Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas as a Category 5 and later Category 4 hurricane on September 1 and 2, killing seven as of press time with the death toll expected to rise. Television networks, local affiliates and radio stations provided extensive, potentially life-saving coverage as Hurricane Dorian approached Florida.
CBS News, NBC News, ABC News and Berkshire Hathaway’s ABC affiliate WPLG-TV Fort Lauderdale sent reporters to the Bahamas to cover the damage, while also keep eyes on Dorian’s approach towards Jacksonville, Fla. Deadlinedetailed the challenges faced in covering a storm that was so difficult to track. iHeartRadio, Entercom, Cox Media Group, Hubbard and JVC were also among the multitudes of broadcasters prepared to deliver emergency information to their local communities.
The Orlando Sentinelhighlighted on September 2 the role local TV stations in Florida have played as Hurricane Dorian approached landfall in the state.
“In Orlando, we have many fine meteorologists who deliver the information clearly and simply. Thanks for doing your jobs effectively — and we’re counting on you,” wrote Orlando Sentinel columnist Hal Boedeker.
“It’s vitally important television,” Boedeker continued. “It could keep you alive.”
In addition to coverage, stations quickly planned relief efforts in the Bahamas. WPLG-TV partnered with two South Florida relief efforts that supported the Bahamas. Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach, Fla., cluster - WRMF-FM, WIRK-FM, WMBX-FM, WEAT-FM, WFTL-AM, and WMEN-AM - held a supply drive on September 4 - 5. iHeartMedia Miami stations WHYI-FM, WZTU-FM, WMIA-FM, WMIB-FM, WBGG-FM, WIOD-AM and WINZ-AM planned to broadcast live and collect goods on September 5 - 6 for the #iHeartBahamas Relief Effort. Items collected included new generators, plywood, construction materials, tents, gas cans, baby diapers and food, blankets, cots, sleeping bags, air mattresses, tarps and pet food.