Radio's Emergency Role Among Topics At FCC Post-Sandy Field Hearing
February 6, 2013 at 4:50 AM (PT)
At the FCC's field hearing reviewing emergency communications in the wake of Superstorm Sandy MONDAY (2/5) in HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION President PAUL ROTELLA told the Commission that broadcasters need laws to give station operators "first responder" status to allow them to get access to fuel to keep on the air and to get information.
ILLINOIS recently passed a law to give that state's broadcasters first responder status (NET NEWS 2/1).
Also testifying at the hearing was CLEAR CHANNEL CEO JOHN HOGAN, who outlined his company's response to Sandy and the reliability of radio as opposed to social media, which he added was increasingly being used by radio as an additional distribution platform.
Commissioner AJIT PAI cited TOWNSQUARE MEDIA Talk WKXW (NEW JERSEY 101.5)/TRENTON in his remarks, noting that NEW JERSEY "Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE took to the airwaves on NEW JERSEY 101.5’s 'Ask the Governor' show to provide information and field questions from listeners just as Sandy was making landfall." Commissioner MIGNON CLUBURN added, "I understand that the NEW JERSEY BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION was very instrumental in working with FEMA and the FCC to help broadcast stations stay on the air. These stations were vital to providing information to communities."
Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI focused on improving communications network services, saying, "Our nation’s communications infrastructure is a vital part of our public safety and national security. The inability to communicate with family and emergency personnel during a disaster is simply unacceptable. We must meet this moment with smart action from all sectors to ensure that communications networks are working when people need them most."
Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL did not appear due to having to testify before Congress on Internet freedom on the same day.