ARRL Debuts Centennial “ARRL at 100” Video
As part of its Centennial celebration, the ARRL has debuted a video that explains the League’s history and mission over the past century. “ARRL at 100 — A Century of Ham Radio” Past ARRL Manager for Media and Public Relations Allen Pitts, W1AGP, wrote and produced the half-hour presentation, which is available for club meetings and other gatherings. Pitts said he got started on the project about a year ago with a personal study of the League’s history.
“Using books, old QSTs and documents stored in Newington as sources, I eventually created a 28 foot long timeline that rolled across my office floor,” he recalled. “This paper roll was then posted in the main hallway, where staff and visitors were invited to write comments and additional events on it.”
Last fall, the unwieldy roll was transformed into a more permanent graphic banner, which became the basis for the new timeline booklets. These will be freely available at major Centennial conventions in 2014.
Pitts said he realized that the timeline held an interesting storyline about the ARRL and its protection of Amateur Radio for 100 years, and he decided the next step would be to use it as the basis for scripting a video. “Unlike the classic ‘Amateur Radio Today,’” Pitts said, “this new video would not be hampered by any TV broadcast restrictions, so it was made to fit into a 30 minute time slot.” Al Petrunti, KA1TCH, of The New Day Group was chosen for the video production. Securing a “personality” to host the video turned out to be easier than it first seemed.
“After inquiries to professional television personalities, it was apparent that the budget could not meet their expense requirements,” Pitts explained. As it happened, a host was right at hand, as QST Managing Editor Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, stepped forward. “Once again an amateur did excellent professional-grade work,” Pitts said. “Becky had done a fair amount of stage work in the past and absolutely lights up the video with her knowledge of ham radio and obvious true interest in the topic. We couldn’t be happier.”
Pitts solicited brief “I am the ARRL” cameo clips from around the country and included these along with impromptu clips taken at hamfests.
Pitts feels the video represents some of the best scriptwriting he’s ever done, “but then, it is one of the best stories I have found,” he added. “We often say ‘If not for the ARRL we would not have ham radio as we know it,’ but few people know how very true that really is and how close we came on several occasions to not having ham radio.”
Pitts credited Petrunti’s ability to quickly understand “the visions I had in my head for many video shots. Better yet, he was excellent at putting people at ease in front of the camera — and we had a lot of people.”
First to view the video was the ARRL Board of Directors at its annual meeting earlier this month. “Since then it has already received many compliments from hams and also professional videographers,” Pitts said.
The video can be seen and/or downloaded from the ARRL website and viewed on YouTube. DVDs are for sale from the ARRL online store. ARRL Directors and Section Managers received courtesy copies of the DVD and booklets.
If you have the ability to show the DVD on a TV or cable outlet, contact Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, for special DVDs or extra high-resolution files.