Vol 11 No 9
In this issue:
Amateur Radio Response to the Rim Fire in California
As I write this on September 3, the California Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park has been 70% contained. We’ve had a couple good articles in the local media there, and thanks to info provided by ARRL Section Managers Dan Pruett, AE6SX and Ron Murdock, W6KJ (San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley, respectively), ARRL was able to get a good story up on our own web site. Thanks also to Groci and Tuolumne County RACES Officer Phil Fish, WB6GGY, for helping get the word out in the local papers.
CA PIO Suellene Peterson, K6CPA, sent us this link of NPR showing a video of firefighting efforts from the air in Yosemite. Pretty spectacular stuff.
Of course, we need this kind of coverage to continue. This is what PIO’s do during the time of crisis: alert the local/regional press of the goings-on of the Amateur radio response. This is the job description.
There have been fires in other parts of the west this season, too. If you’re a PIO in one of those areas, we need to know what you’re up to. As they say, “keep those cards and letters coming.”
Oscar Fuller, KO1F, wrote an article highlighting the role of the PIO for September QST. If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time to read it. It touches on some sound PR principles that apply for all of us in the business of promoting Amateur Radio to the general public. Another article delving into more PIO-related topics will be coming to QST in the next few months.
FEMA’s annual preparedness promotion is in full swing for September. there’s a wealth of info over at FEMA's site; register your club or ARES group, and get some great tips on readying yourself for trouble.
This reminds me: are YOU ready for your role as a PIO if trouble hits your area? Have you gone over your action plan with your PIC, SEC/DEC and other agencies? Now is the time; don’t wait until disaster strikes to think how you will respond, or even worse, not respond at all.
It’s always our pleasure to welcome new PIOs to the organization. Please join me in welcoming Steve Vogel, W4PSV, into the Georgia PIO fold! Thanks, Steve!
Hats off to the Lincoln ARC for providing their services to the Lancaster Country Fair in Nebraska this August! Their SKYWARN training enabled them to warn fair organizers of an impending severe thunderstorm, giving them a 30-minute window to safely shut down the fair and get attendees inside before the storm hit. That got them the appreciation of the fair organizing committee and some great TV coverage. Watch the video here.
Nominations for the 2013 ARRL Leonard Award are now being accepted. Named after long-time CBS News employee and President Bill Leonard, W2SKE, the Leonard Award is awarded each year to professional journalists in audio, visual and print/text formats who highlight Amateur Radio in a particularly good light. Award winners get a nice plaque from ARRL as a $250 donation made in their name to the charity of their choice. If there was a journalist who gave you really good coverage for your group’s efforts this year in public service, emergency communications, Field Day or any other kind of quality recognition, let us know! Complete information is online. All nominations and work samples must be received at ARRL HQ by Friday, December 6, 2013.
With the ARRL Centennial Convention coming up in July 2014, a campaign has been launched to help promote the event by petitioning Google to create a Google Doodle for their main page on Friday, July 18, 2014. For those who don’t know, Google creates Doodles for their main page to commemorate birthdays or historic events. If you’ve ever gone to their page and seen unusual artwork instead of their standard logo, you’ve seen a Doodle in action.
Google accepts ideas for Doodles from the public, so I’m asking all of you to help get the word to Google to consider ARRL as the source for a Doodle While submitters have no input on the design itself, with your help, we can have ARRL on Google’s main page for a day. Write them a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a link to a sample letter you can use.
Not all PR has to be about an emergency. As ARRL News reported in August, National Wildlife Refuge Week is coming up October 12-19. This is an excellent opportunity for your club or group to operate from a National Wildlife site and promote both wildlife conservation and Amateur Radio at the same time! Get your group together, find a site to operate from Field Day-style, secure permission and let your local media know! More information is available here.
The good folks at MediaBistro have compiled a good overview on 5 solid PR strategies for non-profit organizations. Check them out here.
We’ve all heard a lot about the role of social media in helping with PR efforts. But how much have we embraced the new communications strategies in our own clubs? With the age of the average Amateur Radio operator on the rise, a lot of talk has been given to how to get new blood in the hobby for several years now. Have we been using the most effective way to reach out? My answer would be a resounding “no.”
If you’re looking to promote your club or group to a younger demographic, you have to speak their language. That means using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Even Facebook is becoming quaintly outdated within some segments of twenty-somethings. Twitter, however, is rock-solid and full of life, youth and vitality. It is the communications marketing tool of choice for big businesses, start-ups, non-profits, media outlets, local clubs and organizations of all sizes and interests, and most definitely adults in the 20-40 age range.
Does all of this sound like Greek to you? Guess what: newspapers and TV are quickly becoming Greek to this demographic. If you want to expand your club base, let local media know how you are being of service to your community and communicate effectively to the Next Generation of hams, you have to speak their language and use their medium. If you're a completely unfamiliar with social media, here's a link to get you started.
Most of us got into Amateur Radio because of a desire to experiment with technology and communicate. You can still do that as part of your PR effort; the method has simply mutated. Embrace the experimenter in you and learn something new; fresh, youthful blood in your club and our hobby is the reward.
Until next month,
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
Media and Public Relations Manager