Hurricane Michael Takes Panama City Off The Air

Update 10:30pm: A handful of stations in Panama City have returned to the air. iHeartMedia’s 92.5 WPAP and 98.5 WFSY are back on with locally originating storm coverage. Gulf Coast Community College’s Public News/Talk 90.7 WKGC-FM is airing programming from Bay County Emergency Operations Center and with WMBB-TV staffers.

Original Report 10/10 7:00pm: As Hurricane Michael made landfall just east of Panama City FL this afternoon, nearly every broadcast facility in the market went off the air due to downed towers and power outages.

The first to go off the air were WJHG/WECP, the co-owned NBC and CBS affiliates in the market. As their STL tower crashed outside their studio facility the storm quickly ripped off parts of the station’s roof and power was lost. The WJHG STL tower was also the main antenna for Horizon Broadcasting Sports “ESPN 104.3” WGSX.

We lost power here at WJHG/WECP. We are all in the hallway in the middle of our building. It hasn’t made landfall yet so the worst is still to come inland. This wind is SERIOUS. Everyone needs to hunker down.

Posted by WJHG-TV on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We have taken some damage at our studios. A portion of our roof has been ripped off and water is getting into the…

Posted by 104.3 ESPN Panama City on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Across town ABC affiliate WMBB lost its main power and its backup generator taking it off the air as well leaving the area with no local television news. WMBB’s cable and web viewers were given special coverage for the area produced by co-owned WFLA-TV Tampa as was WDHN-TV Dothan AL.

{NEWS ALERT} #HurricaneMichael has come ashore in Panama City, Florida knocking out power and internet to our WMBB News 13 studios and the surrounding areas. Our news team is safe and our engineers are working, to get the station back on the air, as soon as possible. Officials say to shelter in place, in the smallest interior room in your home, without windows, until further notice. News photographer, Chase Commins and I are just west of the Panama City Beach area covering Walton and Okaloosa Counties and will continue broadcasting updates, as long as it is safe to do so. — Peyton LoCicero

Posted by WMBB-TV on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

At the time WJHG went off the air, its programming was airing on multiple radio stations including the iHeartMedia cluster in the market. Country 92.5 WPAP morning host ‘Dr. Shane’ Collins was leading coverage across the iHeartMedia stations all morning with some cut-ins to WJHG. As the storm made landfall, the stations all switched to programming from the Tallahassee cluster. Eventually though the STL tower at their facility fell over as well with their Director of Engineering Charlie Wooten posting on Facebook that the staff is trapped at the facility due to flooding.

Posted by Teresa Frame Connell on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Powell Broadcasting’s four FMs in the market also were taken off the air due to a tower loss as theirs completely bent over leaving the transmission antennas intact.

Posted by Jeff Baxter on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We have not seen or heard any updates from Magic Broadcasting’s four station cluster in Panama City or Public News/Talk 90.7 WKGC, but they too are off the air as of this writing.

It appears that our station and our sister stations have been taken off the air. Not sure what the problem is but as soon as it’s safe we will try to get back on the air.

Posted by Island 106 on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2 Comments
  1. Mike Fitzpatrick says


    I’ve started a thread on our Virtual Engineer forum for engineers who could help down there.

    Services, Parts, Supplies, etc….

    https://www.broadcastengineering.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6555

  2. radioguy805 says


    As of tonight I heart has their 92.5 and 98.5 towers back up as well as streaming. Listening to the on air staff fighting back tears while trying to stay strong to help those who need a voice in the dark leaves me speechless. My heart goes out to everyone.

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