A task force looking at all aspects of the response to Hurricane Sandy noted that private sector development of reliable communications is something to be encouraged, and according to the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, that means empowering a medium already primed to serve – FM radio.
Many disasters throughout recent history have not been kind to many media. One relatively new medium relied on by millions of Americans these days – cellular phone service – is one of those compromised during emergencies.
Even if the infrastructure enabling the service survives, heavy citizen usage typically floods the networks and makes communication all but impossible.
However, radio stations have a history of surviving such events – even if electricity is knocked out, alternate emergency power sources can be accessed to keep stations up and running.
Paul Rotella of NJBA says his organization has long advocated using FM as the basis for getting emergency information out to the people.
One important way to do this is to get active FM chips into cell phones so that even if they are useless for making personal calls, they can still be used to receive important emergency information without crippling spectrum capacity – thanks to FMs one-to-many distribution model.
Rotella said, “By adopting this valuable technology we can further keep our citizens informed and safe, especially in light of the upcoming hurricane season. You can rest assured that New Jersey’s broadcasters remain committed to the extraordinary public service and dedicated response to any emergency, natural or man-made, in fulfilling our mission to our vast and diverse listening audiences that we serve.”