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Hurricane Ike - Friday Update

Please view the following information on disaster preparedness for Hurricane Ike.

As of Noon today, the State of Texas and the National Guard have not been able to provide any assistance to any Texas broadcaster in the way of generators or fuel.

TAB has made several requests on behalf of stations with the Guard and the State of Texas, but no relief has been provided. 

At the Federal level, the FCC may be able to redirect federal resources to broadcasters. 

Stations should continue to use the TAB form to alert us as to individual station needs.  TAB will follow up on these with the State of Texas, National Guard and the FCC.

Since relief may only come from federal agencies, TAB encourages all broadcasters to enroll in the FCC?s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS).  More details on DIRS are below

Here?s what TAB has ascertained thus far:

The State of Texas considers communications service providers (not news teams) as essential service providers.    This means your engineering staff may get access to tower sites, etc., but there?s no guarantee news crews will get access to where they want to go.
The County Judge/Emergency Manager/Sheriff/Chief of Police controls access at the local level.

Fuel / Generators
The State of Texas is not providing fuel or generators for broadcasters at this time.   The National Guard has yet to provide a station with one, despite repeated requests.  It is possible that the federal government, through the FCC?s assistance, may be able to assist in this regard.
If your normal suppliers cannot assist you?per the State?as a last resort, you may contact the Industry Rep at the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Debbie Hastings at 512-633-2909.
Before reaching out to Ms. Hastings, please feel free to contact the Federal Emergency Support Function #2 (ESF #2) desk at FEMA?s Joint Field Office, which coordinates the needs of commercial communications providers with the State.  You may reach the Federal ESF #2 team by telephone at 512-465-3805, 512-465-3814 or 512-465-3815. They do not have a functioning e-mail address.

Stations can also contact the FCC?s Allan Manuel, in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, if you are having trouble accessing fuel, facilities or need assistance in obtaining generators.   Allan's direct dial at the FCC is 202-418-1164, or he can be reached at
Special Temporary Authority (STAs) and Waivers
Please follow normal FCC procedures during business hours (see STA Bureau and Office contact list at
For requests outside of 8-5:30 pm M-F (EASTERN), call the FCC Operations Center at 202-418-1122 or 202-418-1192
FCC Contacts
SAFETY OF LIFE and 24/7 emergency support FCC Operations Center 202-418-1122 or 202-418-1192 or
During normal operating hours, you may reach the following Media Bureau or Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau liaisons at the following numbers:

  • Thomas Horan, Chief of Staff, Media Bureau: 202-418-2486
  • Peter Doyle, Chief, Audio Division, Media Bureau: 202-418-2789
  • Barbara Kreisman, Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau: 202-418-1600
  • Jeffery Goldthorp, Division Chief, PSHSB: 202-418-1096
  • Allan Manuel, Associate Division Chief, PSHSB: 202-391-5331

DIRS is a voluntary program the FCC uses to assess, on a daily basis, communications outage information during a disaster.  Because broadcasters play a critical role in keeping citizens informed during disasters, the FCC is ready to assist broadcasters in their efforts to restore communications in areas affected by a disaster.  

It is important for stations to enroll in the program and provide the FCC with daily updates regarding station operations.

The FCC uses the information reported through DIRS to track problem areas, to establish priorities, and designate federal resources to help resolve operational issues for broadcasters.

DIRS has been activated for portions of Texas and Lousiana.  The area of interest for this activation is focused on those areas projected to be hardest hit by the storm.  If your station is one of the following Texas counties, you should sign up on DIRS if you have not already done so:
Anderson, Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, Falls, Fayette, Fort Bend, Freestone, Galveston, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Henderson, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Madison, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Robertson, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton

If and only if you have communications equipment in the disaster area, the FCC requests that you provide daily reports on the status of your equipment by using DIRS.

Accessing DIRS
Go to:
Alternately, you can go to and find DIRS under e-filing. 

Time Schedule 
The FCC requests that you provide the first set of reports by 2:00 pm (Eastern Time) today. Subsequent reports should be made by 11:00 am (Eastern Time) every day while DIRS is activated.

There is a User Manual available at the DIRS website.  Please feel free to contact John Healy, FCC, at 202-418-2448 or at 215-847-8094 (cell) if you have any questions.  The information collected by DIRS will be treated as presumptively confidential by FCC employees. 

Reminder on TV Station Closed Captioning
The FCC requires all television stations that provide emergency information to do so in a format that is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Information that is provided in the audio portion of emergency programming must also be provided visually. 

At a minimum, the visual presentation must include critical information about the ongoing emergency, such as ?specific details regarding the areas that will be affected by the emergency, evacuation orders, detailed descriptions of areas to be evacuated, specific evacuation routes, approved shelters or the way to take shelter in one's home, instructions on how to secure personal property, road closures, and how to obtain relief assistance.?

Stations should be especially diligent in ensuring that they provide any emergency information in both audio and video format.  In addition to closed captioning, the FCC confirmed that the use of open captioning, crawls, scrolls, maps, signs and charts may be appropriate. 

The FCC has emphasized in past orders that regardless of the method of visual presentation used, stations must provide hearing and hearing disabled individuals with functionally equivalent access to the underlying emergency information.   The FCC has directed stations to ensure that any closed captioning does not interfere with other visual devices, and vice versa.

TAB strongly urges Texas TV stations to review continuous coverage plans as soon as possible to make sure they can comply with this FCC rule. 

The FCC has shown no hesitancy in imposing tens of thousands of dollars in fines on stations in three TV markets that failed to adequately caption their emergency programming.  

Emergency Alert System

TAB is in contact with the State of Texas Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to determine whether or not state activation of EAS is possible. 

TAB will advise stations of any developments in this area.

EAS was considered for the contra-flow evacuations along major highways out of the Houston/Galveston area during Hurricane Rita in 2005, but it was not activated.

TAB Staff Contact Info

You can reach the following TAB staff at anytime in the next several days:

Ann Arnold
O: (512) 322-9991
H: (512) 453-0223

Oscar Rodriguez
O: (512) 615-1510
C: (512) 771-0238

Michael Schneider

O: (512) 615-1503
C: (512) 217-9948

TAB Assistance Form

Download here and e-mail to

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