A few days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the mayor of a small New York town held a press conference in the heart of the storm to try to persuade a local TV station to let him watch the Super Bowl.
“I can’t watch the game,” the mayor said, before pointing at a wall of a hotel where the game had been scheduled to begin.
The next day, the station canceled its scheduled broadcast of the game, a decision that has now caused some local residents to wonder whether the town, which has been without power for almost two weeks, is actually in danger of losing its TV license.
But the mayor didn’t say the town was in danger.
It just didn’t have a license, and it was a local event.
The only person who could have watched the game was the mayor, who had a right to do so under the city’s television license.
The mayor was wrong.
Puerto Rico’s media licenses were first put in place in the 1960s as part of the United States’ efforts to improve coverage of disasters.
Since then, many cities have sought to expand coverage and protect their residents from government intrusion.
But local governments have rarely been able to meet the demands of the Superbowl.
The local television station in the town of Nuevo Laredo, in southern Mexico, lost its license in 2014 because it did not have enough channels to cover Hurricane Harvey.
When the hurricane made landfall in Texas in 2017, a local news station in New Orleans also lost its broadcasting license.
When Maria hit Puerto Rico last month, the island’s mayor asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow him to watch the second Super Bowl in the city, but the agency rejected the request.
So, on Feb. 3, the town held its annual town hall meeting, which was streamed live on social media.
Some members of the audience were angry about what they saw as government interference in the election, but others were in agreement with the mayor that the Superdome was a place of civic pride.
After several hours of public remarks, the next day the town’s TV station asked the FCC to grant it a license to televise the event, which is free to the public.
The FCC later approved the request, but it took nearly two months for the station to get its first channels.
A local television network, El Nueva TV, said it received its license on Tuesday, a few days before the Superstars game was scheduled to start.
The network’s president, José Carlos Salcedo, said the station has a license in Mexico and hopes to have it up and running in Puerto Rico soon.
But he said the company will not be able to make a local Superbowl broadcast until its licenses are up and working properly.
Salcedos hopes to see the local media community join the rest of the country in working to bring back the Superbowl.
“We’re going to be the ones that make it happen,” Salceda said.
“The only way we’re going do it is by having the support of the communities.”
It’s been a long road for the city that was spared the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
In September, Hurricane Irma battered the island, killing more than 80 people.
Residents in San Juan began to get phone calls about getting lost in the storm’s aftermath.
The first day that Maria hit, the city was inundated with thousands of calls.
But by mid-December, the government was able to distribute millions of dollars in emergency relief.
The city was able, for a brief time, to get some of its residents back home.
Residents and their loved ones in the hardest-hit areas were able to return home on Feb 6, as they were required to by the state.
The Puerto Rican government said the country was able “to recover without any significant interruption to its essential services,” but some residents still lost power or were forced to leave.
The island’s infrastructure is also still in need of repair.
There is a backlog of repairs that need to be done, including electrical systems and roads, and some of the island is still without power.
A $3.5 billion aid package, approved by Congress in 2018, was supposed to be able pay for the bulk of the repairs, but a lack of funds has pushed it back to 2018.
Puerto Ricans have long been frustrated with the state of their economy.
The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has the highest unemployment rate in the U.N. and has the fourth highest poverty rate in all of the Caribbean.
A year after Hurricane Irma, more than 1 million people still live in poverty.