After a mostly peaceful day of protests Saturday turned into a night of chaos and violence in cities across America, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai praised radio and TV stations for their extensive coverage of the tumultuous demonstrations that saw police cruisers set ablaze and stores damaged or destroyed in dozens of cities.
“I commend the extraordinary efforts of local broadcasters to keep Americans informed about the protests and violence taking place in our nation’s cities following the awful killing of George Floyd,” Pai said in a statement issued Sunday morning. “Those who work for local television and radio stations are often putting themselves at personal risk to serve the public interest, and they must be allowed to do their jobs without being threatened or attacked. I hope that they and all Americans stay safe.”
News and news/talk stations provided live coverage Saturday night, many dispatching reporters into the streets to cover the riots that broke out despite curfews imposed by mayors in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Columbus, Milwaukee and other cities.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva joined host Tim Conway Jr. live from the scene in L.A on iHeartMedia news/talk KFI (540) to discuss California Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of a State of Emergency in Los Angeles County, activating the National Guard to assist city and county police.
Darius Radzius, a reporter for Entercom news WINS (1010) New York was attacked by protesters while reporting from Brooklyn. Radzius was one of half dozen reporters attacked across the country while covering the demonstrations.
Broadcasters augmented live on the scene coverage with video of the protests that erupted into clashes between the police and protesters.
On Cox Media Group news/talk WSB (95.5) Atlanta and other news/talk stations, Sunday morning hosts pivoted from their regularly scheduled public affairs shows to discuss the chaos and violence that exploded the night before.