Clear Channel takes down billboards in path of Sandy

A tattered piece of billboard material blows in the wind ahead of Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Drivers along I-95 in Philadelphia can see something they don't usually see: A billboard sign with no billboard.

"It's like people tying up their boats in the harbors and people taping up their windows," says Clear Channel's Bryan Parker. According to Parker, when a hurricane hits, removing the sign is the best way to minimize damage: "When you remove the copy and the panel sections out of that frame -- sort of like taking a picture out of a frame -- the wind will blow through it and there won't be wind resistance to damage the sign structure."

Parker says new sign structures can run anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000. With that financial incentive and an interest in making sure no billboard falls on somebody's house -- Clear Channel crews have scrambled to take down more than 150 signs across the East Coast.

Parker says it's a pretty quick process, "We simply roll that up, or fold it up into a nice square and then we lash that onto the catwalks."

A quick look at images online shows that Sandy's chewed up a few billboards: A crunched, crumpled sign in Boston and another one shredded in Atlantic City.

Billboards -- of course -- exist to get as many eyeballs as possible. Parker says damaged signs are bad for business.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation