FCC DIRS Activation for Derecho in Iowa
As a result of derecho affecting Iowa, the FCC has activated DIRS (Disaster Information Reporting System) for certain counties in Iowa.
Here’s a link to the FCC’s Public Notice released today: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-877A1.pdf
The counties in Iowa for which DIRS has been activated are: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Guthrie, Hardin, Henry, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, Warren, and Washington.
Please remember that DIRS is a voluntary reporting system through which broadcast stations can voluntarily provide the FCC with “snapshot” information as to whether they are on the air, off the air, or compromised. To be clear: Stations are not required to update the FCC on the status of operations, but you may do so if you are so inclined (here’s the DIRS login page: https://www.fcc.gov/nors/disaster/Login.cfm). To be sure, IBA’s recommendation is that your stations should attend first to the needs of the station and the listeners/viewers rather than taking the time to provide e-updates to the FCC about operational status.
That said, DIRS is a critical platform that the Commission relies on to ascertain the relative status of communications providers. Having accurate, current information submitted by broadcast stations via DIRS helps the FCC to understand where and how best to deploy its resources. Thus, while personal safety is of utmost importance, IBA is not suggesting that stations should ignore DIRS simply because it is voluntary. To the contrary, it’s probably the most efficient and effective way for the FCC to have a real-time snapshot of how broadcasters—who are critical lifelines in times like this—are faring. And the FCC only gets good information if broadcasters submit it via DIRS.