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March 2013

Vol 11 No 3

March 2013

In this issue:

· Field Day PR Training Webinar

· Take a Look – good local video

· A Small Story

· Google Doodle?

· Velveeta Surprise

· Coming to a Centennial

· Last Word....Oops! – now what?

Field Day Promo Training – April 24th

The ARRL Public Relations Committee will again be hosting a special webinar for PIOs and others interested in getting the most out of Field Day opportunities. On April 24th at 8pm Eastern time (yes, we will record it for folks who can’t make it then) experts in audio, video, social media and print media will be on tap to present ideas, tips and help for you to get good publicity for your club or group. We’ll review the ARRL’s materials available to you for your use and there’s also a Q&A period at the end for special needs.

You can register now for the webinar by going to

It helps us when folks pre-register as that gives us an idea of what to expect. Of course you can just join in too. (There’s no “velvet rope and a bouncer.”) Last time we did this, we had a couple hundred people show up and it was very well received. Mark your calendars now.

Take a look – it’s good!

Professor Bill Hopkins (AA2YV) sent me a short note that started quite a flurry of positive comments on the PR email reflector. He wrote:

Hello. You might want to know that this youtube video clip will be going up on the Nazareth College front webpage this coming week. Although I don't mention the ARRL (but the AWA), it's obvious that I am speaking about the amateur radio hobby and its value to the nation.

Well, we went and looked and were impressed. Very nice job and a good example of what can be done.

A small story, but every bit helps

Sometimes we want to sit back as a PIO as there doesn’t seem to be much happening. Field Day is still months away and the gloom of winter remains for several more weeks. But this attitude often misses many small things that can make your club or group better known. Most often it is a series of little things that lead up to making life-long friendships, and making friends is the real goal of good public relations. So make the most out of even the little things that come by your way. For example, here’s a nice, simple story- but it got ink.

Area Boy Scout Receives Amateur Radio Patch
Jamestown Post Journal
A Jamestown area Boy Scout is one of the youngest scouts to receive the Boy Scouts of America's Amateur Radio Operating Patch. The patch is a recent addition for the Boy Scouts and recognizes the scout's availability as an amateur radio

Google Doodle for Centennial

Another suggestion that came in was to think about having a “Google Doodle” for the ARRL Centennial Convention in 2014. You probably have seen these – the often humorous pictures that they make out of the word “Google” and place on their main webpage for a day. We did a bit of checking and they get literally hundreds of requests a day for all sorts of activities and events. You would think that we didn’t have much of a chance until you remember that we have thousands of ARRL members . While it is too early yet to send in a proposal, you might start thinking about how this can best be done. You can get more info about them at

Velveeta Surprise

This past month we were surprised when Velveeta Cheese came out with a new series of commercials about “that guy.” While I like their cheese a lot, especially in grilled sandwiches, I like them even more when I got a phone call from a PIO excitedly telling me that he just heard a really strange commercial involving ham radio. Hours later I got emails with links to and saw it for myself. This was good! If you have not seen it yet, take a look. I have spotted it several times on broadcast TV already and applaud whoever did it.

Coming to a Centennial Near You

It’s not too early to start doing some thinking on things, and there are plans to collect the history of Amateur Radio during the Centennial celebrations. This will give YOU a major opportunity to be an active part in preserving our heritage.

The plan is to have people collect the audio and video recordings of our senior hams and make them available to members as well as preserving them for future generations.

Most of us have one or more “old timer” in our club or group. He’s the guy (or lady) who can remember the hurricane of ’56 and the blizzard of ’78. He’s the one who remembers the end of spark gap and just how hard it was to lug all that heavy stuff out for Field Day back in the 40’s.

These folks have some great stories to tell and we want to get them recorded before it is too late.

So, probably starting in the fall, we will be looking to the PIOs to collect audio and video recordings of their stories. (NOT YET!) When the time comes we’ll give you info on where to send them and what forms we may need. But you can start thinking now about who and how you might record them and join in the creation of an oral history of ham radio in the USA. It could be as simple as a cassette tape recorder or mp3 recorder. You might think about shooting video and some of the questions you might ask in an interview. But start talking about it and looking at options in your area now as fall 2013 will come mighty fast.

Ooops! – Now what?

No matter how you try, some reporters just don’t “get it.” A case in point was the opening line in a recent newspaper article that was spotted on the Web.

Ironton Tribune (OH) : “Breaker Breaker 1-9, requesting permission to interrupt to provide some information for the Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association. Over.”

While we are light years apart from the “bear in the bushes at milepost 34 good buddy,” it was apparent that the reporter totally missed many critical points. But now what can be done?

I happened to spot it right after it was posted on the Web and (breathing an exasperated sigh) went to the News Tips section of the paper’s webpage. This option was chosen as it had the highest probability of being seen by their newsroom staff quickly. In a short message I pointed out the article and that the opening line was not in any way relating to Amateur Radio – in fact it is close to an insult for many hams. I then suggested they contact the club again. A second email went to the club’s PIO suggesting that he contact the reporter directly and invite him/her to meet with the club and see what ham radio is all about. Given the situation, such an invitation should have a good chance of acceptance and it would turn a sad situation into something positive...and perhaps a second (correct) story.

Try as we might, we cannot always control what a reporter ends up writing. But when there is an error, a polite correction sent to the right place and followed up with an invitation can often turn things around and make friends. Happily, less than an hour later, I looked and the opening Web storyline had been changed for the better.

Allen w1agp


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