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CBS Radio Station in New York Continues Hurricane Sandy Coverage Despite Equipment Damage

CBS Radio Logo - H 2012

News station 1010WINS was forced off AM radio, but it has been simulcasting on the frequency of another station.

With Hurricane Sandy wiping out cable TV and power in many boroughs of New York City, many in the Big Apple have turned to cell phones, Twitter and Facebook. But traditional radio has also played a key role in keeping people informed.

Some in the radio industry though are also dealing with hurricane damage. Popular New York news station 1010 WINS, part of CBS Radio, overnight reported damage to its equipment and has been broadcasting with continuing Sandy coverage on a different frequency with the help of emergency power.

"#Sandy has forced #1010WINS off AM radio," the station tweeted in the early Tuesday morning hours. "We are now simulcasting on WCBS-FM 101.1 continuing storm coverage at http://newyork.cbslocal.com."

"We are not quite sure when we will have it back," a host told 1010WINS listeners about the station's usual frequency early Tuesday.

Other stations were also expected to face power and equipment issues as 6 million were reported to be without electricity Tuesday morning in the New York City area.

Trade publication Radio Ink reported that CBS radio affiliate WTOP in Washington, D.C. saw its web site log more than 2 million page views and 280,000 unique users ahead of the storm's arrival as many stations' sites drew higher than usual traffic. It didn't detail how big an increase over typical traffic levels that represented for the station.

Radio Ink also quoted an interview with Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate who urged people to turn to traditional radio in case other media fail. "One of the things you don't really think about anymore is having a battery-powered radio or hand-cranked radio to get news from local broadcasters," he said. "The Internet may go out, cell phones will be congested, radio is oftentimes the way to get those important messages about what's going on in the local community."

Meanwhile, satellite radio giant Sirius XM Radio has been offering Hurricane Sandy coverage by airing the Weather Channel nonstop on Sirius channel 184 and XM channel 1. Advisories with extended coverage have also been airing hourly on Sirius XM's First Traffic and Weather channels.

National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith said: "I salute the remarkable work of our radio and TV station colleagues now putting themselves in harm's way to keep millions of people safe and informed on the devastation of this deadly storm."

Email: Georg.SzalaI@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai