HUNTSVILLE, AL, and WAVERLY, TN, October 7, 2021 – CUMULUS MEDIA announces that its Huntsville, AL, radio station 104.3 WZYP stepped up in the wake of August’s deadly flash flood in Waverly, TN, raising national awareness of the devastation caused by the flood and helping flood victims through a successful community relief drive. The flood, which hit the area on Saturday, August 21st, killed 20 Waverly residents and destroyed numerous homes and businesses.
WZYP Program Director/Afternoon Host, Steve Smith, an avid storm spotter and chaser, headed to Waverly as soon as he saw that flooding was forecasted for the area. Expecting to find water on roads and routine flooding, Smith was shocked once he got to town and saw the destruction.
Smith recounts: “When I got into town, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Buildings were destroyed, cars were flipped over… It looked more like hurricane or tornado damage and it was everywhere. For most of the day, I seemed to be the only media professional around. I pushed out a lot of photos and video on Twitter once I got a cell signal, as the flood and power losses had cut off communications.”
Smith’s footage was picked up and used by CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, The Weather Channel, AP, Accuweather, and Weather Nation. He also appeared on live interviews with both CNN and The Weather Channel, where he was credited as getting some of the very first images of the destruction in Waverly. Smith noted: “The CNN producer on the phone said that they were sending a crew to Waverly due to what they saw from my footage. Nobody knew how bad it was.”
Once Smith returned to Huntsville, he quickly worked to organize a relief drive held at the radio station and at two local Walmart locations. Three days after the flood, Smith and WZYP morning host Mojo drove all of the relief items collected to Tennessee in the WZYP truck and distributed them directly to flood victims.
Smith noted: “The response from our listeners and partners was amazing. We also worked out a deal to take a large supply of Blue Bell Ice Cream cups with us. The WZYP team gave them out at shelters and drove through neighborhoods passing them out. It was just what people needed on the hot days that followed and it brought a lot of smiles!”
WZYP received more supplies in the weeks that followed, so the station made a second trip to Waverly with more supplies and more ice cream. This time, ABC affiliate WAAY-TV 31 came along to document the effort. While there, the team also took ice cream and prizes to an event in a local park held by the teachers at Waverly Elementary School for their students.
Smith added: “It felt great to help out… and our local Huntsville listeners who are from there or have family there were very touched that we did so much for their town. To have it go full circle – being onsite as the flood hit and then organizing a relief drive and taking the items to those in need – was an incredible and very rewarding experience.”
About CUMULUS MEDIA
CUMULUS MEDIA (NASDAQ: CMLS) is a leading media, advertising, and marketing services company delivering premium content to over a quarter billion people every month — wherever and whenever they want it. CUMULUS MEDIA engages listeners with high-quality local programming through 413 owned-and-operated radio stations across 86 markets; delivers nationally-syndicated sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming from iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, CNN, the AP, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and many other world-class partners across nearly 7,300 affiliated stations through Westwood One, the largest audio network in America; and inspires listeners through the CUMULUS Podcast Network, its rapidly growing network of original podcasts that are smart, entertaining and thought-provoking. CUMULUS MEDIA provides advertisers with personal connections, local impact and national reach through broadcast and on-demand digital, mobile, social, and voice-activated platforms, as well as integrated digital marketing services, powerful influencers, full-service audio solutions, industry-leading research and insights, and live event experiences. CUMULUS MEDIA is the only audio media company to provide marketers with local and national advertising performance guarantees. For more information visit www.cumulusmedia.com.
Contact: Lisa Dollinger, Dollinger Strategic Communication for CUMULUS MEDIA, 512.633.4084, email@example.com.