Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, as the eastern seaboard was waking up to the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, Milford resident Barbara Glinsky's alarm clock radio went off at its regularly scheduled time. Glinsky has her radio set to WICC-AM 600, so she expected to hear the latest "news and information" about the storm and how it might affect her life.
Instead, she heard static, because the 1,000-watt radio station was offline, its Pleasure Beach transmitter knocked out by high winds and its nearby underground back-up generator swamped by the storm surge.
"I always turn to WICC; it's where I get my information," said Glinsky, 69.
She's not alone. Despite the technological advances that can put information at our fingertips, there are still many people -- particularly senior citizens -- who turn to radio as their go-to source on the latest developments. In this area, they often turn to WICC, the longstanding news station with a hyperlocal focus.
Glinsky, who works as a receptionist for the Bridgeport office of the Western Connecticut Agency on Aging, never lost power during the recent storm. She didn't actually need WICC -- or any radio station -- to keep her abreast of what was going on. She had television and Internet.
Taylor lost power Oct. 29 during the height of the storm and didn't get it back until Halloween.
"I really don't listen to radio, but with the storm, I had to listen to radio, a radio with batteries, to listen to updates. I was trying to get WICC and I couldn't get it," Taylor said. "WICC always carries all the updates. I didn't know what was happening. I just kept trying to find WICC. But then I switched to the FM station and turned to WEBE 108."
Alternative avenues of information are of course available. But when winds are whipping for hours on end and the power goes out, people will often turn reflexively to known and familiar sources. When a longstanding staple like WICC goes down during a major storm, it's just another aggravating concern as people try to get a handle on the situation.
Danny Lyons, the program director at WICC, said in an email statement, "All of us at WICC send our thoughts and prayers out to everyone affected by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. This was a storm that can only be described with superlatives, and although we had planned and prepared for what was coming, we couldn't have anticipated the type of destruction this storm caused right here in Connecticut and the East Coast."
WICC, which transmits throughout Fairfield County and down to New York City and across to Long Island, went off the air Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. The station resumed broadcasting Nov. 1 at 8:09 a.m.
Failing any unforeseen events, Barbara Glinsky's alarm clock went off that morning and she heard the latest "news and information" from the station.