With a little help from our friends
The ARRL Media and Public Relations Department has a paid staff of one – Allen Pitts, W1AGP, Manager. Obviously no one person can do all the things needed to promote such a magnificent hobby and service throughout the country. The solution is that there are three levels of passionate volunteers scattered throughout the country whose work makes Amateur Radio as we know it possible.
The Public Relations Committee is a national level committee of about 10 people appointed annually by the President of the ARRL. Comprised of people with extensive experience in different areas of public relations, media work, news and social issues experience, this committee is the “go to” group to make national level events happen. They provide support, advice and skilled help to make things happen. This is very much a working committee and appointees realize that it will take time and effort. But it also pays off handsomely in feelings of accomplishment for those whose passion is Amateur Radio.
Each section (there are 71 sections in the USA) should have a Public Information Coordinator (PIC) appointed by the Section Manager (SM). Each PIC, with approval of the SM, recruits and helps local ARRL Public Information Officers (PIO) in promoting Amateur Radio in their home area. This gives us about 450-500 volunteer PR people scattered throughout the country. With an army like that, how can we fail?
The key to success is in continuously providing the PIOs with the very best materials, information and tools that we can. They are the “boots on the ground” that turn abstracts into local news items. So, in addition to basic news releases and messages sent out, the ARRL provides them free access to a host of tools.
Coordinated campaigns aligned with the primary interests in Amateur Radio
Public Relations forums are regularly held at major hamfests and conventions to listen and learn of new ways to help PIOs in the field.
A new development is sections trying appointments for an “ARES-PIO, “ – a PIO specifically tasked and trained to work with and in an emergency setting, JIC or similar situation.