(Source: The Miami Herald)
Normally, Rubén Sánchez would not interrupt a live interview with as prominent a newsmaker as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
But Wednesday was anything but normal.
Less than an hour after Hurricane Maria plowed into Puerto Rico, Rosselló was updating Spanish-language radio listeners by phone on the Category 4 storm’s destructive path when host Sánchez suddenly interrupted.
The studios of Univision’s WKAQ-AM (580) had become “vulnerable,” Sánchez said, his voice tinged with tension. He and his broadcast colleagues would have to abandon the premises — and fast.
“Stay safe,” Rosselló said, urging them to seek shelter in an internal hallway.
Finding refuge — and a safe place to keep broadcasting — turned out to be complicated. The station and a handful of others became vital listening posts for Puerto Ricans starved of information Wednesday as their electricity went dark and their cellphones silent. Several news outlets continuously reported online, but relatively few people on the island could click.
[…]“A few of the offices exploded,” he said, describing how Maria shattered street-facing office windows and forced itself into the building, in the Guaynabo neighborhood west of San Juan. “It even changed the smell of the environment, and the temperature in WKAQ.”
The on-air staffers scrambled, making their way into the studios of a sister station, WKAQ-FM (104.7), known as KQ-105. But even that proved insufficient. Moments later, News Director Jaime Cosme grabbed the microphone to say they were devising a makeshift studio deeper in the building — a structure that, until Wednesday morning, the station had considered a “bunker.”
Sánchez likened the scene to a grenade blast. “It was a bunker,” Sánchez said. “We could see the sky because the roof blew off.”[…]