WQCS and other Florida public radio stations have joined forces with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to form the new statewide Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN). The FPREN utilizes the state’s public radio outlets to share critical emergency information statewide through radio, various mobile media technologies, and battery-powered devices.
WQCS Manager Madison Hodges said “WQCS has a long history as the area’s Emergency Alert System station and has been recognized for its service during hurricanes and other emergencies. FPREN, the new emergency information network, will enhance our commitment to providing life-saving information about the weather and traffic during evacuation. Public service is the core of public radio’s mission and free, over the air radio remains the best and most reliable method for sharing emergency information. We are also continuing to improve our communications link capability with all of the local Emergency Operations Centers on the Treasure Coast.”
FPREN stations cover 99 percent of Florida. They are locally staffed and equipped to stay on the air during times of massive power outages. In the event of severe weather, the FPREN stations can provide recovery information for as long as necessary.
“Having the ability to communicate up-to-date emergency information with the public during a statewide emergency is critical,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan W. Koon. “We commend Florida’s public radio stations for their commitment to help keep Florida’s families safe.”
Most public radio stations are located between 88 and 92 MHz on the FM dial, making the stations easy to access all across the state. In the event of hurricane evacuations, signage on the interstates will indicate the exact frequency of the public radio station in each area.
Another FPREN service is the FPREN Storm Center, operated by the University of Florida. The Storm Center enables each public radio station to provide detailed local weather forecasts and storm updates 24 hours a day during severe events. The format is designed specifically for radio listeners, using descriptive language for those who might not be able to view TV during a storm. You can also listen to FPREN information from the stations on smart phones.
The thirteen public radio stations work together as part of the Florida Public Broadcasting System. FPBS is a non-profit association of public radio and public television stations in the state of Florida. As the largest broadcasting network in the state, member stations reach more than 99 percent of Florida’s population through traditional broadcast, online tools and community engagement. FPBS stations are a state partner in education, emergency management and public affairs. Through collaborative efforts, FPBS identifies and implements regional and statewide projects that enhance and sustain community initiatives that serve the citizens of Florida. FPBS member stations include WBBC TV (Cocoa), WDSC TV (Daytona), WGCU TV/FM (Ft. Myers), WQCS FM (Ft. Pierce), WUFT TV/FM (Gainesville), WJCT TV/FM (Jacksonville), WFIT FM (Melbourne), WLRN TV/FM (Miami), WPBT TV (Miami), WUCF TV (Orlando), WMFE FM (Orlando), WKGC (Panama City), WSRE TV (Pensacola), WUWF FM (Pensacola), WFSU TV/FM (Tallahassee), WEDU TV (Tampa), WUSF TV/FM (Tampa), WMNF FM (Tampa), WXEL TV (West Palm), and WPBI FM (West Palm).