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TV, radio still impacted after destructive Typhoon Mawar in Guam

Five television and radio stations are still off the air more than a week after the storm slammed the American territory islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

Five television and radio stations are still off the air more than a week after the storm slammed the American territory islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

Destruction on the American territory island of Guam following Typhoon Mawar in May 2023. (Photo by Robert Barker, FEMA)
Destruction on the American territory island of Guam following Typhoon Mawar in May 2023. (Photo by Robert Barker, FEMA)

Five television and radio stations are still not broadcasting more than a week after a severe storm slammed Guam and nearby territory islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

The storm, Typhoon Mawar, brought wind of up to 140 miles per hour and caused devastation throughout Guam and nearby islands. Like similar storms, the typhoon severely damaged communications infrastructure used by wireless phone, television and radio providers.

The storm knocked two television stations and three FM radio stations off the air, according to information released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this week. As of Thursday, those same broadcasters had not resumed service.

The affected TV stations are KUAM-TV (Channel 8, NBC and CBS) and KTGM (Channel 14, ABC). The three radio stations impacted by the storm are owned by Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting, which also operates KUAM-TV.

The outages are self-reported to the FCC by the companies that operate the stations. No AM radio stations have reported being knocked off the air due to the storm, but that does not necessarily mean they are operating, either.

The U.S. Navy obtained permission to transmit post-storm emergency messages and updates using an FM radio station in Guam, the FCC said. That special authority was originally scheduled to end on May 31, but the FCC has since extended it to June 30.

Cable and wireline customers are also affected, the FCC said, with more than 4,500 subscribers unable to access television, landline phone and broadband Internet in the area.

One are that is improving is mobile phone service: While the majority of cell phone towers were impacted by Typhoon Mawar in Guam, communications providers have been working hard to restore connections in the week since the storm. As of Thursday, 47 percent of wireless phone towers were offline, with the majority impacted by power outages. Four were damaged, the FCC said. More than 120 towers are operating on backup power.