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Status of Public Radio Stations in Katrina-affected Areas

Info that might be of use to Public Radio listeners...this gives a good feel for just how hard it is for people in the affected areas to get any useful information at all.

Status of Public Radio Stations in the Path of Hurricane Katrina

NPR is in close contact with stations affected by the storm, and is working to provide support where it is possible. The following was created by NPR's Station's Relations unit, in Member and Program Services, and was last updated at 5 p.m. Tuesday, 8/30. Questions? Contact Marguerite Nutter at


WWNO 89.9FM (New Orleans) - is off the air. They joined Channel 6 for rolling coverage when they evacuated on Sunday, but have since lost the signal. According to WWNO's engineer, CBS affiliate WWL 870AM may be the only radio station currently on the air in New Orleans, though he's heard that the TV stations have evacuated this morning because of rising water levels in the city. WWNO's transmitter, located in a swampy area south of the station on the University of New Orleans' campus, is under water. The generator is under water. As far as they know, their main tower is still up. They have an additional 400ft tower 30 miles east of the station in Slidell; the status of that tower is unknown at this stage.

WWOZ 90.7FM (New Orleans) - public radio station in NO, though not an NPR affiliate. Info via KRVS' engineer, the WWOZ studio has water on the first floor but the on-air and production rooms are on the second floor and they are ok. The transmitter system is under water. Before leaving New Orleans, WWOZ engineer tried to call his remote control to shut down the entire system including the emergency power generator but couldn’t get a phone line to work at the transmitter site. So he does not know the condition of his system at all.

WRKF 89.3FM (Baton Rouge) - has no power and has been running on a generator since Monday. They were off the air for around an hour Tuesday, but came back onto the air while we were talking on the phone. While they were off the air, they were getting a signal from the board, but the board was not communicating with the transmitter. Other equipment failures are also affecting them today -- their NPR-dedicated demod is not working, they are using other demods to switch manually to NPR programming.

KRVS 88.7FM (Lafayette) - They continue to operate normally, have had no hurricane-related outages. They are helping coordinate information about transmitters and other logistics for WWNO, WWOZ and WRKF, and are also checking in on public station WLSU in Hammond, LA.

KDAQ/Red River Radio Network (based in Shreveport, but with repeater stations in Alexandria, LA / El Dorado, AR / and Lufkin TX) – Shreveport was not directly affected by the hurricane in terms of weather. Broadcast operations continue normally across their coverage area, including the repeater station in Alexandria whose 100kW signal at 1000 feet reaches almost all the way into Baton Rouge. There are 600-800 refugees from New Orleans (and their pets) now housed on a gymnasium on the LSU campus, across from the station.


Mississippi Public Broadcasting (Jackson) – Executive Director Marie Antoon says MPB made it through the storm but have no power at our office. They are on generators to keep radio and television on air. Reports say MPB is doing a tremendous job providing hurricane coverage.

WJSU (Jackson) - Via a very bad cell phone connection, WJSU is off the air. No power on campus or the majority of Jackson. In terms of physical damage, Larry says he’s never seen anything like this before. Staff is safe. The Jackson State campus was evacuated yesterday, including WJSU. Larry was the last person to leave campus.

WURC (Holly Springs) - Just spoke with Wayne Fiddis. Their station is without power, but that's it. Station/equipment/staff are doing fine. Power went out Monday, but should be back Tuesday.


WHIL-FM (Mobile) - Last spoke on Monday at 1:50pm to General Manager Cat Sirten (via cell). All power is out, and nobody is physically at the station. All radio stations in the area are currently playing a local CBS-affiliates TV signal (instead of their regular programming), per arrangement with transmitter contractor. Cat says that water is reported to be at 22 feet in downtown Mobile.

WVAS (Montgomery) - no significant problems. Lots of rain and wind, a few trees down around the city. Staff is doing well. Station is on the air.

WTSU (Troy) - Staff is doing well. Station is on the air. Some rain and wind.

WBHM (Birmingham) – Program Director Michael Krall says everything is doing well. More wind, than rain. Some minor power outages. Station is on the air.


WUWF (Pensacola) - According to Station Manager Joe Vincenza, considering the significant severe weather they’ve experienced recently, they’re doing fine. A little soggy, about 50,000 without power. Station is on the air.


WKNO (Memphis) - According to PD Dan Campbell, one station of their network is down due to power outages. WKNO-Memphis is on the air. Lots of rain, some wind. Overall, everything is fine. Staff is safe.

WPLN (Nashville) - News Director Anita Bugg says everything is ok. Station is on the air.

WETS (Johnson City) - Director Wayne Winkler says they haven’t been affected too badly by the hurricane; they’re a bit north and east of the main damage. We’ve got some tornado watches in some areas, but so far it looks like the worst we’re going to get is a bit of rain for the next day or so. Station is on the air.


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