Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC, offered comments on the state of electronic communications in regard to Hurricane Irene, and the NAB’s Gordon Smith applauded the efforts of its constituents. In a reminder on how to communicate during a natural disaster, Genachowski recommended radio and television for important news alerts.
The family car has a role to play in such situations according to Genachowski. For one thing, with the proper adapters, people can tap into a vehicle’s power supply to recharge communications devices. And the car radio can be used for news and information in the event other options fail for one reason or another. Of course, this is only an option if the car is near by and in a safe place. And again, he said TV and radio are key sources of important news and information.
Although cable service was disrupted in many locations, only a small handful of broadcast stations were forced off air.
The NAB’s Gordon Smith could be expected to use the occasion for some cheerleading, and he did not disappoint, saying, “NAB salutes broadcasters from the Carolinas to Maine who did a remarkable job this weekend keeping citizens informed during Hurricane Irene. While cellphone, electricity and cable system outages were occurring up and down the East Coast, broadcasters were a trusted resource that millions of Americans relied upon for accurate information. Our stations used a combination of ‘boots on the ground’ reporting and social media to keep citizens informed, proving our contention that broadcasting and broadband are complimentary services. As we work with policymakers on a broadband policy that best serves local communities across the U.S., NAB will continue to make the case that no technology can replace broadcasting’s ‘one-to-everyone’ lifeline role in an emergency.”