On the morning of Thursday, November 10, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Nicole began making her way through Florida and the Tampa Bay area. Because of the strong winds, the Q105 WRBQ-FM transmitter that carries the terrestrial signal of the radio station went down for about two hours. It just so happened to occur in the midst of the MJ Morning Show from about 7:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. ET, a timeframe that includes the “long chunk of the MJ Morning Show” from about 7:20 to 8:40.
The crew first noticed a flashing “police light” in the studio that flashes to indicate that the station is off the air. The broadcast went down for about 10 seconds initially before coming back. This is when the backup diesel generator kicked in. However, just a few minutes later, the backup generator went down as well. Plus, for about 30 minutes, listeners calling into the program who were able to stream the show online were hearing a delayed replay of the show when they spoke to the crew. Roxanne and Froggy discovered that Fester had pulled up the MJTV YouTube stream on the computer in the studio. It was the delayed audio from this stream that listeners were hearing down the phone line.
It was a rare instance in which MJ clearly sounded despondent, depressed, and extremely frustrated deep down inside. We rarely ever hear him display this tone on the air, and he made it clear that when a radio station transmitter goes down, it is the worst feeling in the world for a broadcaster, especially during a weather event like a tropical storm when he delivers lots of info about what’s going on. He then said this could be the straw the breaks the camel’s back in terms of his decision on whether to re-sign for a new contract with the Beasley Media Group next month. On a brighter note, Fester, Froggy, and Roxanne tried to lighten the mood by making some corny jokes and also reminding MJ about the numerous streams people can tune into to hear the program. They can listen on the Q105 website and app, iHeartRadio app, TuneIn Radio app, Audacy app, as well as using smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Plus, MJTV has become a popular option to both listen to and watch the crew do the show on a live video stream on YouTube. With no FCC rules in place for an Internet stream, MJ dropped two “s-bombs,” and a caller named Carl even snuck in an “f-bomb.” In spite of these reminders and the large amount of phone calls and texts the show received about how loose the crew was during this timeframe, MJ was still clearly disgusted by the whole thing.
Thankfully with about 10 minutes to spare before the crew signed off for the day, Max the Engineer was able to get the transmitters for both Q105 and 99.5 WQYK back up and running. MJ was then able to squeeze in several live commercials for sponsors. We will have to simply wait and see to find out the future of the MJ Morning Show and whether this weather-related transmitter issue truly plays a role in MJ’s decision on a new contract.