By Representative Joe Armstrong
Sorting through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, AKA “Frankenstorm,” the remnants left behind are as scary as the name implies. During the storm, we were grateful for the opportunities to know exactly what was happening all around us. We were also reassured by the fact, at least those of us with our battery operated radios that even if the power failed, we would still be able to know exactly what was happening around our communities and around our nation.
Radio has long been our friendly sentinel during these types of storms and the comfort we have all felt when the lights were out and the only heat available was the old wood stove, was aided by the security in knowing that we would still be able to hear what we were in store for, by means of the broadcasters on our radio.
This past week, (before, during and after The Storm), we were kept on alert by way of the innovative apparatuses that satiate today’s market with state-of-the-art weather equipment, televisions, cell phones, and of course our radios. As we traveled to get nearer to our families or further away from the storm via car, plane, train, or bus, we were hopeful we could reach our safe havens before these carriages were shut down, as was the case for the entire upper Atlantic coast. During these times we were also kept privy, (through radio and other trusty apparatuses), as to what, where and when the next mode of transportation would be closed.
The FCC and FEMA were also on task as they issued an announcement prior to “Frankenstorm,” listing communication tips for those residents in Hurricane Sandy’s path, reminding us how to use our cell phones and our radios for updates and advice. As stewards of our safety, they understood, of course, the importance of staying tuned in to news alerts and up-to-the-minute weather reports. These reports are crucial to keeping family, friends, neighbors, homes, businesses, and communities better prepared as to what is to come in the way of weather. And although the weather is oftentimes unpredictable, the forecasts offered through television, cell phones and radio can be, more often than not, life-saving.
So as we continue to be concerned about those who were caught in the path of destruction, we must also be thankful that for many; radio alerts, television alerts, and messaging through our cell phones were and continue to be lifelines. They have protected our families for many years, and as in the case of the radio, have kept us safe for many generations.
Hurricane Sandy, or better known now as “Frankenstorm,” could have had no better nemesis than our trusty battery-operated radio. My radio does not sit quietly awaiting the next catastrophe, but continues to provide me with news, weather, entertainment, political updates, until the next storm, (be it hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, terrorist attack, or political upheaval), arrives.
Radio stations and radio broadcasters help us every day in ways that we oftentimes don’t even realize. This National Association of Broadcasters link provides us with an inside view of just a few of the things that radio does to help their communities, (Licensed to Serve).
Please continue to support free over-the-air radio by staying tuned in to new legislation this fall and in 2013, ( such as the Internet Radio Fairness Act, commonly referred to as IRFA) that will affect free-over-the-air and internet radio.
State Representative Joe Armstrong is a life-long resident of the Fifteenth Legislative District of Tennessee. Representative Armstrong is very active in the local community and is a businessman who serves on the Board of Directors for several public and private companies; specializing in Oil and Gas, Banking, and Insurance. Representative Armstrong has received recognition for his commitment on both the local and national level, including the Tom Joyner Foundation Volunteer Award, Legislator of the Year Awards from the Tennessee Medical Association and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and Leadership Awards from the American Diabetes Association, the National Black and Hispanic Caucuses of State Legislators and the Knoxville Area Project Access Health Partnership.