The FCC Saturday (yes, Saturday) cleared away some regulations to help broadcast stations and cable systems affected by Hurricane Rita, much as it did in the wake of Katrina. The FCC has been working weekends since Katrina to help coordinate communications recovery efforts, for which it has been getting high marks from Congress and the industry.
For broadcasters, the FCC will:
- Speed requests for special temporary authority (STA) for emergency changes to facilities.
- Allow stations to erect temporary TV or radio antennas; the required FCC notification within 24 hours has been waived.
- Allow AM stations to operate at full power at night to broadcast emergency information.
- Extend the notification period for stations that have had to go dark to 30 days, and requests to remain off the air to 60 days.
- Extend construction permit deadlines in disaster areas by 90 days.
Cable will get expedited STAs and the FCC will waive various technical rules.