On October 17, 1989, at 5:04:15 p.m. (P.d.t.), a magnitude 6.9 (moment magnitude; surface-wave magnitude, 7.1) earthquake severely shook the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions. The epicenter was located at 37.04° N. latitude, 121.88° W. longitude near Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, approximately 14 km (9 mi) northeast of Santa Cruz and 96 km (60 mi) south-southeast of San Francisco. The earthquake occurred when the crustal rocks comprising the Pacific and North American Plates abruptly slipped as much as 2 meters (7 ft) along their common boundary-the San Andreas fault system. The rupture initiated at a depth of 18 km (11 mi) and extended 35 km (22 mi) along the fault, but it did not break the surface of the Earth .
I was on the air, first game of the Bay Bridge World Series, A's and Giants, just played the 5:00p ID From the TOP TOP TOP of Radio Mountain at X-100 San Francisco. Seconds song was the current Richard Marx, "Angeline" probably why God tossed us around. All of sudden started land surfing, the ground moved like taffy and a cart rack fell over and the board went dead. We turned the board back on and BOOM back on the air.
Next question - What the hell do we do next? - Same thing we did years later after 9/11, we began talking to the people - We gathered our staff together - Dan in promotions took a cell phone and took off down Bush Street. Supersnake went into the next studio and began calling sources. Over the next few minutes we figured out we had a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. Mark Hansen the 10p-2a jock showed up, the morning show came back from the game and we went into full information load. Starting with the simple stuff, turn off the gas to your home, get under eves or strong points in the house (aftershocks) and stay calm. We were a 12-24 radio station and a lot of kids were listening who's parents hadn't got home from work yet.
We worked into the night delivering information on the quake, commute problems, how people were going to get home from work and to work the next morning, damages, the bridges and more. Mark and I took a break on the roof of the building and watched an eeriest site, the fires of the Marina District reflecting on Coit Tower. It was a weird day - But we were live, no special training, instincts took over and we made great radio. Can this be done today if this happens?