ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, Retires from League
After more than eight years as the ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager, Allen Pitts, W1AGP, has retired. During his tenure, Pitts was responsible for developing public relations campaigns that featured the many facets of the Amateur Radio Service: Hello Radio came first in 2006 and highlighted the fun and friendships of ham radio. It was followed by Emergency Radio, which built on the ARRL and the Amateur Radio Service’s response during Hurricane Katrina. We Do That -- Radio in 2008 showed the technologies used in Amateur Radio. In 2011, the Do It Yourself (DIY) campaign was unveiled.
In addition to these campaigns, Pitts created popular supports for ARRL Public Information Officers (PIOs), such as Talk on a Disk, the Swiss Army Knife for PIOs and the very successful PR-101 public relations course. When the new ARRL website came online in 2010, Pitts moved everything possible to its media area and made it freely available to everyone.
Building a corps of PIOs throughout the country, Pitts believed that all news was local. “With this in mind,” he explained, “I felt the best use of ARRL resources was to provide our PIOs with the very best materials we can and to let them use them in their home areas.” The strategy obviously worked, as the number of PIOs volunteers increased. “There are almost 200 graduates of PR-101, more than 500 subscribers to the PR e-mail reflector and the number of media hits about Amateur Radio grew larger and larger,” he said.
“Allen raised the ARRL’s media and public relations program to a whole new level with his creativity and attentiveness to our field volunteers,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. “He’s left big shoes to fill!”
Prior to coming to ARRL Headquarters in 2004, Pitts served in the League’s Field Organization as an ARES District Emergency Coordinator, and later as Connecticut’s Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) and ARRL Assistant Section Manager for Connecticut. The ARRL is currently seeking a new Media and Public Relations Manager. In the interim, Pitts has agreed to continue to “hold the fort” on a very limited part-time basis during the selection process to find a successor and hopes to be able to work as a consultant with ARRL Centennial projects, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ARRL.
“Over the decades, I have worked at everything from ordained clergy to undercover narcotics agent, but my time here at ARRL Headquarters has been the most enjoyable career of all,” Pitts said. “The chance to be creative and see ideas come to life -- and to see those ideas used nationwide -- is very rewarding.”