Federal Communications Bar Association

At this time last year, we noted Giving Tuesday and decided to depart from our usual coverage of legal and policy issues and talk about something else – broadcasters giving back.  And we decided to do it again.  Broadcasters have long been known for their service to their communities, service benefitting individuals and groups across the country.  While broadcasters are always giving back to their communities and should be celebrated for that, those of us who make our living in some aspect of the industry should recognize that there are plenty of ways for us to give back as well – both to those associated with the industry who have fallen on hard times, and to those who need assistance in obtaining education and training to enter the media industry we so appreciate.

During the last two years when normal routines have been upended, those of us who have remained healthy and employed are truly blessed. We should all be thankful for jobs, friends, and good fortune. But we should also ourselves give back where possible.  In the broadcast industry itself, there are many groups doing good work. One that bears mention is the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which provides relief to broadcasters and former broadcasters who have, for one reason or another, fallen on hard times – whether that be for health reasons or because of some other disaster that has affected their lives. The Foundation deserves your consideration. More about the Foundation and its service, and ways to contribute, can be found at their website, here.
Continue Reading Broadcasters Giving Back – Thoughts for the Upcoming Giving Tuesday

For one blog entry, I’ll depart from our usual discussion of legal issues. There is plenty of time to analyze the effect that last night’s election will have on the broadcast industry, and to discuss other issues of importance to broadcasters. Instead, as we approach the holiday season, I thought that I’d go into another direction. I’ve just returned from the NJ coast, where my family has a home that was partially flooded by Hurricane Sandy. While we had some property damage, it was nothing compared to the destruction I saw in other neighborhoods on the Jersey Shore. Seeing the number of people affected by the storm, and hearing the radio reports from locations up and down the coast where the destruction was far worse, made me think that I should talk a little about the good things that the broadcast and communications industry does, and how those in the industry can help take care of their own.

It has been great to see the many TV networks broadcasting programs with the specific purpose of promoting hurricane relief. And, in a post that we’ll put on the blog later today, the FCC has just made it easier for noncommercial broadcasters to contribute in these. Being on the ground at the NJ shore for a few days, without electricity other than what was provided by a small gas-powered generator, demonstrated to me the power and importance of portable media – including radio. Throughout my weekend at the shore, we could get news and entertainment from a battery-powered radio and the radio in our car. Together with tidbits of news from Facebook posts, a local list-serve and the few other sites that we could get on our mobile phones (for as long as the phones stayed charged) in an area where the mobile networks were often slow due to the high demand for wireless service as the storm had ruined many landline connections  – these were our links to the outside world. Radio kept going, providing updates of all that was going on in the area. One local radio station was particularly noteworthy, as it was operating even though it did not have operating phones or email access. Yet it continued to broadcast, conveying information as to how people could help each other. That information was collected from people posting on the station’s Twitter feed. The station truly showed how convergence of electronic and broadcast media can really work well together. Continue Reading Broadcasters Giving Back – Thoughts on Sandy, Public Service and Communications Charitable Contributions