Local Radio, WDEV style

I found this article in Boston.com an interesting read:

Vermont’s unsung Hurricane Hero

Just as the flood waters were rising and people in Vermont were struggling to escape their homes with merely the clothing on their backs:

…when I checked the CBS Evening News moments later, I watched in astonishment as the head of the National Hurricane Center, with a sweep of his hand toward Vermont, declared that the danger had passed. The storm was over, and overblown. The national media, focused on New York City, missed where Irene hit hardest. Vermont simply didn’t exist.

This is why radio, locally owned, locally run radio is vitally important.  In the midst of the disaster, WDEV opened its phone lines to the listeners and received information about flooded roads, people needing to be rescued, evacuation centers, and a whole host of other things that kept the people informed and the potential death toll low.  All of this while the power was out, the cable system disabled, the internet unavailable and battery-powered radios were people’s only information source.

I have driven by the WDEV AM site in Waterbury, VT several times.  It sits back on a hillside off of US Route 2/I-89 with three, what look like Miliken self-supporting towers.  It signed on in 1931 and has been owned by the Squier family since 1935.  An FM signal was added in 1989.  Stations like this are one of the reasons I still work in this business.

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2 thoughts on “Local Radio, WDEV style”

  1. My father was Chief Engineer of WDEV in the late 40’s well into the 60’s, my first job was at WDEV. Got my ticket in sophmore year in HS and had transmitter shift and classical radio show. That radio station is also my reason for staying in the communications industry. My life’s path led me into television where I was one of 3 engineers that automated the first commercial television station in the world, led the development of the technical implementation of closed captioning into television sets, planned and executed the video requirements for 15 space shuttle flights, and handled video intelligence gathering projects for several of the Intel Agencies.

    Funny how small businesses, like WDEV was at that time, can foster successes far beyond what is normally expected.

  2. Gary, you are right. A lot of people look to the big players for technical “talent.” I have found many small and medium markets produce top notch technical people with less politics. BTW, I drove by the WDEV site a few days ago on my way back from Stowe, VT.

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