Ten thousand battery-operated radios will be headed to Puerto Rico to help residents coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The National Association of Broadcasters, the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations and “multiple” U.S. broadcasters are funding this effort.
Florida Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Pat Roberts led the initiative on the ground and secured transportation from Miami. The mayor of Miami Beach, Philip Levine, is helping secure a staging area.
NAB said it working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Puerto Rican authorities on distribution, and it said three federal elected officials from Florida — Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Darren Soto (D) — were “instrumental” in coordinating the effort.
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said in the announcement, “Our fellow Americans in the Caribbean now face a once-in-a-generation humanitarian crisis, and radio is one of the only communications resources available.”
The announcement included quotes of appreciation from Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association Executive Director Jose Ribas Dominicci and Board President Raul Santiago Santos. The latter said, “This is going to be a very long recovery, and Puerto Ricans are information-starved for where to get help. Having local radio in the hands of our citizens will make a real and positive difference for our people.”
Mayor Levine in Miami Beach was quoted saying the NAB was “stepping up to provide critical communications infrastructure,” adding that right now, “Todos somos Puertorriqueños (‘We are all Puerto Ricans’).”