Broadcasters Should Be Designated As First Responders

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, local broadcasters were on the air around the clock broadcasting life saving information.

Many of you sent us letters thanking us for our coverage. Some of the messages even said, without WLOX, you would not have been able to survive.

But while police, fire, and EMTs are granted "first responders" status, broadcasters are not.

For example, giving broadcasters first responder status would mean fuel being shipped to the broadcasters could not be confiscated by state or local officials. Imagine if this had happen in Katrina and we had run out of fuel for our generators. This would have cut off your source of information.

In Congress, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has introduced a bill to designate broadcasters as first responders. That would insure that broadcasters would be able to provide life saving information without interruption.

Senator Landrieu says broadcasters following Katrina did a great job in sorting facts from unconfirmed rumors.

We thank Senator Landrieu for the vote of confidence and we ask you to call Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran and ask them to be a co-sponsor of the bill.

Senator Trent Lott may be reached at (228) 863-1988. Senator Thad Cochran may be reached at (228) 867-9710.

Broadcasters are not asking for any special status. We just want to make sure in another disaster, we have the resources to do our job - which is to keep you informed.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to

David Vincent
WLOX-TV Station Manager