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FCC's Pai: News Outlets Play Critical Role in Harvey Aid

"Broadcasters and other news outlets have played a critical role in conveying emergency information, and in some cases, even coordinating live, on-air rescues," in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Monday, Aug. 28. "Everyone who is pitching in deserves our gratitude and support. We’re all in this together.”

That came in a statement on the storm issued by the FCC.

Among those "others" was CNN, which hitched a ride on a citizen's rescue boat and wound up aiding the effort.

Pai said that the hardest hit areas were "Aransas, Calhoun, and Refugio" counties in Texas. In those areas, he said, most of the cell sites were out of operation.

He also said the FCC was keeping tabs on possible impacts of widespread flooding in Harris county, adding that the FCC had been working with the Department of Homeland Security to closely monitor communications networks.

“Today, I have talked with FCC public safety and enforcement staff, including field agents who have been traveling throughout the storm zone, to thank them for their efforts," he said. "I am also speaking with representatives from network operators in the affected areas to get first-hand assessments of the situation and make clear that the FCC stands ready to help however we can."

John Eggerton
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.