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October 31, 2014

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03/29/99 Are You Y2K Ready?
Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you know about the computer code time bomb called Y2K, which some predict will disrupt the whole world the moment the new century begins. Public officials say there is nothing to worry about, while independent "experts" predict chaos, pandemonium and hungry people roaming the streets.
Who do you believe ... the politicians or the crackpots? I tend to take the middle ground. I'm convinced Y2K will be a bigger problem than most people are expecting but nothing on the scale of the total economic collapse the crackpots are screaming will happen.
My biggest concern is this: Will your station have electrical power one minute past midnight on Jan. 1, 2000? Are your listeners equipped with battery-powered radios? Is your generator ready? Is there plenty of fuel? Remember, gas stations won't be able to pump gasoline out of the underground tanks if there's no electricity.
My concerns about electrical power are rooted in the knowledge that America's power companies have thousands of computer chips imbedded throughout every power plant in our land. These chips operate switches, bypasses and gates in hydroelectric dams and nuclear generators which were built decades ago. This creates a problem that cannot be fixed by a simple software rewrite. No one really knows what will happen when these chips see an impossible date appear on their internal clocks.
Have you pressed your civic leaders and power company officials about Y2K? Instead of accepting soft answers like, "We're working on the problem," and "We hope to be ready," why not ask for evidence that they're doing more than sitting in a corner with their fingers crossed?
Without electricity to provide for communication, the Y2K situation could quickly degenerate into the worst of the crackpots' scenarios. Y2K has the potential to become a more serious situation than any of us in the post-WWII generation have ever faced.
Are you taking it seriously? Do you have a public service plan for dealing with the worst, should it come to pass?
Have you given any thought to where you should be this New Year's Eve?

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