Hurricane Ida Takes Toll on Broadcasting, Cable

Residents are rescued from floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, Louisiana, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021
(Image credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As of Monday, over 350,000 cable subs were without service in the path of Hurricane Ida, with 338,115 of those in Louisiana, where the category four storm made landfall with sustained winds of 150 mph.

That is according to the FCC's Voluntary Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) system. There were an additional 16,601 cable/broadband outages in Mississippi and 478 in Alabama.

On the broadcast side, two TV stations reported being out of service, WGNO and WNOL-TV, both in New Orleans.

Also Read: Citing Ida, FCC Waives Number Portability Prohibition

The good news is that 15 TV stations reported they were still on the air. Providing life-saving information in times of natural disasters is one of broadcasters' major selling points in Washington.

The FCC pointed out that that was only a snapshot of a very fluid situation.

A spokesperson for WGNO and WNOL pointed out that the stations were only off air for 3.5 hours, but even then continued to stream and updated coverage throughout the storm, despite "a collapsed wall, two holes in the building, [and] evacuated control room..."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.