Digital Duck and Cover

A digital-age "duck-and-cover" campaign is being launched by the National Association of Broadcasters in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.

"Are You Ready?," billed as an emergency preparedness guide for broadcasters and their viewers, will be distributed to TV and radio stations throughout the month (September is National Preparedness Month). NAB will also distribute related PSAs and has created an area on its Web Site.

The message: "Preparing for uncertainty is an appropriate response to world events."

"Broadcasters take very seriously our role as first responders in times of crisis," said NAB President Eddie Fritts. "Local citizens know that they can rely on radio and television stations as a lifeline service in the event of terrorist acts, tornado alerts, and natural disasters."

That message resonates in Washington these days, with broadcasters receiving criticism on Capitol Hill for continuing to occupy some spectrum targeted for emergency communications for first responders.

Broadcasters and others counter that they, too, have emergency communications responsibilities in times of emergency, pointing to the lifesaving work of broadcast meteorologists during the Florida hurricanes.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.