On September 4, the New York Times ran an article that details one DJ’s determination to provide lifesaving information in the face of unprecedented flood waters.
According to the article, “As floodwaters rose on the morning of Aug. 28, [Big Jay] Fink interrupted the regular Sunday programming on WRIP-FM (97.9); instead of a classic Casey Kasem countdown, listeners found Mr. Fink — beginning what would be a 13-hour on-air marathon. He calmly fielded calls from people trapped by the surging waters and doled out information on makeshift shelters.”
Fink provided information when listeners were unable to get cell reception because of towers being down and power had been knocked out to a large number of citizens. People listened from battery powered-radios during the storm and later from their car radios as they were assessing the damage. He and fellow DJ Joe Loverro took numbers and relayed information from listeners to emergency response units.
He also played some music between callers, and even that was carefully chosen to help out in times of trouble. “I didn’t want sad songs; I didn’t want happy songs,” he said. “I wanted songs about being together.”
We have often said that radio provides local information unlike any other medium and this one DJ and station’s story illuminates that message greater than any number of listenership statistics or surveys of listening audience ever could.