NAB, the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) and multiple U.S. broadcasters are funding the initiative. NAB is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local Puerto Rican authorities to ensure that the radios are properly distributed to those most in need. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) were instrumental in coordinating this effort.
“Time and again, broadcast radio has served as a lifeline to communities desperate for information and support,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “Our fellow Americans in the Caribbean now face a once-in-a-generation humanitarian crisis, and radio is one of the only communications resources available. We admire the resolve of our friends in Puerto Rico and are proud to undertake this effort with help from FEMA to keep citizens safe and informed.”
“We can’t thank NAB, NASBA and our radio brothers and sisters on the U.S. mainland enough for this initiative,” said Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association Executive Director Jose Ribas Dominicci. Raul Santiago Santos, Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association Board President, said, “This is going to be a very long recovery, and Puerto Ricans are information-starved for where to get help. Having local radio in the hands of our citizens will make a real and positive difference for our people.”
Florida Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Pat Roberts spearheaded this initiative on the ground and successfully secured transportation of the radios from Miami to Puerto Rico.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is helping secure a staging ground in Miami for the radios prior to shipment to Puerto Rico, said the crisis “requires our ongoing support and commitment, which is why I’m thankful to the NAB for stepping up to provide critical communications infrastructure. I saw firsthand how the local leadership and residents are eager to restore normal order and the efforts by the NAB and a number of companies in the private sector is what’s making a big difference. I look forward to the continued efforts to aid the great people of Puerto Rico because right now, todos somos Puertorriqueños (‘We are all Puerto Ricans’).”