Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

This was written by Rod Zeigler as a response to Dave Burns' comments.

I won't hold my tongue on this one.

He has actually hit the nail on the head on a few things. Fully automated stations and satellators probably do not have anyone that can go on the air locally. Staffing has been cut back to the marrow in many places. These operations are left with sales people that would not have a clue if you put them in a studio.

So, yes, there are quite a few broadcasters that are unable to serve the Public Interest, Convenience, and Necessity. Many have been allowed to do this by waiver of Regulations.

Automatic retransmission of EAS messages has been considered the remedy to this situation. For pre-incident information this is feasible, for post incident information it is not.

I appreciate the NWS and the fine product that they broadcast, however, asking them to start giving shelter information on a neighborhood, by neighborhood basis, or chasing down representatives from various utilities for predictions of service restoration is well beyond their mission. It is the mission of the local broadcaster.

One thing I do take exception to is asking for more "Requirements." Sorry, that is the last thing we need. If a company decides that emergency information dissemination is not in their business plan, then so be it. This is no different than any other formatics decision they make. If they broadcast programming that you do not like, you will turn the dial to another station. If they are running NASCAR while Rome burns, and you are interested in the fire, you will turn the dial.

You will also remember that in the future and your listening habits will reflect this. More requirements to cover emergencies will only be met with cleverer ways to circumvent them by those so inclined. I would suggest he remember his problems, with the broadcasters mentioned in his letter, when their licenses come up for renewal and make his displeasure known to the FCC at that time.

It would be nice if all emergency agencies cooperated with each other at all times. We live in the real world where this is not going to be the case in every situation. All we can hope for is the best at a given time. "Forcing" agencies to work together is not unlike herding cats. They might head in the same direction some of the time, but only when it suits their individual interests.

All we, as broadcasters interested in serving the public interest, convenience, and necessity, can do is help plan and implement the new system. It will be up to the public to find us when they need us.

Rod Zeigler


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