Powerful Pacific storms this week have flooded streets, downed trees and utility poles, and caused havoc on roadways.
Included in the list of victims have been numerous area radio stations.
At one point or another, 11 of 14 local stations have been off the air, according to one local broadcaster.
Shawn Knight of Knight Broadcasting said a lightning strike Wednesday to a transmitter in Santa Maria blasted KUHL 1440 AM from the airwaves, leaving listeners in North County without their fix of talk show host Andy Caldwell and news updates from Ben Heighes.
However, KSMA 1410 AM, which simulcasts 1440, has remained on the air.
Knight said the parts to repair the transmitter and a lightning-suppression system were being installed Friday.
The station was be back on the air that afternoon.
Besides the 5:30 a.m. lightning bolt, Knight’s stations have been affected by power outages, shorted electrical lines and generator failures.
“The storm definitely took a toll on all of us (local radio stations), “ he said.
Costs of the damage and replacement parts were at least $10,000, according to Knight.
Knight Broadcasting is also the home of FM stations KSYV Mix 96.7 and KRAZ Krazy Country 105.9.
Three Santa Maria-based American General Media FM stations — KRQK La Ley 100.3, KBOX Pirate Radio 104.1, KPAT The Beat 95.7 — were knocked off the air Monday morning from a widespread power outage in the city.
General Manager Rich Watson said the studios went dark from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and were back on the air when a generator kicked in.
“Other than that, we’ve been fortunate,” he said.
Since Sunday night, Radio Lazer 94.1, a Spanish-language station, has been off the air, said Jose Guzman of Lazer Broadcasting. Engineers are still working on the problem, he said.
It is unclear whether lightning or high winds damaged the antenna.
The chain’s other stations, 103.1 Radio Lazer and 1480 AM La Mexicana, have been unaffected.
Ed Carcarey of Emerald Wave Media said the damage from this week’s storms has been the worst he’s seen in 20 years.
High winds in the Point Sal-area likely knocked the KRTO Mega Radio 97.1 FM transmitter off the air, he said.
All three of the firm’s stations — KRTO, KIDI La Buena 105.1, KTAP 1600 AM Radio Ranchito — went silent during Monday’s blackout.
However, they were able to run off generators and power was restored that day.
Only KRTO has remained off the air because of downed power lines in a remote area at Point Sal, he said.
El Dorado Broadcasters — operator of KSNI Sunny Country 102.5 FM, KXFM The FOX 99.1, KSMX News Talk 1240 AM, and KSMY El Compa 106.7 FM — was mostly unaffected, except a two-hour outage at Sunny Country earlier in the week, said Danny Fogle, vice president of engineering.
During power outages, the company has relied on generators, he said.