Wednesday, May 27, 2009|One aspect Mr. Dotinga didn’t mention was station automation. If an emergency happens during off-hours, some stations may not even have staff on-site to begin broadcasting. I’ve heard one station you mention in your story have an hour of dead-air during the early morning of a weekend (due to their automation), which led me to believe that no one responsible for their license was listening or being alerted. If someone can’t get to their station to correct a problem with their airwaves in 60 minutes, what’s going to happen in the event of an immediate disaster?
The problem you report isn’t unique to San Diego, but as you mention, we live in a county susceptible to immediate disasters. Even in this era of alternate communications, the airwaves are still going to be the initial source of news and information when a disaster happens. I have to agree with the veteran broadcasters you interviewed who see serious issues with what’s become of broadcast “news” in San Diego. The one broadcaster who’s not concerned, Cliff Albert, is speaking for a corporation which controls radio broadcasting in San Diego n what’s he suppose to say? The nation’s airwaves are still “owned” by the public, and broadcasters are still licensed to operate “in the public interest.” Trouble is, corporate profits have gotten in the way of the public’s interest.