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National Association of Broadcasters

Local Radio Airs Critical Emergency Information

Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery AUDIO

On August 18, 2007, when 17 inches of rain caused roads and bridges to collapse and rail and telephone services to shut down, KAGE-AM/FM, KWNO-AM/FM and KHME-FM in Winona, Minn., simulcast emergency reports throughout the night. When local emergency workers called at 10 p.m. to say Garvin Brook and Rush Creek were rising and shelters were being set up, the Winona Radio cluster began broadcasting evacuation information. The next morning, on-the-scene news reports from the flooded communities alerted listeners to the extent of the damage. Intensive news coverage, interviews and public service announcements continued for four months. The stations worked to inform those affected by the flood on where to get help, to recruit volunteers and to get the word out about applying for government aid programs. "FEMA and Homeland Security personnel came for so many interviews they had their own coffee cups at the studios," said owner Jerry Papenfuss. To date, the stations have aired more than 500 news stories related to the flood. Recovery in the area continues with the rebuilding of homes and businesses.

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