Florida Broadcaster Pushes Power Priority

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Patrick Roberts, president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, told a Senate Commerce Committee panel Tuesday that several changes should be made to emergency communications procedures.

During a hearing on weather prediction—held in the wake of Hurricane Katrina—Roberts argued that radio and TV stations should be given priority status for fuel.

He pointed to several Gulf Coast stations that almost went dark for lack of fuel for back-up generators. Last week, broadcasters at a special Katrina-related FCC hearing thanked the FCC for intervening to get it much-needed fuel before, in one case with only an hour and a half of fuel left.
In addition, Roberts said that the Emergency Alert System needs to be changed, and he called for a nationwide preparedness public awareness campaign that state associations and the National Association of Broadcasters are ready to help spearhead.

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