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Support for C4: Small Stations as First — and Only — Informers

Another in a series of articles exploring comments about the proposed C4 Class

We reported last week that an FCC Notice of Inquiry about the Class 4 station proposal triggered a commentary period, and supporters have been quick to share their thoughts about Docket 18-184.

To date, the majority of the comments have been positive. Read on for a sampling of why some advocates say the commission should move forward with this idea. Submit your own comment before Aug. 13.

[Read: So Far, Comments Largely in Favor of Proposed C4 Class]

Many commenters emphasized the important role that their stations play as first — sometimes only — informers during natural disasters and other emergencies.

Team Radio Marketing Group Owner Bill Coleman of north-central Oklahoma writes, “Here in Tornado Alley, we take our jobs as first informers very serious. … By allowing my station to go up to 12,000 watts, more people will be informed during times of severe weather. The key to surviving a tornado is knowing that one is imminent. It would be of great benefit to the public’s safety if the FCC approves MB-18-184. Keep in mind that after the storm information is critical as well. Local radio has proved time and time again we are a lifeline after a disaster as well. More coverage will mean more citizens can receive lifesaving and survival information.”

Flagler Broadcasting LLC Pres. James Martin and VP/GM David L. Ayres jointly commented that the C4 proposal would benefit “many smaller communities in western Flagler & Putnam county Florida.” During recent hurricane seasons, they said, “Only WAKX was providing micro information from Florida Power & Light, local health departments and emergency management officials. With no power in these underserved areas there is no drinking water from wells and limited cell service. Where and how to get supplies, progress of power restoration, schools reopening, health hazards are all reasons local radio is their life line during emergencies.”

Retired broadcaster Cal Zethmayr lives in Crestview, Fla. He cited his years of experience and his current home as part of his support for Class C4. “As someone who began a broadcasting career in 1954, I have seen and used hundreds of the technical advances in our industry. I’ve also experienced the multitude of changes made in the regulations by the FCC. The current proposal to create a new C4 classification in my opinion is a positive effort that will benefit many small market operators. Living in a hurricane prone area of the country, I know the added and improved coverage areas made possible by the power increase proposed means we will better serve the majority of our listening area. The majority of our current and possibly future coverage area is rural, dotted by small communities and towns. ”

Vermont Broadcast Associates Pres. Bruce James commented, “In the rural and mountainous terrain we broadcast in, an increase in power would help get storm messages out to those who are shadowed at this time.”

Louis Coco Jr., owner of Mansura, La., station KZLG(FM) wrote, “We are affected by floods and many other natural disasters. Our economy is supported by agriculture. We broadcast information relating to these and many other local issues. Since we are surrounded by many other small communities, we try to get as much information out as possible. The stations in the city don’t always address these problems because we are in a small, less-populated area. We need this power increase to reach as many people as possible. Some days, our signal does not cover the areas that need this information. We’ve been asked many times by listeners why can’t we increase our power to help them get the local news and information they need. … Even though we will probably not get any extra revenue from this, we are more than willing to spend the money to get it.”

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