Indiana Storm Response: WIBC Steps Up


Regular readers know my feelings as a native New Orleanian when it comes to radio and disaster response. This story brings me very close to those feelings. You see, my mother-in-law is from Bloomington, IN. She works at Indiana University as a professor in the Folklore Department, a Department that was incredibly kind to my wife and I while we were in “exile” after the levee failure. Now, nearly three years later, it seems the waters have arrived in Indiana and scenes similar to the ones in New Orleans during our flood wash across the media.

Having been through this I can only say that I sincerely feel for the people of the Midwest who are going through this. While the waters are nowhere near as deep as we experienced on the Gulf Coast, the atmosphere of sudden loss and fear and craziness is palpable. WIBC in Indianapolis has been stepping up to the plate and providing support, showing once again that radio is indispensable when Mother Nature delivers one of her collect calls.

Jon Quick, the Director of Operations for the 93 WIBC Network has been kind enough to share the following bulletin from the front lines with us:

For the past few weeks, central Indiana has been hit by tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and historic flooding from record rainfalls. Historic because this is the worst flooding ever, with 1/3 of Indiana’s counties declared disaster areas by the President. Much of this is in WIBC’s primary coverage area.

Coupled with the storms, the rain and the floods, have been mass power outages. And because of these outages, battery-powered radios are essential for victims and others to receive communications on future storms, recovery efforts and more. Television is providing coverage, but few have battery powered sets, so again it’s WIBC Radio that has been a primary source for information.

There have been several occasions over the past few weeks where we have covered the weather and impending storms for 10-12 hours straight. Our news team, along with our major personalities, report the watches and warnings. We’re out on remote reporting. We take phone calls from listeners. Then, coverage of the aftermath.

Many, many families have lost everything they have. Thus, WIBC has teamed up with the Salvation Army and Red Cross to raise funds and supplies. Just this morning all Emmis Indy stations — including WIBC’s morning team, Jake Query and Terri Stacy — teamed up with the local ABC Television affiliate for a radio-thon of sorts. Our support of relief efforts will continue indefinitely. Today and tomorrow are going to be relatively dry throughout the region, with sunshine finally helping things dry out. However, we might be in for more precipitation and storms through the end of the week. It’s not over yet, and longer term this will also affect farmers crops and the overall economy. So this story will continue for sometime to come. Check out for more information on what we’ve been doing.

Also, on an anecdotal basis, there some historic symbols have been destroyed. At this link you’ll see a blog by Congressman Mike Pence (former WIBC talk host), touring what’s left of a famous landmark near Moscow, Indiana — a covered bridge. WIBC’s morning team of Jake Query and Terri Stacy have been leading efforts to raise funds to rebuild.

Addendum: The only post-script I can give you to supplement the above info is that we’re bracing for perhaps more severe storms and rain again on Friday and into Saturday, so it’s not over yet. This story will continue for sometime to come even after the waters subside, as so many have lost their homes and all of their belongings. Certainly a time for radio to do what we still do best — touch and support our communities.

-Jon Quick

Photo courtesy of the Soldier’s Media Center, used under its Creative Commons license


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