FCC Reports Progress in Restoring Communications After Katrina

Kenneth Moran, director of the FCC Enforcement Bureau's Office of Homeland Security, presented a picture of the progress being made in restoring communications in the Gulf Coast states affected by Hurricane Katrina. He said that out of 41 broadcast radio stations located in New Orleans and the surrounding area, only two AM and two FM stations remained on the air in the wake of the hurricane. At an open meeting in Atlanta on Sept. 15, Moran said that approximately 90 AM and FM radio stations are now back on the air in the disaster zone in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, with some 39 radio stations remaining off the air. Nineteen TV stations in the area are back on the air, although seven TV stations in Louisiana remain dark. Cable TV service has been restored to an estimated 520,000 cable subscribers in the affected areas, out of a total of approximately 950,000 subscribers.

Moran outlined the efforts the FCC has made in restoring communications, including granting more than 50 STA requests and nearly 100 requests for temporary frequency assignments. These requests included STAs for emergency microwave links to replace damaged and destroyed T-1 links, permission for first responders from outside the area to use their radios in the area and permission for TV or radio stations to resume broadcasting with modified or emergency facilities. For more information, see Director Kenneth Moran's presentation to the Commission.

The FCC commissioners issued their own statements at the meeting, complimenting broadcasters and communications providers for their response to the disaster and outlining the FCC's plans to assist recovery efforts. The statements and other FCC Hurricane Katrina documents can be accessed through the FCC's Katrina Emergency information Web page.

For those outside News Orleans interested in receiving Katrina recovery news from New Orleans radio station WWL, Larry Vehorn at LeSEA Broadcasting informed me that his shortwave station WHRI has been simulcasting WWL. See www.wwl.com for the shortwave schedule.