In an effort to keep broadcasters in the loop about what states are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Homeland Security are giving a nudge to the governors of every state and the U.S. territories. In a joint letter, the FCC and DHS are asking that radio stations be designated by each state as “essential to COVID-19 response efforts” with “all appropriate resources and access” made available to broadcasters. The letters included not only radio but also television stations, cable operations, and internet service providers.
“Government officials play a vital role in serving and protecting their communities. This is especially true in times of crisis such as the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” the letters said. “We ask that you consider the following recommendations, which will help protect the health and safety of their citizens by ensuring that the communications industry has the requisite access and resources needed to keep Americans connected during this challenging time.”
The letters were signed by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and Chris Krebs, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency inside the DHS. Last month it released guidance to state officials on how to treat America’s critical infrastructure workforce. That guide specifically pointed to broadcasters as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”A similar guide was sent to 9-1-1 centers.