Contact! July 2013
Vol 11 No 7
In this issue:
Hello folks! Sean Kutzko, KX9X here. For those that didn’t know, I was promoted to Media and PR Manager in mid-June, following Allen Pitts W1AGP’s retirement. While the transition from Contest Branch Manager to PR Manager will be an ongoing process for a little while, I’m happy to be taking on this new role at ARRL and hope to help all of us promote Amateur Radio to as many people as will listen.
Field Day 2013 has come and gone. While the band conditions weren’t that good, we had over 250 media hits leading up to the event!
To make it short, we had a very good Field Day media result this year. While we did not get as many state level proclamations as past years, we had excellent results with local media outlets. So many that we have another interesting problem.
Some problems are good and some are bad. This is a good one. The listing of the media hits has grown too long. In the past, Allen used to put them on the website where everyone could see them. But the IT folks are telling us now that it’s gotten far too long for that. So we had to find another way to do it. Take a look at www.arrl.org/media-hits-june-2013 to find a summary of last month’s hits. There are lots of great stories being told; take some time and read some of them to see how local and regional coverage reported on our largest on-air event.
We’re also still looking for more reports from those Field Day sites that had visits from the FEMA regional staff. Those visits were an excellent PR option and we hope you made the most of them – but what happened? Inquiring minds want to know!
Last month we received the news that Don Carlson, KQ6FM, had died. Not only was Don an Assistant Section Manager and SEC for Nevada, he was a very active part of the national Public Relations Committee. It was Don’s voice you often heard in the audio PSA’s, and Don’s tapes still play on the ARRL HQ’s phone answering machines. Don played a major role in developing the original “Hello!” material which led to other campaigns such as “Emergency Radio” and “We Do That.”
Never one to turn down a request for help, Don’s activities made a lot of things that benefitted Amateur Radio and PR happen. To simply write “he will be missed” is an understatement of the highest order.
We welcome four new ARRL Public Information Officers (PIO) into the fold! Congratulations to James Dolliver, W2JRD (WNY), Michael Dean, K5MFD (OK), Carole Town, AF5CT (OK) and Kenneth Hartzog, WA4JLQ (AL) We look forward to your contributions.
In general, there are three types of PIOs that we find in the field:
First are the ARRL Public Information Officers (PIO) and Public Information Coordinators (PIC). These are people formally appointed by their Section Managers and whose appointments are reported into headquarters. While sometimes a Section Manager may delegate the appointment process to their PIC, it is ultimately the SM who is in charge. They are the folks who get to wear the green badges.
Second are PIOs that are appointed by their local club or group. Often these are for one year and part of being the secretary for the group. While we encourage them to talk to their Section Manager, get training and become an ARRL PIO, the rapid turnovers in this group often makes it hard to know who is available when things happen.
Third are the “self-appointed PIOs.” This is a very interesting group of people as while some are unfortunately very bad at the task, others are among the very best ambassadors we have out in the field. Their one common trait is that there is a “fire in the belly” to promote Amateur Radio.
For our Centennial in 2014 we are now gathering as many short pairs of video clips as we can get showing radio amateurs in their “normal/work” settings saying “I am ___name___. I like ___activity___ and I am the ARRL” and then another clip of the same person using or working with radio gear. For example, a shot of a car mechanic in coveralls working over an engine looks at camera and says “I am Henry Smith, N0XCC. I like to talk to strange countries and I am the ARRL” and a paired shot of him at home talking on the radio. Or a lab technician in a white coat, a doctor with a stethoscope, a teacher in a classroom, a cook in a kitchen – you get the idea. We are “that guy down the street” and we are the ARRL.
These clips will be gathered and assembled into one video that we expect will be shown at the national convention. We will be holding a drawing from the names of submitters for many prizes, including a top winner of a mini-library of major ARRL publications such as the ARRL Handbook, Antenna Book and more! (One “ticket in the hat” for each usable paired clip submitted.) With Field Day coming up three months, that’s an ideal place for getting both Part A and Part B clips as long as those being video recorded bring with them their "work costume" and the shooter knows how to be a little creative with creating Part A. Part B clips are just a matter of grabbing a shot of the person at one of the Field Day stations -- shooting each from a different angle, etc.
If at all possible, the clips should be shot in 9:16 format (widescreen) and 720 or higher definition. MP4 or .mov files preferred. No VHS tapes as we cannot use them.
As usual, ARRL must have the full rights for use of the video clips submitted. Releases for the participants shown can be found at http://www.arrl.org/adult-picture-release-form
If you are out in public and taking photos or video, then you don’t normally need to get a release to use the pictures. If it is a place where most anyone can see and be seen, it should be OK… BUT…
If it involved a child under 16, then even if it is in public, you are best to get a release signed off by their parent or guardian.
Shooting anything that is 1:1 or inside, or somehow closed off, you should get a release signed. It is always better to play safe and be sorry.
The ARRL has prepared releases for both adults and children that you can freely download from
In the past months I have spotted several videos done by hams with the best of intentions that included music that they did not have the rights to use. This can get you into big troubles fast. Just because something is on the web and downloadable does NOT make it free for the use as you wish.
There are several places where you can get music, and the rights to use it, fairly cheaply. But just taking someone else’s song and putting it to your video is getting people into problems that none of us need.
Also, while we’re on this subject, just what is “Fair Use” and what it does not include remains an issue you need to keep aware of. There is guidance about this on the ARRL website at
The ARRL will host a webinar from 8-9:30 PM (EDT) on July 15, 2013 to present information about the 2013 hurricane season and the Amateur Radio response. The program will offer presentations from representatives from the National Hurricane Center and WX4NHC, the VoIP Hurricane Net, the Hurricane Watch Net and the ARRL. Webinar registration is open to all, but will be of particular interest to those amateurs in hurricane-prone areas. If you are interested in emergency communications and hurricane preparedness and response, you are invited to attend this online presentation. Watch the ARRL News feed for registration information.
In a recent Field Day conversation with the mayor and some councilmen of Newington, CT, he asked about how hams help in large emergency situations. Instead of giving him a long reply we used the KISS principle. He was simply told that hams were “pre-responders and recovery assets.”
We are NOT first responders. That’s for the police and fire people. But we are able to quickly get on the air and report the critical information that these first responders need: what happened and where it happened. Police and fire people need to know where to go and what they will face when they get there. Hams know their neighborhoods and towns – and they provide this info, often using 2m nets right through an event.
The second major role comes in the recovery efforts while hams provide radio communications for served agencies like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and countless other groups.
The mayor and councilmen understood this simple explanation and were impressed.
It’s that simple.
I'd like to take a moment to thank Allen Pitts, W1AGP, for his service as Media and PR Manager for these many years. While he has officially retired, he's still working on a couple of projects for the ARRL Centennial, so he's not too far away just yet. I appreciate his availability in this transition.
Finally, thank YOU for your work in the field helping to promote Amateur Radio. As I unpack my office and get things in order, I'll be looking for great opportunites and stories you post. Keep 'em coming, and let me know if you have an idea or suggestion.
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
Media and Public Relations Manager