Pai Assesses Post-Irma Florida Ahead Of A Midwest Trip


DORAL, FLA. — Lessons learned from Hurricane Irma across the state of Florida, and here in this Miami-Dade County hub of industry, will help improve the reliability and resiliency of our nation’s communications networks.

That was the message delivered Monday morning (9/18) by Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who joined FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a tour of Miami-area FCC-regulated facilities as the storm-battered region saw its students return to school and typically horrific rush hour traffic punctuated by still-inoperable traffic lights.

The comments from Clyburn came during a press conference held at the David Paulison Fire Rescue Headquarters Building on busy NW 41 Street — directly across from Univision‘s network and affiliate headquarters. It’s also blocks away from the Miami Herald‘s offices, and some 2 1/2 miles from CBS O&O WFOR-4.

A select group of Florida broadcasters met with Clyburn and Pai, sharing their experiences during Hurricane Irma.

Pai and Clyburn also met with representatives from the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center staff to learn about their response to Irma.

Many communities south of Miller Drive — including South Miami, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay and portions of Coral Gables — remain without power and are not expected to have electricity restored until the end of the day Tuesday (9/19).

Clyburn and Pai then sat in for an interview set to air Tuesday morning on iHeart’s News/Talk WIOD-AM 610 morning show, hosted by former Miami Dolphins player Jimmy Cefalo and iHeartLatino Chairman/Chief Creative Officer Enrique Santos.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn visit iHeartMedia’s Miramar, Fla., stations and participate in an interview with WIOD’s Jimmy Cefalo and WZTU morning host Enrique Santos, who helped deliver reports throughout Hurricane Irma for iHeartRadio.

Clyburn later drove to Hollywood, to visit with representatives from Cox Media Group’s Miami stations. Cox’s cluster includes Urban WEDR-FM “99 JAMZ” and Urban AC WHQT-FM “Hot 105.”

Once they complete their stay in Doral, Clyburn will head over to MIA to fly back to Washington. Chairman Pai will be booked on a flight to Indianapolis.

Starting tomorrow, he will be on another “road trip” to discuss “the importance of connectivity for public safety services in rural America and ways to bridge the digital divide.”

He’ll start his 800-mile journey with visits to 911 call centers in Noblesville, Ind., near Indianapolis, with Republican Rep. Susan Brooks. He’ll then drive some 250 miles to the southwest and visit Harrisburg, Ill., where he’ll be joined by Republican Rep. John Shimkus.

On Wednesday, Pai will motor west on U.S. 60 to an event in West Plains, Mo., with the secretary of the House Republican Conference, Rep. Jason Smith, and then an event in Ozark, some 100 miles further west, with another GOP house member: Rep. Billy Long.

Each of the events will focus on rural broadband.

That evening, Pai will drive another 90 miles, via I-44, to visit an emergency operations center in Joplin, Mo., and meet with public safety officials.

On Thursday, Chairman Pai will make his first visit to his home state of Kansas since being designated FCC Chairman.

In the morning, he will stop by his hometown of Parsons — an hour west of Joplin — and then attend the Kansas Broadband Conference in Wichita, some two hours west via U.S. 400.

He’ll remain in Wichita on Friday to visit a 911 facility and learn more about the Sunflower State’s Next Generation 911 program, before flying back to D.C.

Since being designated Chairman in January, he has made road trips to cities big and small in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.