On Monday, August 10th a severe storm struck parts of the Midwest with sustained winds in excess of 70 mph. The storm, similar to a hurricane had gusts as high as 120 mph and took out trees, roofs and power lines leaving almost 2 million customers without power.
The Cedar Rapids studios of KFMW, Rock 108 and 105.7 KOKZ lost electricity just as Director of Programming, Jeff Winfield was about to update the storm warnings, “97% of Linn County was without power. Over the next 48 hours, with generator help, we were able to share information on-air and on-line, but it wasn’t until Wednesday night when power was restored to our studios that we were back to fully operational. At every step of the way, our on-air team was a source of up-to-date information which continues even now as the area slowly recovers.”
With the power of generators and the expertise of Corporate Director of Engineering, George Nicholas, and Waterloo engineer Mark Schumacher, the stations were back on-the-air and streaming by dinnertime.
George and his furry sidekick Molly spent countless hours at the studios – making sure generators were fueled and operating. Power was finally restored two and a half days later.
You have probably heard about Iowa Nice, but haven’t seen it until disaster strikes. Businesses gave out free food, donating to people who had lost everything. Strangers opened their homes to people needing a place to stay, a hot meal or a break from the heat.
Surprisingly, media coverage outside of the area hasn’t shown the rest of the country the severity and magnitude of the devastation in the region. Jeff Stein, KXEL’s Program Director has helped to report on the situation for national radio shows including the Jim Bohannon Show.
“Dedication from our staff was a top priority without even being asked” said NRG Market Manager, Allyson Hillman. “Every single person stepped up their game to make sure we were delivering the necessary updates of crucial information to our listeners. The #IOWAStrong is completely accurate and very heartwarming and refreshing. We know we will get through this together because we are all in this together.”
The videos below give a look at the storm and the aftermath that you might not have seen elsewhere.