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Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery
When a nor’easter left the area with all lights out, WJJR-FM in Rutland, Vt., provided its community a voice in the dark. The station broke from its regular format for three days, keeping the community up-to-date until power was restored to homes and businesses. The storm brought strong winds, snow and flooding, taking down thousands of trees and leaving power lines in the streets. WJJR advised listeners of drivable streets and where to get needed supplies, such as kerosene. The mayor, fire chief, police officers and utility companies gave live updates from the station and used airwaves to get safety information out to the public, such as how to avoid stepping on a live wire. Throughout the ordeal, calls came pouring in to the station. WJJR’s Terry Jay took one call from a woman who needed a generator for her husband’s oxygen tank. Within 40 minutes of airing the information, a listener with a generator was en route to her house bringing the power of radio into focus. "There was not one injury, and I think we had something to do with it," said Jay. "This is the reason why we got into radio in the first place."
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