The National Association of Broadcasters has bought 1,300 five-inch portable analog TVs and is teaming with the Louisiana and Mississippi state associations to hand them out to public safety officials helping with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
"Some of our officers affected by the flooding are still without electricity in their homes and have lost access to important information from local broadcasters," said Dave Young, executive director of the Louisiana State Troopers Association, in an NAB release.
NAB is in the midst of a full-court press to get Congress to include in new DTV transition bills both mandatory cable carriage of DTV multicast signals and a wide-ranging subsidy for analog-only viewers so that their sets will not be rendered obsolete when the analog signal is turned off.
As well as receiving signals, the portable TV's could also send a signal to Washington on that latter point, which is that broadcasters are currently an important communications link to first responders, not to mention victims and the country at large. That would counter criticisms leveled, primarily by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), that broadcasters' continued use of analog spectrum is unduly delaying its return for use by those first responders.
The NAB's effort follows one earlier in the week to hand out 10,000 battery-operated radios to Gulf Coast hurricane victims in concert with the Salvation Army and Red Cross.