CONTACT! - November 2013
Vol 11 No 11
In this issue:
Time is running out on your chance to nominate a professional journalist for the 2013 ARRL Leonard Awards! The award was created as a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE. He was also an avid Amateur Radio operator and advocate.
The Award is divided into three categories, based on format:
c. Print and Text
We all have seen some quality news coverage of Amateur Radio this year; does one of those items, in your mind, deserve recognition for covering what Amateur Radio is and does? Let us know! Fill out the nomination form and give a journalist some credit!
The December issue of QST will feature an article on the flooding in Colorado, written by Sean Kutzko, KX9X. This story has more of a “human interest” angle to it, as it follows the efforts of Colorado ARES in Boulder County to assist a father in Hastings, Nebraska get information about his daughter in Estes Park, which was hit hard by the flooding. It was written with the general public in mind, and doesn’t feature a lot of ham radio jargon.
The article will also be the first QST content we use as part of an outreach effort to use an article from QST each month to promote Amateur Radio. Each monthly article will be available in PDF format on the arrl.org website; social media will be used to disseminate the article to the general public. While we’re still in the process of getting this ramped up, you will shortly be able to find this content at http://www.arrl.org/this-month-in-qst. Target date for launching this outreach effort is December 1, 2013.
Rick Tighe, N2PHI, blogged about the one year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy. Rick was the newly-appointed County Radio Officer for Camden County NJ Office of Emergency Management for the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications programs of both ARES and RACES. His look back into what worked and what didn’t is an interesting read indeed.
One of the biggest tools in your PR toolbox is knowing who to call and when to call them. The PR site Media Advantage offers a great introduction on how to create that list of go-to media folks in your area. Lots of good info here.
Still trying to get your group on the Social Media bandwagon? It’s here to stay, and getting familiar with how and when to use it is a critical skill. Here’s a wonderful introductory e-Book from Pamela Sieple, a PR consultant in Massachusetts.
Ted Randall asked me to be on his QSO Radio Show this past week. During the 2-hour discussion, I emphasized how important it is for there to be a person in each and every Amateur Radio club to be the spokesperson to their communities on what their club does and how that person can foster good relations with city and county officials as well as the general public.
Surely there is a person in your club that can do that. Seeing as you’re reading the latest issue of CONTACT!, it may well be you. Is your club doing all it can to generate “buzz” in your town?
There are over 2,300 ARRL-Affiliated clubs in the US. My list of ARRL Public Information Officers has 441 names on it. Do the math. That’s a lot of the country that isn’t getting much coverage on what Amateur Radio is doing in their back yard.
Public Information Officers aren’t just for ARES groups, and they aren’t just for clubs that are centered in a hurricane area in the Gulf Coast; PIO’s are for EVERY club, EVERYWHERE. Just think if each one of those clubs had a dedicated person working on public outreach.
As the saying goes, “many hands make light work.” Getting the word out about what Amateur Radio does for a community - service, preparedness, goodwill, fun - is up to each and every one of us. What has your club done to reach out to the public and inform them of your existence? There’s more to it than putting up a tabletop display and putting some flyers out at your Field Day site.
I’m encouraging you to go out...be proactive. Hold an open house; a learning day. Give a talk at the library. Invite kids, schoolteachers, the mayor and your alderman. If you have a college or university in your area, bring in the college kids and their instructors. Offer a license class to your community. By pounding the pavement and doing the footwork, we can all raise the awareness of who we are, what we do and how we can assist communities in numerous ways.
Think about it. Then act on it.
Until next month,
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
Media and Public Relations Manager