We all feel the uncertainty right now, and with that comes the reminder of how important Arizona broadcasting is to the welfare of communities.
We all feel the uncertainty right now, and with that comes the reminder of how important Arizona broadcasting is to the health and welfare of our communities.
I know many of you already have systems and contingencies in place to work through the growing concerns around COVID-19. The ABA is offering the below checklist as a 'broadcasters back-stop' with guidance built specifically for our industry and built specifically for the needs of Arizona.
1) PROTECTING BROADCASTERS: Many stations now have temporary policies in place to limit station visitors and in-studio guests. Those same policies call for enhanced building disinfecting. The goal is to minimize the risk of station infection, to protect the people that keep stations on the air, and to keep facilities open so that operations aren't interrupted. I'm including a link from the AZ Department of Health with a sample staff letter about hygiene. If you haven't reviewed a change in these policies, consider giving them new thought.
2) STAFF WORK: Broadcasting is a tough business to migrate to "work from home" mode, but the ABA encourages every station to start thinking about who can complete their duties remotely. Health experts confirm that home work could minimize infection and also allow parents to take care of children who are now staying home from school. Many stations are also reviewing their company leave policy to be prepared for those who needs to self-quarantine. In a worst-case scenario, know the ABA is prepared to help coordinate a sharing of services among stations to help maintain operations.
3) EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM: The ABA has partnered with Arizona's Department of Emergency Management to take precautionary measures. In the very unlikely event that an EAS message is issued for quarantine or curfew in Arizona, the system code most likely to activate that event is SPW (Shelter in Place). Please make sure your engineers have your EAS boxes set up to recognize this code and potentially auto-forward messages. We'll update you of any other changes.
4) PUBLIC COMMUNICATION: We are living in a time of rattled nerves, quick-changing developments and a hunger for trusted information. The ABA encourages every Arizona radio and TV station to keep their audiences informed with vetted information, to offer clear guidance from public health experts, and to ensure their on-air personalities aren't adding to confusion. These are the moments where Arizona audiences need local media most. There are two public health sources worth bookmarking: Arizona Department of Health Services Updates | CDC National Updates
5) TRAINING RESOURCES: ABA training partner P1 has released an online video series about COVID-19 and pandemic planning for broadcasters. If you already have a free P1 account, the video series is on the homepage and available for free. If you don’t have an account (but would like to get one), please email our account manager Katey Woolam at firstname.lastname@example.org. This new series consists of 10 videos and is specifically designed to help prepare stations.
6) PHYSICAL CONTINGENCY PLAN: As we've seen from broadcasters in different parts of the world, it may be wise to ensure you have a physical contingency plan in place should you need to close down your broadcast facility because of a virus outbreak in the building. Over the past week, the ABA has helped several stations form in-market partnerships to support each other with physical space and signal uplinks (should the need arise). We encourage others to put that in place and can help coordinate for any station that asks.
7) TOWER ACCESS: In the unlikely event that public and government facilities are closed, the ABA is working to ensure that stations will continue to have access to tower sites that sit upon city park land. Think South Mountain in Phoenix or Mingus Mountain in Northern Arizona. Please continue reaching out to your third-party contacts at any tower sites you use to make sure you will keep access if public land closures come. Flag me as issues come up and I will jump into the conversations with you.
8: INFORMATION SHARING: We're only as good as the information we have collectively. I hope each of you will continue to share back with the ABA any important developments that you identify in your markets or within your stations. That feedback will help inform planning at other stations and in other parts of the state.
As Arizona broadcasters, we are our own family in times of uncertainty. Don't hesitate to reach out with any need, big or small. We'll keep taking deep breaths together.
President and CEO, Arizona Broadcasters Association
602.252.4833 (office) | 602-790-7537 (cell)
555 N Central Avenue, Suite 302 | Phoenix, AZ 85004 email@example.com
ABA 2020 RESOURCES AND SERVICES: The ABA focus in 2020 is to develop services and programs that can help stations build their current businesses stronger alongside investing in more efforts that help futureproof Arizona’s broadcast industry.