AIR, the new weekly documentary series, produced by Thirteen/WNET in New York in association with CIR, premieres Friday, September 1 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

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Long before Hurricane Katrina made its deadly landfall in August 2005, most journalists who had reported on New Orleans’ storm-readiness knew the city was ripe for calamity. But no one could have predicted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to Katrina would quickly become a national disaster itself. No one, that is, except a team of reporters from the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The series premiere of AIR tells the story of these reporters who, beginning in October 2004, spent more than a year documenting and reporting on problems with FEMA. “FEMA: A Legacy of Waste,” which was short-listed for a Pulitzer Prize, alerted readers to the fact that the federal government was unlikely to be ready for “the Big One.”