ARRL

Hints for Interviews

Know the FCC rules

NEWS GATHERING AND AMATEUR RADIO

During a disaster, media representatives sometimes use Amateur Radio as a source of information and news stories about conditions in the affected region.

Many Amateur Radio operators ("hams") are willing to provide interviews with reporters concerning information from the disaster site. In addition, reporters may wish to develop stories on Amateur Radio's role in disaster relief— handling health and welfare traffic out of the site, for example.

However, under Federal law, Amateur Radio may not be used for active news gathering or program production purposes. For example, it would not be legal for a reporter to use Amateur Radio in a professional capacity to interview someone in another location. This is spelled out in Part 97.113(b), Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Amateur Radio operators are permitted to assist news media representatives in gathering information to be relayed to the public from areas where normal communication have been disrupted, particularly when the information involves the safety or life of individuals or the immediate protection of property and no other channels of communication are available.

The operator may ask questions of, or relay media questions to, Amateur Radio operators in the area. The responses may be electronically recorded by media representatives. However, Amateur Radio must not be used to assist the news media in gathering information when telephones or other commercial means of communication are available.

The news media may, of course monitor Amateur Radio transmissions, but recording and rebroadcast under certain conditions (in or from war zones, for example) may not be legal or prudent. Under no circumstances may Amateur Radio operators retransmit commercial radio and television broadcasts.

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