Vol 13 # 3
In this issue:
We all know this winter has been unusually harsh, even for those of us used to it. Last week, the Southeast was hit with unusually bad weather for the region, with several inches of snow falling in northern Alabama, for example.
Kudos to the ARES teams and ARRL Field Organization in Alabama and Tennessee, who responded to the weather situation quickly and partnered with their local served agencies to be available. They also sent real-time updates to us here at ARRL HQ, which allows us to monitor the situation and help promote Amateur Radio’s role during the event. Real-time information is far more valuable for PR efforts than after-action reports. Keep ‘em coming!
There were a few choice media hits in February:
1) The Tyler, TX ARC partnered with KYTX TV to sponsor a SKYWARN training class.
2) Best-selling author Don Keith, N4KC, penned an excellent article about Amateur Radio for The American Legion Magazine.
3) Earth & Space Science News reported on Amateur Radio's ability to assist research on solar weather.
These are three solid hits covering three distinct areas of Amateur Radio. Congrats and thanks to all those invovled in getting the word out!
Congratulations to the following individual for volunteering to become part of the ARRL PR team!
Ohio: Henry L. Koenig, WD8Q & Kevin V. Landes, KV2L
Oklahoma: Kevin O’Dell, NØIRW
Southern Florida: Gary Webster, N1PZB
Virginia: Jeff Heavlin, K4OLW
Nevada: Chuck Farnham, WD6CHC
West Central Florida: Dave Maury Rockwell, W4PXE
Welcome aboard, all!
From the Captain Obvious Department: Maryland PIC “Sid” Caesar, NH7C, recently started a monthly conference call for PIOs in his Section using online video conferencing. The idea of monthly online chats within Sections isn’t new; the Alabama Field Organization has been doing this for a while, as have several other Sections. Consider this a friendly reminder that if you are looking for a way to keep all your PIOs in the loop with other parts of your Field Organization, these online meetings may be just what you’re looking for. There are many software options to choose from.
I stumbled upon this excellent article from Emergency Management Magazine from 2012 that gives excellent advice on how to be an effective PIO. Biggest tip? Reporters are your customers; treat them with respect.
Nominations for the 2015 ARRL Phil McGan award are open until May 22. This award honors those who do exemplary public relations work on behalf of Amateur Radio to the non-ham public.
If you have seen a ham reach out to the general public and tell them what we do and how we do it in an over-the-top fashion, nominate them for the McGan Award! Complete information on the award is available at http://www.arrl.org/phil-mcgan-award
There were many great examples of media and public relations within our ranks that crossed my desk in the last month; I highlighted a few of them earlier in this newsletter. However, despite our best efforts, there are sometimes errors in our PR that creep in, diluting our message.
There were three instances in February where a news story or public outreach event referred to ARRL as the Amateur Radio Relay League. Getting our name correct seems to be a recurring problem for the media or community organizations. As representatives of Amateur Radio and ARRL to the media and public, we are generally the source of that information to reporters and officials of government or served agencies. It’s up to us to make sure that these folks have correct information to base their story on, so please do your part to ensure they have the correct info.
I’ve also started seeing more articles that talk about ham radio in a good way, but offer no information in the article on how a reader can get more information to get involved themselves. Make sure that the reporter you are working with has information about how to contact your local club or ARRL (I provide a link to www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio to all media I deal with). Telling the world what we do is great; getting more people active in what we do is a primary goal. As PIOs and PICs, our message is not only “this is what we do,” it is also “we’ll teach you how you can do this, too.”
Thanks for all you do.
Sean Kutzko, KX9X
ARRL Media & Public Relations Manager