WINK News is back on the air in Southwest Florida on channel 46 WXCW and 96.9 WINK-FM.
The station moved to its transmitter site near Babcock Ranch.
The broadcast was interrupted after a storm surge from Hurricane Ian breached the station’s broadcast center on Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers.
NOW: @winknews is back on the air after Hurricane #Ian knocked out our power and flooded the first floor.
We are broadcasting from our transmitter location. #SWFL, we will recover. pic.twitter.com/Aru5UNmpun
— Lenny Smith (@lensmith22) September 30, 2022
“Our studios, like most of Southwest Florida, were flooded in the storm surge so we are emergency broadcasting from our transmitter site that is near Babcock Ranch,” said Mark Gilson, director of digital distribution at WINK News.
Storm surge and a flood brought by Hurricane Ian has interrupted the WINK News broadcast.
The power went out just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but anchors Lois Thome and Chris Cifatte and Chief Meteorologist Matt Devitt continued to broadcast on Facebook for a period of time.
Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall in North Captiva, pummeling the Southwest Florida coast with catastrophic storm surge and intense winds, ripping trees from the ground and ripping homes from their foundation in some instances.
“We are like everybody else,” said Tom Doerr, director of local news and content at WINK News. “We are experiencing the same difficulties like everybody else.”
Ian was an overwhelming storm, Doerr said.
“Right now, we are working as fast as we can to get back on the air,” Doerr said. “It’s complicated by high water.”
“Once we get our generator back up, we will be able to broadcast on our TV station and our radio stations,” Doerr said.
Devitt said Wednesday evening will peak with the worst of the storm surge.
“After this evening, it will gradually start to improve, however, there will still be a lingering smaller surge into Thursday,” Devitt said.
In the meantime, you can look for updates on the WINK News Facebook page and Twitter.
“We are going to be back providing the best news and information to Southwest Florida and we will be here helping the area recover,” Doerr said.
WINK News News Director Rich Garcia said WINK News will find a way to inform its viewers.
“We’ve got an incredible group of professionals in the newsroom,” Garcia said. “They want to tell the stories of recovery.”
Once WINK News is back on air, you can listen on 96.9 WINK FM and 94.5 The Arrow.
“This will go down as the most powerful storm that has ever impacted Southwest Florida in recent memory,” Devitt said. “We are going to get through this. We will clean up. We will rebuild. We are going to get back to Southwest Florida.