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Broadcasters Drew Bead on Charley

Looking to score some localism points with the Federal Communications Commission, National Association of Broadcasters president Eddie Fritts and Florida Association of Broadcasters president Pat Roberts have sent a letter to chairman Michael Powell (copied to the other commissioners) outlining broadcasters' efforts as "first responders" during Hurricane Charley.

They included a raft of clippings, comments and thank yous that argue those points were well-earned.

The pair pointed out that while the National Hurricane Center was still predicting a class 2 storm hitting Tampa, some local TV weatherfolk had upgraded it to a class 4 and had it turning East, both of which proved accurate. Among the accolades cited was this e-mail to a pair of Fort Myers stations: "Many thanks to the meteorology team who 'dared' to veer from the National Hurricane Center's predictions. I am certain that you are responsible for saving many lives."

They also outlined a raft of relief efforts, from food drives to benefit concerts, although Chairman Powell and other commissioners have downplayed non-broadcast efforts as evidence of local service.

"As the FCC continues its review of issues related to localism and EAS {Emergency Alerts System] reform, we believe that broadcasters' coverage of Hurricane Charley serves as a textbook example of the continue public service commitment and relevance of our nation's broadcasters," they said.

NAB also told the FCC that it is distributing PSAs to every radio and TV station in the country this week urging audiences to contribute to victim relief efforts.