Pai, Rosenworcel To Head Into The ‘Eye Of The Storm’


No, it’s not a Net Neutrality UFC match at Capital One Arena.

Rather, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel will be the center of attention at a Jan. 18 event at NAB headquarters in Washington, D.C. focused on the important role of broadcasters in emergencies.

Pai and Rosenworcel will be among a group of industry leaders and policymakers, and government experts and journalism professors, who will collectively address how broadcast media performed during recent emergencies — and how they can improve their coverage in the future.

The recent string of hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) and wildfires across the West Coast are some of the focal points of the many issues broadcasters face in reporting on disasters and covering dangerous situations. “When emergencies occur, Americans turn to their local television and radio stations for critical, often lifesaving, information,” the NAB says. “However, covering these events presents unique challenges.”

The event will focus on how stations prepare their facilities and staff for disasters, the lessons learned from broadcasters’ performance during the recent storms, how stations balance their commitment to inform the public versus the safety of their employees and on the difficult decisions news personnel must make, such as whether to position a reporter outside in a storm, or whether to drop their mic to help a person in need.

Pai will open the morning-long event with an address scheduled for 9:45am.

This will be followed by the panel discussion, “Reporting to You Live from the Storm Zone.”

Panelists include Kathleen Culver, a journalism professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Stacey Woelfel, a professional practice professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

They will be joined by Univision Radio/Puerto Rico GM Javier Cosme, who oversees Talk WKAQ-AM 580 and Latin Top 40 WKAQ-FM 104.7 “KQ105.” WKAQ-AM played a central role in providing important information to residents across Puerto Rico, using KQ105 as a simulcast partner in the day’s following Hurricane Maria.

Rosenworcel will deliver remarks following this panel discussion.

The event concludes with a panel set to end at 12:30pm on “Resiliency: Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Preparing a Newsroom Ahead of the Storm.”

This session will feature discussion and remarks from Cox Media Group/Houston Market Manager Mark Krieschen, Waterman Broadcasting EVP/GM Steve Pontius, FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes, and FEMA Project Manager Manny Centeno.

To RSVP for this event, please click here