National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith
told the FCC Wednesday that he was glad they were holding field hearings on
communications challenges during emergencies and pointed out that local radio
and TV were a "remarkably resilient lifeline" during Superstorm
The FCC announced
the hearings last week, prompted in part by its own accounting that some
25% of cell sites in 10 states were knocked out for some period of time during
the storm that battered the East Coast, and likely in part by some pressure
from the Hill on both the House and Senate
side. In particular, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked the FCC to come
up with a new emergency response plan.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel was also vocal about the
need for the FCC to gauge the resiliency of networks.
That same FCC accounting found that, by contrast, almost no
broadcast facilities were off the air.
"In many cities and for millions of people in Sandy's
path, broadcasters were the only source of information during those difficult
days," said Smith in a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
Smith said broadcasters want to be a part of the hearings
and offered to identify potential participants.