Posts tagged ‘first informers’

Mobile TV is Put to the Test this Hurricane Season

Mobile TV has been highlighted heavily on The Future of TV Blog, and Dyle TV is one of the companies leading the way in this broadcast innovation. Not only does this technology bring viewers their favorite broadcast content wherever they are, it is also proving to be a useful tool for local radio and TV stations to deliver lifesaving information to their communities.

Last week, Dyle TV announced a partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters and Florida Association of Broadcasters in a pilot program designed to give first responders access to critical information during this year’s hurricane season. As part of this program, Florida’s State Emergency Response Team (SERT) were given mobile TV receivers before June 1 – the beginning of hurricane season.

During times of crisis, it’s extremely common for cell towers to go down, making local, over-the-air television and radio the only way people can receive lifesaving information. It is the hope that by making mobile TV receivers available to first informers, they will be able to share updates before, during and after a disaster immediately to consumers.

Miami’s local broadcast station, WFLX, covered this new program for their viewers; the clip can be viewed here.

June 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

“Communicating Superstorm Sandy” Video Highlights Broadcasters’ Role of First Informers

As you know, the Future of TV blog highlights the latest innovations in broadcast technology, broadcast issues in Washington and the many ways local broadcasters are central to their communities.

An example of broadcasters’ commitment to serving their local communities is the recently released video “Communicating Superstorm Sandy” that showcases the vital role broadcasters serve as “first informers” during emergencies. The video accurately captures the rapid response and lifeline support of local broadcasters when the devastating storm hit the East Coast last fall.

Included in the video are testimonies of local broadcasters as they worked around the clock to provide their neighbors with information to keep them safe. Dan Joerres, president/general manager of Baltimore’s WBAL-TV 11 says, “A local television station is out in the elements. Our reporters, our anchors, they’re there to tell the true story, to keep the public informed.” Susan Schiller, vice president and news director of Philadelphia’s KYW CBS 3, adds that broadcasters “have a public trust. It’s really a sacred public trust.”

Communities turn to their local broadcast stations every day for news, weather, traffic updates, original programming and more, but it is during times of crisis when viewers are reminded of just how important their local broadcasters are. Chris May, anchor, KYW CBS 3 noted, “We’re here every day. People know they can rely on us. They know we’re honest with them.”

Adds NBC Nightly News Anchor/Managing Editor Brian Williams, “Yes, local news is the first line of defense. I think it’s still the best conveyance method there is.” 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is also featured in the video and credits broadcast stations with disseminating live-saving information: “In the immediate aftermath of the storm my way to communicate to the folks in my state was through the broadcasters…”  

Watch the video and let us know what you think of local broadcasters’ efforts to keep viewers safe.

May 3, 2013 at 8:38 am 2 comments

States Recognize Broadcasters’ Important Role as First Informers

Illinois and Nevada state legislatures recently passed legislation that recognizes the important role of local broadcast stations during times of crisis. The new laws, which help broadcasters stay on-air during  emergencies, reinforce that local radio and TV stations are often the only place to turn for critical information during difficult times.

First informer laws ensure individual broadcasters (key personnel such as a news anchor or cameraman) have transportation to their stations as well as the equipment needed to stay on the air to relay critical information to their communities (fuel and back-up generators). Joining Illinois and Nevada, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are the most recent states to take action to get first informers legislation passed. It is broadcasters’ hope that more states follow suit so stations can continue providing a vital lifeline for viewers and listeners.

Indeed, from the recent snow storm in New England to Hurricane Sandy, broadcasters are who communities turn to in  times of crisis. As the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s Paul Rotella said: “No one gets the word out like free, over-the-air broadcasters.”

Wally Babbidge, station manager at WHLT in Hattiesburg-Laurel, Miss., received an email from a parent saying he was able to reach his son in time to take cover before the tornado touched down thanks to the station’s work. After the tornado, the station delivered the community information from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and informed volunteers where the Salvation Army would be serving food for those impacted by the tornado. Babbidge says that broadcasters are, “the pulse of the community when it comes to providing information people need to know about life-threatening situations.”

Tell us, do you think your state should adopt a first informer law for your local broadcasters?

February 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm 1 comment

How Local TV Broadcasters Covered the Big Snow Storm of 2013

Time and time again, the importance of local broadcast stations is highlighted during times of crisis. When the weather forecast was calling for a massive snow storm in the Northeast last week, local broadcasters were quick to inform their communities, providing tips on how to prepare as well as notifying viewers of  local closures.

Television viewers turned to their local broadcast stations for up-to-the minute information on the storm, and many are still depending on their broadcast stations for information as their towns begin the process of digging out to find out when local business and schools will reopen.

One station in Connecticut helped spread the mayor’s request for local teens to help shovel out schools, leading to 500 people showing up to assist in this effort. Another station has released a time lapse video of the blizzard, demonstrating just how much Hartford, Conn., was affected.

When it matters most, broadcasters are there with the critical news and information you need to stay safe, even when other forms of communication fail. That’s the power of local broadcasting.

February 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

Broadcasters Work Nonstop as First Informers to Serve Their Local Communities During Hurricane Sandy

Earlier this week, millions of people turned to broadcast radio and television to get up-to-the minute information on Hurricane Sandy. TV stations up and down the East Coast worked around the clock to ensure their communities had the information they needed to prepare for the storm as well as track the storm to know when it would hit their area.

Stations began providing wall to wall coverage starting at 4 a.m. on Monday. WUSA Washington News Director Fred D’Ambrosi led his news crew, preparing them to be on air for the next several days, ensuring viewers had the lifesaving information they needed. “Everybody left home on Saturday prepared to be gone for five to seven days,” said WBAL Baltimore’s News Director Michele Butt. “You don’t stop covering the storm just because the sun comes out.”

Stations ran non-stop storm tracking radar images and news tickers with emergency information and weather updates, with many reporters pulling 12-hour shifts. Stations also utilized text alerts, social media outlets and updates on their website and mobile apps to provide viewers with critical information.

Many stations lost power during the storm and relied on generators to provide coverage, in addition to relying on satellite, microwave trucks and mobile backpacks to submit stories.

Covering the storm was truly a team effort and affiliate stations joined together to share resources and content. Some affiliates brought in employees from other stations not affected by the storm, including Cincinnati, Tulsa and Phoenix to relieve teams working long hours.

“I salute the remarkable work of our radio and TV station colleagues now putting themselves in harm’s way to keep millions of people safe and informed on the devastation of this deadly storm,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said. “As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate noted this weekend, in times of emergency there is no more reliable source of information than that coming from local broadcasters. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those in the path of Hurricane Sandy.”

Watch your local news and visit to learn how you can help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

November 2, 2012 at 9:13 am Leave a comment

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