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FEMA Effort Provides Masks to Broadcasters

State associations are the conduit; NAB is helping coordinate

green cloth face mask
Getty/Kirill Rudenko

An effort is underway to distribute washable cotton masks to essential employees of U.S. broadcasters, those responsible for maintaining operational continuity of operations, during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Georgia, members of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters received an email this week that stated, “FEMA is providing every broadcast facility in Georgia the opportunity for free cotton masks to protect their employees as they perform their broadcast responsibilities during COVID-19. Please click the link below to fill out the form to request masks for your station.” It added that masks would be sent in packages of 10.

In New Jersey, Paul Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, told Radio World that FEMA plans to ship him a supply for broadcasters, and he has been communicating with member stations about how to distribute these once they arrive. He said NJBA will make them available to non-member stations as well.

Rotella said the National Association of Broadcasters has been helpful in coordinating this effort between the federal government and state broadcasters.

NAB spokeswoman Ann Marie Cumming told RW Tuesday, “We appreciate the effort by the Department of Homeland Security in support of broadcasters and other communications providers keeping people informed and safe during the COVID-19 crisis. The timing and logistics of distributing the masks is still being worked out, but the intention is for the masks to be distributed to essential employees of broadcasters — those responsible for maintaining the operational continuity of stations — in each state through the state broadcasters associations.”

RW reached out to FEMA for more info and will share any reply.