Earlier this week, I received a message from my good friend, Mike, who lives south of Houston in Galveston County, Texas. Mike noted:
Here in Texas, we’re still dealing with the impact of hurricane Harvey.
[…]The absolute best hurricane information came from AM 740 KTRH Houston. A 50,000 Watt AM transmitter that covers a major portion of the gulf coast.
I’m learning that the Corpus Christi AM news station was evacuated and secured operations. KTRH kicked in and served the listening public very well.
I haven’t heard from Mike in a couple of days and, since then, Harvey has caused unprecedented levels of flooding in south Texas. I hope he’s doing okay and hope to hear from him soon.
Indeed, I hope SWLing Post readers in the affected area, their friends and family have all made it to safety.
Have you tried to buy a basic radio lately? I have an elderly relative that is needing a simple, but reliable, AM/FM table radio. All the dollar stores sell are clock radios (generally poor quality and too complicated) and boom boxes (too complicated). I decided to try Best Buy. They have a Sony pocket AM/FM radio (doesn’t run on AC), and the next thing up is an HD radio (again too complicated). I was about to give up on buying locally when I checked Target, not expecting much there. They actually sell an inexpensive ($15) AM/FM table radio that can be powered from AC or C Cells! All it has is a volume knob (with power switch), AM/FM switch and an analog tuning knob. The only concession to modern technology is an audio input jack (with no other controls) that allows you to play an external audio source through the radio.
In this area (Central NJ) the FM BCB consists of 95% rock music stations while the remaining 5% is represented by some talk radio and a classical or country music station. Very little if any local news or news at all, totally useless in the event of an emergency. However AM stations from the tri-state (NY NJ PA) dotting the band with news, talk, and perhaps a bit of music continuously update the listener with news and weather along with their varied programs that the average citizen finds useful and entertaining. AM stations also travel farther than AM presenting the listener with a greater number of choices than shorter-range FM.
I was listening briefly to the “H&W” relay on 7290 kHz today. During the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, I managed to hear KTRH from my location ~ 500+ miles north. Radio (HF, MW, etc) provides numerous options for staying informed and is certainly more reliable than other mediums which rely on sophisticated infrastructure.