Remembering Hurricane Sandy 7 years later
One of the nights I'll never forget in my time here on New Jersey 101.5 was the night Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey with winds up to 80 miles per hour. It was seven years ago today, yet it seems like only yesterday. Cue the flashback sequence.
Sandy hit New Jersey on a Monday. The night before, our then-brand manager Eric Johnson had asked me to come in and do a "Sandy warmup" show. We actually took the music off and discussed preparations for the storm. It was very hard for me because of the Giants playing the Cowboys, which had one of my eyes fixed on the game. I had even come in at 4 p.m. so that I could watch it until I went on at 7 p.m.
When I got to the station, there was food all over the place. Stacks of pizza boxes everywhere. Eric Johnson had also gone grocery shopping and brought all kinds of canned goods as we prepared to be there for the long haul. One by one station personnel starting filing in preparing to stay for the night. I stayed until 12am, then went home to be with my wife and 6-year-old twins, knowing I'd be returning the next day.
I stayed home as long as I could, but the longer I remained the harder the drivein was going to be. I left for work around 3 p.m., and when I got to the station it was like one big campout with people bringing sleeping bags and staking out their space as well as lots of eating and drinking. I wasn't going on until 8 p.m. because of Gov. Christie coming in at 7 p.m. for "Ask The Governor." He wanted to be here because he knew it was the best place to reach the most amount of people.
I was supposed to be on from 8 p.m. to midnight, but Ray Rossi, who followed me, asked me to stay, which I would gladly do to be on with Erassamo. Everything was going just fine until the transmitter got knocked off the air around 10 p.m. We also lost power and were relying on a backup generator that only worked in the air studio. Since we were also broadcasting online, we had to keep going. Then around 3 a.m., the phones went down, leaving Ray and I talking to each other. It was an adventure leaving the studio and stepping over people in the dark trying to find the bathroom.
I stayed until 5 a.m. because I wanted to get home to my wife and kids. Since we had no Internet or phones, there was no "First Jersey News," so we reran "Ask The Governor."
Coming home, the roads into Roosevelt were blocked by fallen trees, causing me to take a very long route to get in. That night, it was back to the station, where Ray and I did 8 p.m. to midnight again.
As bad as Sandy was, it galvanized New Jersey 101.5 to our listeners, many of which were without power and listening to us on battery-powered radios. To this day, people still thank us for getting them through Sandy. Also to this day, it's one of the fondest memories of my radio career.
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