Galloway Endorses Low Power Radio Stations

There could be more stations on the radio in the future, but not just to entertain. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, a push began for low power radio stations to be available during emergencies.

Newton County Emergency Management Agency director Gary Galloway supports the Local Community Radio Act that, if it passes the U.S. House and Senate, would allow hundreds of new licenses to be granted for low power FM radio stations.

Galloway just returned from Washington, D.C., where he testified before a Congressional committee about the need for these licenses.

These stations can run off generators or even a car battery during a power outage. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, Galloway says a station like that was a saving grace.

"They couldn't communicate. They didn't have power. Their homes were wiped off the foundation. These people needed help," said Galloway.

For three months after the storm, Galloway was one of the scores of emergency responders who helped with the recovery effort on the coast.

"What I liked about low power FM was us that were trying to help them in emergency services, we had an access to them over the radio and that was the immediate," said Galloway.

If this measure passes Congress, one of the first areas expected to apply for a low power license is East Central Community College. Within the last few years, Galloway says he has talked at least three times with ECCC officials about starting such a station.

If passed, Galloway says he would also like to see more low power FM stations be established along storm evacuation routes. He says he's hopeful that the measure will pass in both chambers of Congress by the end of this year.

Do you think there's a need for low power FM radio stations?

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:28 PM
    You're right, James. WOKK has for many years had a high capacity generator available to give it power during outages. It is very good foresight on the part of management....something you can count on. And all in the public should own battery-operated radios and keep fresh batteries on hand. WTOK does the same. It may have to operate on low power...but hey, I'm thankful. It can be your only contact for information in times of trouble.
  • by James Location: Meridian, MS on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:03 PM
    I don't listen to much radio but I do remember WOKK being one of the only stations on the air during Hurricane Katrina. We listened all day and night during those few days. I think they did a good job of keeping everyone updated.
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