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NAB, FCC, SBE Join in Hurricane Relief Efforts

As NAB member stations in the hurricane-ravaged South attempt to bring local news to their respective markets, other members across the country have stepped up to help. Local radio and television stations have teamed up with the American Red Cross to provide PSAs about how to donate money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, NAB asked members to donate equipment to the television and radio stations affected by the hurricane.

Radio PSAs of 10, 25 and 30 seconds can be downloaded from the NAB Web site, (, while television stations can order a free overnight dub by contacting Sarah Roberts at

NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts was especially aggrieved by news emerging from the affected areas.

"So many of the landmarks we know are gone," said Fritts, whose son resides in Jackson, Miss. Fritts commented that the home of his Ol' Miss classmate, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was destroyed, as was the home of Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.). Fritts, who lived through Hurricane Camille in 1969, estimated that economic recovery in the area would take at least five years. He praised the way broadcasters were handling the situation.

"At a Liberty station, 10 employees lost everything they owned," he said. "They still came to work."

To ease the burden on broadcasters in the devastated region, the FCC announced that the regulatory fee filing deadline for stations affected by Katrina would be extended to Sept. 28. In addition, the commission eased requirements for Special Temporary Authority (STA) permissions, erection of emergency transmitting antennas, and permission to limit or discontinue operations for those stations affected by the hurricane. For specific information on these and other FCC storm-related assistance actions, stations should check the FCC's Hurricane Katrina Update Web page.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers also offered assistance in the form of a "clearinghouse" to put those who can offer assistance in touch with those who request aid. SBE President Ray Benedict announced that a special e-mail address,, has been established for this purpose. Assistance may take the form of temporary housing, clothing and personal items, or possibly parts and equipment needed for station facilities. In addition to the e-mail address, broadcasters offering or desiring assistance may call the SBE's national office at 317-846-9092 or visit the organization's Web site.