Broadcasters on the air in Boston

Seems like something we should take for granted. Well, it isn’t. Broadcast tower

These are the times when infrastructure, a tradition of coming through in a pinch, and decades of investment count.

In Boston, the cell phone providers are down, as they are apt to be when big disasters hit.

But local TV and radio stations are providing wall-to-wall news and information to anybody with the ability to get an antenna in the air – there are even hand-cranked radio and TV sets.

KOMO’s experiment with mobile TV (see previous post) is the kind of service that comes through in a pinch – when the power is out, the cell phones are down and all else has failed.

I have had the occasion to be in the proximity of some of the biggest natural disasters in recent history, and it’s the over-the-air signals coming out of broadcast stations – with all their built in redundancies – that shine in scenarios like these.

But broadcasters are under pressure to sell their spectrum allocations to make room for more telecom-based gadgetry – gadgetry which by the way will likely carry none of the up to the minute news and information that the broadcasters do on a daily basis.

Just something to keep in mind as we watch the tragedy unfold in Boston and send our thoughts and prayers their way.