Radio and television stations are overrunwith talk about storm

With severe weather pounding Central Kentucky, many residents retreated to their homes or shelters, in the case of those without power. And then they called and they called.

They called family members. They called stores for generators and supplies. And they called local radio and television stations to vent or share their tales.

WLAP 630 AM host Leland Conway started Wednesday just like any other, talking about politics, in this case President Barack Obama's stimulus plan.

"We weren't sure how serious the storm was going to be, early on," Conway said. "As the morning moved forward, we realized this was going to be a huge event."

Call after call focused on the storm. By the end of Conway's three-hour show, Mayor Jim Newberry had been on the air, as well as Kentucky Utilities' Cliff Feltham.

And talk turned to every possible angle of an ice storm, including how to get your dog to answer the call of nature when Mother Nature has coated everything with ice.

The topic was a real ice-breaker.

Conway said the station airs a veterinary show on weekends and had the vet on to explain that "they have to get grip and traction and have to feel comfortable squatting."

At rival station WVLK 590 AM, the local hosts hit the topic all day long, said Hal Hofman, market manager for WVLK owner Cumulus.

"When the power goes out, and you don't have Internet and TV, you're grateful the information is coming by radio," Hofman said. "When all else fails, radio comes through."

Meanwhile, Lexington's TV stations all aired extended news broadcasts at various times. None sustained power outages. NBC affiliate WLEX-18 brought in an extra generator just in case.

And they all took call after call for closings to be listed on SnoGo. At one point, WKYT had more than 600 listed on its Web site and cycling on air, said News Director Robert Thomas. "SnoGo turns into almost a stationwide commitment, folks from our sales department help out answering the phones and all other departments come in, too, and help because the phones literally yesterday morning started ringing off the hook at 5:30 and didn't stop until last night."

Throughout the day, posted more than two dozen reports containing breaking news and practical information, along with a Twitter feed of readers' comments.