Here is the text of an article from Inside Radio published on November 25, 2014, where FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly praises Buffalo radio and TV stations for their storm coverage:

Buffalo broadcasters last week showed off the power of radio once again as they responded to a historic snow storm that paralyzed parts of the market.   FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly, a Buffalo native, is giving western New York radio and television stations high marks.  “It strengthens my view on broadcasting in general,” he tells Inside Radio.

O’Rielly held a conference call with Buffalo radio and TV managers to not only see if they needed any federal support (they didn’t) but also to hear first-hand about their efforts.  “They kept powering through the storm, committing umpteen hours of airtime, and bringing in teams from other parts of the country, making sure they had troops to get out the information,” he says. Beyond just giving critical weather information, O’Rielly says broadcasters helped the community create a bond — and hold local officials accountable for claims they made. 

“People were calling in from different communities and stations could turn around and ask the local officials right away about it,” he says. “I was very impressed also with their use of social media — not only were people listening and watching their broadcasts, they were also getting their information out as fast as they could on different media as best they could.”

While FM music stations gave updates, like most markets the information was mainly on the AM dial as the heavy lifting last week was left to Entercom’s news-talk WBEN (930).   “I’m sympathetic to making sure AM can get the changes it needs to survive going forward,” O’Rielly says. “I think there’s an opportunity for us to provide some relief in there and have a stronger AM band.”

But the bigger takeaway, O’Reilly says, is radio’s continued willingness to step up in a crisis. “I think when all broadcasters are put to the challenge, they step up and meet their obligations and the community needs,” he says. “This time it was Buffalo that was challenged but I see that throughout the country through all kinds of crises that they face.”

 

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