Posts tagged ‘Lifeline’

Congress recognizes broadcasters’ ability to reach mass audiences in times of crisis

The beginning of June marked the official start of hurricane season, and once again, local radio and television stations are ready to keep their communities safe and informed wherever and whenever weather emergencies strike.

Ten members of Congress delivered statements on the House floor acknowledging the vital role that broadcasters play during severe weather emergencies by providing early warnings and disaster relief when the unthinkable happens.

The following members delivered statements (view video of members’ statements):

Reps. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09), Hansen Clarke (MI-13), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Billy Long (MO-07), Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04), Ted Poe (TX-02), Laura Richardson (CA-37), David Scott (GA-13), Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Todd Young (IN-09).

In addition, four members submitted statements to the Congressional Record:

Even Federal Emergency Management Association administrator Craig Fugate has acknowledged that broadcast radio and TV is the best way to stay up-to-date on severe weather information when disaster strikes. And broadcasters are now poised to deliver this lifesaving information to Americans on the go.

There are more than 100 TV stations nationwide delivering mobile signals to smartphones and tablets, and several models of smartphones feature broadcast radio. Because broadcast signals are sent “over the air,” even when cell towers are congested or down, local broadcasters are able to reach mass audiences with critical information through smartphones and tablets. Make sure you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you this summer, and don’t forget to tune into your local broadcast stations to get all the information you need to stay safe.

 

June 12, 2012 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Hold onto your hat – hurricane season is on the way

The bad news is that June 1 marks the start of hurricane season. The good news, however, is that you can stay safe by tuning in to your local TV and radio stations to get critical emergency information. And many of you can tune in on the go using your smartphone or tablet, even if power lines are down and cell networks are congested.

How is that possible? More stations than ever before are broadcasting mobile channels. Mobile TV is delivered from your local stations to your mobile device using over-the-air technology, not wireless networks. Not only does that mean you can still receive local emergency information even when cell towers are down, but it also means there are no additional data streaming charges.

Your phone will need to be enabled with a chip – check here to see if your device already has those capabilities built-in. If it is not, consumers in many areas can purchase a USB flash drive-sized mobile TV receiver for their laptop or tablet, like the DTV111 from Coby Electronics. Watch this short video to get a glimpse of how this technology works.

Radio-enabled mobile phones provide another way for consumers to get vital emergency information when storms are looming. Again, even when cell towers are down or congested, radio-enabled phones are able to receive local broadcasts over-the-air, keeping you informed and safe. For a list of radio-enabled phones from major wireless carriers, click here.

Broadcasters take their role as first informers very seriously and local stations around the country are innovating to keep viewers safe and meet your needs of on-demand information.

Remember, when the storms roll in your local broadcasters will help you stay safe and stay informed!

May 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment

Stay safe out there!

In times of weather emergencies you need immediate access to information that will keep you and your family safe. And more than anywhere else, Americans turn to their local TV and radio stations to keep them informed.

Broadcasters understand better than anyone that seconds count when a storm is approaching. As first informers, local TV stations around the country are innovating to keep viewers safe and meet your needs of on-demand information.

One station, KWCH in Kansas, is an excellent example of the hard work of stations to deliver critical information in emergency situations. Incorporating Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps for news and weather, and of course over-the-air AND live-streaming free and local TV, KWCH brings information to viewers in numerous ways to keep people safe and save lives.

Watch what it takes to quickly pull all the information together in real time and keep viewers up-to-date on changing weather conditions.

Tell us—how do you stay informed during times of an emergency? Have local radio and TV been a lifeline for you?

May 3, 2012 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

And now for the weather

Your great-uncle may always know it’s going to rain because of the twinge he gets in his knee, but broadcasters need to take a little more scientific approach to the daily weather report.

New technologies are being debuted at this year’s NAB Show, many of them inspired by viewers just like you! These weather technology innovations include:

  • More realistic 3D and virtual graphics.
  • Closer integration of graphics engines with speedy data analysis.
  • Improved speed and resolution of mapping and radar data.
  • Hyperlocal and social media features added to storm tracking systems.
  • A new product that combines traffic and weather visuals.

Read more about how local viewers helped broadcasters innovate their local weather reports.

What do you think? Which one of these new technologies interest or intrigue you the most? Is there anything you would add?

