Sandy Memories From the NJ101.5 Programming Office [VIDEO]
Hi, it's Eric Johnson the Brand Manager of New Jersey 101.5.
I wanted to share with you some of my memories of Superstorm Sandy. Thankfully, my home and the radio station are far enough inland where we did not sustain any damage. I always feel bad for my wife as with each weather event, I abandon her and come to work to manage things. She is often left at home in the dark, listening to the radio during these events--as do our over 1,000,000 listeners. We heard over and over again that while New Jersey was in the dark, NJ101.5 and nj1015.com served as our listeners lifeline to vital information.
As radio people, we all know where we must be. It's in our blood. When major events are about to happen or we are surprised by breaking news, we all know it's our duty to be here for our listeners. We have such an amazing staff here at NJ101.5, and they all know what they have to do--I don't even need to call them to come in--our on air staff and producers just know what they need to do--help our listeners.
As with storms and blizzards in the recent past, we came prepared (with pillows, sleeping bags and other necessities) to spend days here to cover Sandy for New Jersey. I remember on Sunday October 28th, we started our wall to wall coverage. As you know, "the music comes out to play" each weekend, and that weekend we were getting ready for Halloween on our "Monster Hits Weekend" --we featured #1 songs and Halloween favorites, but the music quickly took a backseat to the information we needed get out to our listeners. Big Joe Henry became a newsman, sharing info on evacuations, road closures and broadcasting the latest news conferences from Governor Christie.
One huge news bulletin Big Joe shared was how there was a run on drinking water at Jersey supermarkets. As I was preparing to come in, I stopped at supermarket in Pennsylvania where they had plenty of water, so I was guilty of hoarding a bit, but it was for our staff. I also stocked up on cereal, bread, milk, soup, frozen meals--I loaded up the cart! Good thing, supermarkets were closed for days due to no power.
Offices and studios were turned into bedrooms, the conference room became a living room. I recall as the storm slammed into the Jersey shore, at 7pm on October 29th, Governor Christie blew into the station, literally! When we opened up the front door to the station, a huge gust of wind slammed the door open and in strolls the Governor. We had already scheduled "Ask The Governor" for that day, and when we asked Governor Christie if he still wanted come in he said there is no place he would rather be at that time.
Before, during and for weeks after the storm, we only had one topic on NJ101.5, all things Sandy. The storm served as a somber reminder of the power of mother nature, and a renewed appreciation for radio's ability to serve it's community like no other medium.
A few months after the storm, the National Association Of Broadcasters featured NJ101.5 in a documentary.