giving news updates multiple times per hour to ensure listeners have the information they need and know how to stay safe.”

CMG news/talk WHPT Tampa was in storm coverage mode Tuesday although with the “real raw radio” attitude you would expect from “The Bone.” In addition to coverage from its local hosts, WHPT was airing updates from “Fox 13” WTVT-TV chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto and local officials.

Cox owns television stations in Orlando and Jacksonville that it can partner with for more information and extended coverage. The company’s Tampa cluster has long standing content-sharing partnerships with “Fox 13” WTVT-TV and CBS affiliate “10 Tampa Bay” WTSP-TV.

“We’re utilizing all of our assets (on air, social, digital, push alerts from our station apps etc.) to make sure our audiences can get the information they need anywhere and everywhere,” Eagan said.


Steve Whitt to mwcircle iog (2022-09-28)