Your local TV and radio broadcasters take their role as first informers very seriously – whether that’s alerting you to take an umbrella when you head out of the house, or alerting you to take cover because a tornado is fast approaching.

Stations are constantly innovating to deliver the critical information you need… anytime and everywhere you are. Stay tuned as the future of TV unfolds!

April 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

Local TV and Radio – Always on. Always there.

Spring may bring April showers and May flowers, but it can also bring some devastating weather. When tornadoes  recently tore through  communities in the Southeast and Midwest, local TV and radio stations were  there to help keep their viewers and listeners safe every step of the way.

Viewers of KY3-TV reported they first received a text alert [warning a tornado was coming] from the TV station in the middle of the night, and turned to the station’s website for live radar. One viewer said after turning on the TV, ‘you were the only ones on the air. You saved my life.’”

After the storms, broadcasters swung into action to support their communities. Country music star Rodney Atkins partnered with local radio station WRIL in Pineville, Ky., to broadcast a concert –on local radio to raise funds for towns in Kentucky and Tennessee that had been devastated by the storms. WTHR-TV in Indianapolis and their viewers helped raise more than $500,000 for relief funds after tornadoes ripped through Indiana. And the list goes on and on. Even broadcasters not directly impacted by the tornadoes have pitched in to help.

WGAL-TV in Pennsylvania covers the area of Lancaster, Harrisburg, York and Lebanon. When they noticed that a number of towns in the Midwest that had been hit hard  had the same name as towns in their area, they “decided to launch [a] fundraising drive to support the American Red Cross in its work to bring relief to those who lost so much in these ‘sister towns.’”

Local TV and radio broadcasters are a lifeline for their communities before, during and after times of crisis . For critical information to stay safe during an emergency, turn to those who are always on and always there for you.

March 21, 2012 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Congress Protects Viewers in Spectrum Legislation

Recently, Congress voted on legislation extending the payroll tax cut, which included language authorizing a voluntary spectrum incentive auction. Viewers and broadcasters alike should be pleased with the outcome of this legislation that contains vital viewer protections, ensuring local over-the-air TV stations have the ability to innovate and provide viewers like you with the news, emergency information, sports and entertainment you expect and deserve. This result is due in large part to the advocacy of viewers who took action on this website to make their voices heard in the halls of Congress.

This is a great accomplishment, but our work is not finished. It is now up to the Federal Communications Commission to implement the legislation and conduct a spectrum incentive auction. We will continue working with Congress and the FCC to ensure that free and local TV is able to operate and innovate in a marketplace free of unnecessary regulation, preserving local television’s ability to provide viewers with the great services you currently receive and those on the horizon.

Continue visiting our website and blog for more information on how you can help to ensure an even brighter future for free, local television. And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on the future of TV.

Together, we are securing a vibrant and robust future for free, local over-the-air TV.

February 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm 2 comments

It’s cool to have rabbit ears again

Digital_AntennaIt’s not just those in the broadcasting community talking about The Best Deal Around anymore. Over-the-air antennas, affectionately dubbed “rabbit ears” are getting more coverage than ever these days, from high-profile tech blogs like Gizmodo to articles in the well-respected publications like Time and Wall Street Journal.

Why all the interest? Aren’t rabbit ears a relic of the past?

On the contrary – as  Avner Ronen, chief executive of Boxee, says in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “’Many consumers don’t realize [that by using rabbit ears] they can get these channels over the air in HD for free…’.”

Additionally, “the number of American households wired with only broadband and broadcast TV jumped 23% to 5.1 million in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the year-earlier period, according to a recent Nielsen study.” (Read more).

With this increase in households using only broadband and broadcast TV, Gizmodo notes that “Rabbit ears are a perfect complement to streaming; they’re inexpensive, and they let you watch a good amount of ‘event’ programming [such as awards programs, major sport events, etc.] live.” (Read more).

And, as Time points out, “Most places in the U.S. can get on average 30 to 45 channels over the air” for free. (Read more).

It’s not surprising more viewers are realizing the exciting and diverse channels all offered for free through broadcast television. And an affordable antenna is just the thing to help bring a world of high-quality content into your home. Could it be that rabbit ears are actually cool? We think millions of TV viewers would agree that answer is a resounding “yes.”

Sign-up for email alerts from TheFutureofTV.org  and check back on this blog to keep up on the latest news impacting free and local television.

February 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm 5 comments

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