It’s not just Boy Scouts that should “Be Prepared,” says New Jersey Broadcasters Association President Paul Rotella. So too should NJ broadcasters, and by extension, all US broadcasters – because disasters do not usually provide any warning before they strike.
The lesson is fresh for Rotella’s state, where the results inflicted by Hurricane Sandy can still be seen.
But as Rotella points out, there is no limit to what might happen. “With cyber, bio, grid, infrastructure and terror threats being issued almost on an hourly basis recently, it is only prudent that New Jersey’s broadcasters be prepared for anything!”
Rotella advised, “That means wise storage of food and water, and other provisions, should it become necessary for our station personnel be confined to their studios for an extended period of time. Of course, making sure all transmitters, back up equipment, generators, fuel sources, batteries, etc., need to be inspected and maintained at their absolute peak performance.”
There is no time when a station’s guard can be let down, he noted. “It’s not just super storms we need to worry about anymore. Remember the Halloween snowstorm a few years ago that wiped out power to hundreds of thousands of our fellow New Jersians for weeks?”
Rotella has his own pet worry. “What I am particularly concerned with is the unlikely event of a bio-hazard or a terror event making travel unwise. Such an event means you may need to remain sheltered in place for a longer period of time than usual when you are just waiting for the snow plow trucks to reach your location.”
NJBA provides programs for its members that can assist with the preparedness effort.
RBR-TVBR observation: Broadcast has a noble and exemplary history when it comes to working for the public good during an emergency.
When it comes to keeping the public informed, often with critical life-saving information, broadcasters have a record that is unmatched. It is even more impressive that often stations forgo advertising income, putting the public interest ahead of that of the station.
It is important to make sure people in Washington are well aware of this, especially when cable and satellite companies are begging legislators and regulators to tip the scales their way. Broadcast service contrasts very favorably to the utter lack of a positive service record that is the MVPD legacy – cable is not known for stepping up during a crisis, it’s known for poor service during normal business conditions.
Please do not let them forget this in Washington, as they seem prone to do of late.