How Hurricane Sandy Affected Sports Radio
On October 29, Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast. It would later be given “superstorm” status, as it became a “post-tropical cyclone.”
As a result, millions of residents are without power, and it could take days – maybe weeks – for subway systems to return to normal.
And through it all, it was up to sports radio to maintain a sense of normalcy.
Of course, news and information were available on many television and radio stations, to those that who were still able to receive them.
But for those that wanted to talk about the Jets’ loss or the Giants’ near-loss, or hear the Monday Night Football game, that was feasible, as well.
Let’s start with the New York market. On Monday, WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” were doing their show live from Manhattan, but with no television simulcast on MSG Network. At 10 AM, their regular midday duo of Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno did their show – albeit with Roberts in the WFAN studio and Benigno via telephone. Carl Banks, WFAN’s New York Giants play-by-play radio announcer, was also able to do his regular Monday appearance in the station’s studio, located at 345 Hudson Street in downtown Manhattan, where WFAN has been operating out of for three years and counting. At 1 PM, Mike Francesa was still doing his top-rated late midday/afternoon drive show, by way of an ISDN line from his home in an undisclosed county of Long Island. It was during that broadcast that he announced that the FM simulcast of WFAN on 101.9 would commence on Friday. However, like the morning show on WFAN, Francesa’s program was not simulcast on YES Network. By the evening, WFAN, with the “Monday Night Football” broadcast of the San Francisco 49ers/Arizona Cardinals game, was simulcasting on WXRK 92.3 FM, as WFAN’s transmitter is located on High Island in The Bronx, which was in danger of being wiped out due to high rising waters; likewise, all-news WCBS-AM 880, also transmitting from High Island, was simulcasting on WWFS/102.7 FM.
But by Tuesday morning, it was another all-news station in the CBS Radio family, 1010 WINS, that was broadcasting solely on 92.3 FM, as WINS’ transmitting facilities in Lyndhurst, NJ were done in by Sandy. WINS was actually broadcasting on WCBS-FM 101.1 on Monday night; as of this morning, WCBS-FM and WWFS have returned to regular music programming, and WCBS-AM and WFAN are maintaining regular spoken word programming on their respective AM signals. And as of Tuesday, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton were once again on the air, albeit sans an MSG simulcast for the second day in a row; and after “Boomer and Carton,” it was not “Joe and Evan,” but rather Richard Neer, who regularly does his weekend WFAN broadcasts via ISDN from his home in North Carolina. Neer stressed to listeners that, while he is “desperate for phone calls,” he wanted those with limited or no power to refrain from calling WFAN.
As for the other sports radio station in New York, WEPN/”ESPN Radio 98.7″? They, along with their previous home on the radio dial, AM 1050, now known as “ESPN Deportes,” were both simulcasting audio from co-owned television station WABC-TV/Channel 7, the ABC network’s flagship owned-and-operated station, starting Monday; they continue to do so on Tuesday.
Sandy also battered New Jersey pretty badly – not just the northern part of the state, where Lyndhurst is located, but southern New Jersey, as well. Atlantic City’s sports radio station, “ESPN 97.3,” suspended sports talk on Monday, carrying live, local storm coverage along with sister stations “1450 WPG” and “SoJo 104.9.”
Meanwhile, Connecticut was another state in the Northeast that was hit hard by Sandy. As a result, the syndicated “Dan Patrick Show”, which was broadcasting as normal on Monday (he even dropped an S-bomb during a “live look-in” segment of the TV broadcast), went on as scheduled on Tuesday, but with Pro Football Talk founder and personality Mike Florio subbing for Patrick from his West Virginia home. Incidentally, the television broadcast of “Dan Patrick,” which had ended abruptly on Fox Sports Net, will continue as anticipated on NBC Sports Network as of Monday, November 5; until then, the television simulcast continues exclusively on DirecTV Channel 101. And so, they lean on someone from the NBCSN family to fill in for Dan.
And in the Washington, D.C. area, WJFK-AM/”106.7 The Fan”, along with three other sister FM stations, was simulcasting CBS Radio’s 99.1 WNEW-FM’s all-news programming, from Monday evening until Tuesday morning.
Are there any other sports broadcasting situations that were altered due to Hurricane Sandy? Let us know and we’ll update our post accordingly.