Micro-Radio for Evacuees at Astrodome Blocked

This sounds like a great idea–a 30-watt micro-station at the Astrodome broadcasting information on housing, finances, and school registration for the evacuees from Louisiana. But…

Before it could even get on the air, the plug appears to be pulled on what might be called “Radio Free Katrina” — a volunteer effort to create a tiny radio station for hurricane evacuees housed at the Astrodome.
“It’s really unfortunate. We had Sony Corporation donating 10,000 radios, we had all the equipment to have it on air in the entire complex,” said Rice University media professor Tish Stringer, who worked on the project. “I’m stunned, I’m disappointed.”

They were prepared to begin building the station today, after receiving permission from the Federal Communications Commission, the mayor of Houston and the governor of Texas. But organizers received word late Wednesday that they were being denied their request to broadcast from inside the sports arena.

Stringer said her group was told by the Joint Operations Center at the Astrodome that officials could not provide the radio station with electricity. Organizers say they offered to use battery power for KAMP, but were still denied.

One of the major complaints at the Astrodome is that people on the floor of the dome aren’t getting enough information about what to do next. So what possible purpose is served by keeping these people in the dark–especially when volunteers are ready to provide a solution for free?


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