Ingenuity and industry cooperation helps River 949 recover from lightning strike

While Ipswich based River 949 has been co-ordinating offers of help with those who need help following the recent catastrophic floods (see our recent story on River’s Roads to Recovery Hotline), the station also found itself in need of help when it’s transmitter was struck by lightning.  The story of how the station kept going is a tribute to technician Keith Evans, the whole station team, and a great example of radio industry cooperation.


Last Tuesday, at the height of the deluge, River 949’s main transmission took a massive lightning strike, causing both the main transmitter and tower and the spare transmitter and tower to fail.


River 949’s technician Keith Evans drove through torrential rain but was stopped by a wall of water at the base of the mountain where the transmitter is situated. Remote controlling was not possible because of the horrific weather conditions.


Keith returned to the studios high on the hill at North Ipswich and went about rigging up a temporary low power transmitter from the roof of the studios (picture below), dangerous work given the conditions. River 949 was back on air mid-morning, albeit on low power.

A chopper was arranged to transfer Keith and a team of technicians to the mountain, but due to the low cloud ceiling was unable to fly until Wednesday. Meanwhile traffic to the station’s website,, increased dramatically with listeners streaming the station to keep up to date with the continuous rolling coverage of the flood crisis.


River 949 received invaluable support from Southern Cross Media and would particularly like to thank Rhys Holleran, David Langsford and Andrew Chapman.  A special thanks also to Rob Bryce of RF Communications and Darren from Generator Hire. Without their help listeners in the worst affected flood zones in the Lockyer, Somerset and Ipswich regions would be without the vital communication River 949 was providing.


River 949 technician Keith Evans, who has been working around the clock with the team, has told radioinfo: “It’s been great to see the usually competitive radio industry put rivalries aside and help out others in this time of need. Thanks guys!”


The station’s Road to Recovery continues as South East Queensland re-builds.