Stations Praised for Making Katrina Case


Broadcasters got Hill kudos for spreading the word on their emergency communications efforts during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

At the NAB State Leadership Conference Monday in Washington, Mike Sozan, senior staffer for Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), told broadcast group heads that they had been "very successful" in educating him and his boss about their "valiant efforts" to stay on the air, and the "critical public-safety role" they continue to play.

But he also encouraged them to provide additional, concrete examples, saying "the more, the better."

Broadcasters have taken some heat over emergency communications issues post-Katrina, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) particularly vocal.

McCain continues to argue that broadcasters have been squatting on analog spectrum that, had it been returned to the government, could have gone to first responders who had trouble communicating with each other during 9/11 and since.

Broadcasters have turned the tables, pointing out that they, too, are first responders, using their channels to relay vital info before, during and after emergencies.