Shenandoah Valley Radio Station Hits Dead Air Since Storms
When the lights are out people often turn to radio to keep them up to date on what is happening in the region, but what happens when the radio station is off the air too?
STAR 94 is the largest FM in the Shenandoah Valley.
Station owner Gary Ratcliff said, "We cover New Market all the way down to Natural Bridge so a huge area, thousands of listeners."
It's been off the air since Friday. Like many, STAR 94 has no choice but to remain patient while the damage is being repaired.
Ratcliff believes that taking care of the people is top priority, but he argues that part of doing that is providing them with the information they need to get through times like these.
"It's the not knowing is the reason that people get so frustrated," Ratcliff said. "If we were on the air, then people would have a better idea of what's going on."
"It would also let you know if there's a tornado in the area," said Augusta County resident Beverly Kennedy. "It lets you know if the weather is going to be worse than what it is and everything like that. And when it goes down, you don't have that information."
Ratcliff says it hasn't stopped them from doing just that. "We're continuing to operate this radio station as if we were on the air live," he said.
They are operating online. Ratcliff also points out an advantage.
"Radio is the easiest because you can stick some batteries in something," he said. "A lot of telephones today you can listen to radio. People can deal with anything if they just know what's going on and when it's going to stop."
STAR 94 says a generator could have kept them on the air, but it's hard to justify $30,000 for something this rare. They are looking into a future partnership that would solve this issue.
Meanwhile, the Waynesboro Radio Shack says it has seen a definite spike in people buying radios since the power went out.