MMTC repeats call for multilingual EAS plan


David HonigThe Minority Media and Telecommunications Council remembers that when Hurricane Katrina hit, the area’s only Spanish-language radio station was silenced for over a week, leaving many local citizens without critical emergency information. And since, nothing has been done to prevent a repeat of that scenario.

MMTC, the Independent Spanish Broadcasters Association and the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ wasted no time petitioning the FCC for action, but in the seven years since they initiated the effort in September 2005, nothing has been done to rectify the situation.

According to MMTC, KGLA was the only station in the New Orleans area broadcasting in Spanish, and it was forced off the air for eight days.

MMTC would simply like plans in place so that in the event of such an occurrence, back-up stations are designated to fill the needs of non-English speaking citizens who may otherwise be left without critical emergency news and information.

MMTC’s David Honig recently stated, “Radio is the only technology that reaches all of the public. All we ask is that stations in a market all come up with a plan such that if the only station serving major language groups goes off the air, or there is no station, that other ‘designated hitter’ stations will provide information in that language to protect the public while the emergency is in effect. This is a moral outrage.”