WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5, the Americana public radio station owned and operated by Middle Tennessee State University, was knocked off the air for about six hours Tuesday, March 3, after the storms that swept through the Midstate damaged its main tower outside Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
WMOT Executive Director Val Hoeppner said engineers brought the 100,000-watt station back on the air shortly after 7 a.m. March 3.
“We were fortunate, and I appreciate the hard work of our team to restore the station,” said Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, “but our thoughts now are with those who lost so much in this deadly storm.”
The storm system made its way across western and central Tennessee overnight, causing major damage to buildings, roads, bridges, utilities and businesses in several counties, according to an early-morning report from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
TEMA reported that Benton, Davidson, Wilson and Putnam counties appeared to be the most severely affected areas. The storms spawned one or more tornadoes that struck in near Camden Benton County, damaged multiple areas in downtown Nashville and traveled east along Interstate 40 to wreak havoc in multiple locations in Wilson County, including Mt. Juliet, and near Cookeville and Baxter in Putnam County.
By mid-morning Tuesday, TEMA officials confirmed preliminary reports of 19 deaths in Tennessee linked to the storms: one in Benton County, two in Nashville, two in Wilson County and 14 deaths in Putnam County.