Shame on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

trucks_18_wheeler_peterbilt_automotive_m29839As one of numerous child safety advocates across the country, I am extremely saddened and disappointed with the FCC’s astonishingly insensitive action this week preventing hundreds of thousands of truck drivers from becoming critical first responders in the search for missing and abducted children and adults.

 

I could not be more disappointed in the FCC for failing to acknowledge the vast contribution that America’s 2.5 million strong trucking community provides to our great nation by providing them with a basic service that would have ultimately benefited our entire country.

 

We frankly disagree with the FCC, as do the more than 50,000 truck drivers and public safety advocates who wrote to the Commission regarding the public interest benefits of our proposal. Ultimately, the FCC has missed an opportunity to save lives.

 

Twenty years ago, my daughter Polly was kidnapped, but the long-haul trucker community was there to help circulate flyers far and wide. We rapidly realized that truckers are out there on the roads and at highway rest stops, convenience stores, gas stations, and fast food restaurants where persons on the run frequently try to escape. It’s still a fact that there are thousands of truckers in rural America who cannot access basic TV at truck stops across the country – for 10 hours or more per day their cabs are their living rooms on the road.

 

Clarity Media found a way to serve the trucking community so it could enjoy — at an affordable rate — the high-quality television services the rest of society takes for granted. Yet the FCC ignored compelling arguments, multiple tests and benefits to the trucking community as well as missing children.

 

Clarity’s proposal included a Public Safety and Alert channel that would have allowed truckers to receive news flashes, special reports, and full-length programming about unresolved missing person cases from local television stations, national cable and satellite channels, and Clarity channels. And in addition to high-profile cases, the service would have also featured lower-profile cases that may have failed to receive media attention, including missing adults excluded by their age from the Amber Alert system.

 

The FCC’s decision means a lot of underserved and underprivileged truck drivers won’t be able to assist the families and law enforcement officials who so desperately need their help. We hope the Commission will soon realize how its decision adversely affects cases involving missing and abducted children. We plan to continue our fight and urge the public to join us.

Why America’s Long Haul Truckers Deserve TV Service

This evening Nancy Grace made a call to action to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates broadcast media, to grant a license so that America’s vast long haul trucking community could at long last be able to watch a suite of television options during their federally mandated rest stops. Climb on board and demonstrate your support of this important initiative by letting the FCC know how you feel.

Since 2004, the KlaasKids Foundation has been aggressively participating in a case at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, DC. KlaasKids wants the FCC to approve a proposal that will unleash major resources for the cause to recover missing children and adults at no cost to Government.  The case has suffered from prolonged delays, and we need your voice to arouse the FCC from its slumber and jar it to action.

The proposal we support has been made to the FCC by Clarity Media Systems, LLC, a subsidiary of Flying J Inc., the company that owns and operates hundreds of Flying J travel plazas across the country’s highways. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires America’s 2-million long haul truck drivers to spend 10-hours or more per day resting. Flying J provides a variety of vital services to long haul truckers making it a popular and viable rest destination. However, one service that truck drivers have never been able to access is basic television service. Clarity has proposed to provide 70 channels of television programming – local stations, national cable and satellite channels, and its own specially originated program channels to entertain and inform long haul truckers during federally mandated rest stops.

In other words two million people, four million eyes that could immediately respond to word that a person is missing and seek to locate them are not getting that word.  Clarity’s proposal will enable these drivers — who are out on the roads and at highway rest stops, convenience stores, gas stations, and fast food restaurants where persons on the run frequently go – to receive news flashes, special reports, and full-length programming about unresolved missing person cases from local television stations, national cable and satellite channels, and Clarity channels.

Of particular note, Clarity proposes to originate a special Public Safety and Alert Channel that will focus on the plights of missing persons. With my assistance, programming will be produced to highlight high profile cases like the disappearance of Morgan Harrington from a concert at Virginia Tech University on October 20, to low profile cases that failed to receive media attention to missing adults who are excluded by their age from the Amber Alert system. Clarity will make this special channel the default channel that every truck driver sees when he turns on the television set while at rest in his cab and that plays continuously in the common areas of the highway travel plazas.

I know firsthand the valuable role that informed long haul drivers can play in fulfilling our mission to recover missing persons.  When Polly was abducted, the long-haul driver community made a point to circulate her poster broadly in the hope that she could be recovered. Had the service that Clarity proposes been available when Morgan Harrington disappeared from a rock concert tens of thousands of long-haul drivers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, DC, Maryland and other surrounding or regional states could have been alerted and on the lookout for her immediately following her abduction.  Instead, her whereabouts remain unknown without this effort even being made.  There are thousands of similar examples.

In short, with Clarity’s programming in the cabs of their trucks and at their rest stops during their government mandated rest periods, professional long-haul drivers will become an army of millions of law-enforcement-minded first responders to disseminate vital information to their colleagues, apprehend abductors, and recover our missing dear ones. 

Please add your voice to the wake-up call that we will soon be sending to the FCC demanding that it stop sitting on this important case and approve Clarity’s proposal.  To do so, please select this link, type in your own words the reasons why it is important for the FCC to act immediately to make this public safety service a reality, and return to me.  We will bring your words to the direct attention of the FCC Chairman and Commissioners right away.