by Nikki Anderson
This month I interviewed Michael Babb, our 3ABN Radio engineer, who is the man God chose to keep things going here at 3ABN Radio. From the phone calls and e-mails I receive, I am aware that several stations have had some close calls from extreme changes in weather this year. So I asked Mike to tell us about some of the events and situations that have presented problems to our affiliates.
3ABN Radio: Is there a danger to the radio stations that is sort of typical, and not just something that happened this year?
Mike: “Lightning storms. A few affiliates have had equipment damaged due to lightning storms this year in places like Temple, Texas; Barre, Vermont; and Port St. Lucie, Florida, to name just a few. But lightning is always a possible threat anywhere—which you can see by these varied locations. We even had one hit our local Du Quoin, Illinois, station this summer.”
3ABN Radio: Is there anything the stations can do to prevent equipment from being damaged during lightning storms?
Mike: “There are numerous measures that can be taken to try to avoid equipment damage during a lightning storm, but nothing is guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time—especially when we’re dealing with nature. Also, power surges and power outages coming from the local power company can also cause issues.
“Some things affiliates can do is to make sure their equipment is grounded properly. I also highly recommend using things like uninterruptable power supplies, power conditioners, and surge protectors. Anything is better than nothing at all. Protecting equipment (or an investment) is often overlooked, and in the end, it usually is a costly mistake.”
3ABN Radio: Between unusually heavy rainfall in some parts of the country, and hurricanes in others, have any affiliates experienced flooding?
Mike: “Yes. Some locations like Binghamton, New York, in the East; St. Joseph, Missouri, in the Midwest; and Minot and Bismarck, North Dakota, in the upper Midwest have come dangerously close to record flood levels. Many of those who are associated with the radio stations have been affected by the flooding, but the stations themselves have remained dry and on the air. In Rutland, Vermont, they had some roads washed away because of the flooding. It’s been pretty messy this year in many places.”
3ABN Radio: With all these natural disasters going on, have there been any man-made disasters?
Mike: “Well, I don’t know if they’re disasters, but I’m sure it’s felt that way to some. This past year stations have had to deal with mandatory changes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made to the Emergency Alert System. These changes were costly and a huge concern for many affiliates.
“We’ve been working on getting everyone notified of deadlines and suggesting equipment updates that will help them be in compliance with these FCC mandates. Also, this year the process for license renewal started, so, yes, it’s been busy!”
3ABN Radio: It sounds like this year has seen a lot of turmoil for many 3ABN Radio affiliates. With so much going on, what does a typical day look like for you?
Mike: “There is no typical day,” he says as he smiles. “Between the network, the local Du Quoin station, and tech support for the affiliates, I never know what my day will bring. When I answer my phone it may be a one-minute call or a two-hour call. Whatever it is, I’m humbled that God brought me here to do whatever I can to further the gospel.
“The people who own and operate the affiliate stations have the hard part. Most of them have no radio background, but they’ve built the radio stations that God impressed them to build. They lean on Him every day—just like we all do—to keep the stations on the air, and God keeps things going!”
As always, please keep all the affiliate radio stations in your prayers.