As of this week, more than a dozen broadcast stations remain off the air. While many simply don’t have power, others have suffered equipment or facility damage from hurricane Katrina.
Fortunately help from the industry is available. The SBE, AES and NAB in addition to several vendors, have offered technical assistance and equipment to these stations. Engineers from stations around the country are getting together via various chat sites online to offer advice and assistance.
Several companies have announced product support. This includes emergency service, parts, loaner equipment, and technical assistance, some available at no charge to the stations in greatest need. Among the audio companies leading the efforts are Orban, Circuit Research Labs and Harris.
Harris is offering manufactured equipment shelters with transmitters. All equipment will be pre-wired and shipped directly to a customer's site on flat bed trucks. "Just hook up the antenna and power! We have partnered with antenna and other vendors to provide turnkey installations and to provide, if needed, long term financing. We can also supply emergency equipment (audio or RF)," e-mailed Hal Kneller manager, Public Radio Initiatives, Broadcast Communications Division at Harris. Broadcasters can contact Kneller directly at 941-639-1889, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via ham radio at call letters KD4RLX.
Orban/CRL President, Chairman, and CEO Jay Brentlinger said his company has assembled its technical team and a fleet of mobile broadcast vehicles in the area affected areas, offering technical assistance at no charge. Stations that have experienced damage can contact the company's 24-hour emergency hotline at 480-403-8391 or visit www.orban.com, and fill out an Emergency Assistance request form. “These are our fellow broadcasters,” said Brentlinger. “Many radio and television stations in the Gulf and central United States have been Orban/CRL customers for many years and we want to show our support for these broadcasters in their time of need.”
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, www.cpb.org, has made $500,000 available as grants to non-commercial stations affected by the hurricane. These funds are available immediately for emergency repairs and generator fuel. Engineers should contact CPB directly at 202-879-9600.
The National Association of Broadcasters has also launched www.BroadcastUnity.org as a central resource for broadcasters in their relief efforts both for hurricane victims and for broadcasters trying to get back on the air. Broadcast equipment needs, community charities, PSAs, as well as stories about what broadcasters are doing around the country to help are included on the Web site.
Additional information on audio specific hurricane assistance for broadcasters is available via our sister publication MIX Magazine at http://mixonline.com/news/headline/telos-support-katrina-0906054/.