Vol 12 # 4
In this issue:
The talking and planning are almost complete; June 1 saw the formal beginning of Hurricane Season in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center had their WX4NHC annual Station Test on May 31, and they’re geared up. If you live along the Atlantic Coast, how much planning and preparedness have you and your group done? We are in the season now; if you haven’t established relationships with local reporters, gone over your action plan with your club or ARES group, and all the other planning work required, you’re officially running behind.
June also means it’s time for Field Day. As of this writing, we’re less than 4 weeks away from the largest PR event Amateur Radio has to offer. There are even up to 500 bonus points your club can earn by engaging the public, members of the media, served agencies and elected officials. We’ve prepared a 2014 Field Day audio PSA for use this year. It’s 30 seconds and comes in 2 forms: one with an 8-second bed at the end for local clubs to provide contact info, and one “generic” spot with no bed. Use whichever you like, but be sure to use them and get them aired!
Remember: Public Relations during Field Day means more than putting a few pamphlets on the table for curious passers-by to read on their own. Having a member of your club well-dressed and ready to receive the public bring the level of interaction up by a large factor. Invite them in and make them feel welcome. Give them a tour of your operation. Let them make a QSO if they’re so inclined. Be friendly and articulate.
Your club can have a real impact on how Amateur Radio is perceived in your community. Create the relationships with your reporters and elected officials, make the public a part of your events, and you will see a big divided if your club is needed for a public service event.
Hurricane season started two weeks earlier in the Pacific, those lucky folks. This year, all four counties in Hawaii exercised their emergency plans, and ham radio was part of those plans. While the exercise was the main story, hats off to the hams for getting included as part of the story.
If you weren’t aware of it, FEMA offers a course on using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. IS-42: Social Media in Emergency Management, will give anybody new to social media a wealth of tips, tricks and strategies for improving your message across the social networks.
“The purpose of this course is to provide the participants with best practices including tools, techniques and a basic roadmap to build capabilities in the use of social media technologies in their own emergency management organizations (State, local, Tribal) in order to further their emergency response missions.”
Non-profits need PR, too! The Non-Profit Times offers these guiding principles of making sure your non-profit’s message is heard.
It’s one thing to gaffe; it’s another to do so on the global stage where everybody sees it. Be sure to learn from the mistakes of others.
We’re less than two months away from the ARRL Centennial Convention. All the travel is starting to blur together. Dayton was a great time; thanks to everybody who stopped by the PR booth to say hello or record an ID for the ARRL Audio News. I love being able to insert a member proudly identifying themselves as an ARRL member during the newscast. In 48 hours, I will be on my way to SEA-PAC in Seaside, Oregon, and then a trip to Little Rock the same weekend as HAM-CON in Plano, TX, and the June VHF Contest.
It’s important for me to make these trips, to shake your hand and see what you’re working on in your own neck of the woods. PR, like many other things, isn’t always a one-size-fits-all operation. What is effective in Connecticut may not be in Idaho. I need to see what is going on in your back yard, so I can improve my own perspective. If you will be at SEA-PAC, please stop by the ARRL booth to say hello and talk for a bit.
Now, where did I put my Field Day bag of goodies?
Thanks for all you do.
Sean Kutzko KX9X
Media and Public Relations Manager