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October 2013

October 2013

October 2013

Vol 11 No 10

In this issue:

Media Coverage of the Colorado Fires

Tracy Stephens, KI4OZG Receives First "Pen & Key Award"

New PIO's

ARRL PR & Media Awards - Nominate Someone!

How To Blog An Incident - A Firefigher PIO Perspective

The Last Word

Media Coverage of the Colorado Fires

We have all been paying attention to the flooding in Colorado this month. Hats off to Colorado Section Manager (and Boulder County PIO) Jack Ciaccia, WMØG, for his outstanding work at the Boulder County EOC managing communications and being available for interviews. Thanks also to Colorado ARES, the Mountain Emergency Radio Network and the many individual Amateurs who worked night and day during the crisis.

Amateur Radio received lots of good media play as a result of their PR efforts. We were featured on the NBC Nightly News, The Weather Channel, the Denver Post, and a slew of local/regional papers that serve northern Colorado. Social media’s role was noted as well: Jack and others made frequent posts to the Colorado ARES Facebook page, and when Amateur Radio was part of Red Cross damage assessment teams, KX9X posted a link to the live APRS tracking of the vehicles to the ARRL Facebook page and Twitter account: the ARRL Facebook page received 8,000 views in just over 30 minutes.

Lives were saved. Students were evacuated. Residents were taken care of. Property damage was assesed. Amateur Radio played a role on all of these activities in Colorado, and Jack and his group made it easy to promote, thanks to their PIO and their PR efforts.

KI4OZG Receives first Pen & Key Award in Alabama

A hearty congratulations to Tracy Stephens, KI4OZG (pictured left) of Anniston, Alabama for being the first recipient of the Alabama Section Pen and Key Award! ARRL Alabama Public Information Coordinator Ed Tyler, N4EDT (pictured right), awarded Stephens the 2013 Pen and Key Award for using both traditional and “new” media to effectively communicate about Amateur Radio to the outside world. Stephens serves as PIO for the Calhoun County Amateur Radio Association, KD4CAL, and Calhoun County (AL) ARES/RACES.

Photo: Ed Tyler, N4EDT, Alabama ARRL Section Public Information Coordinator (right) hands the Alabama ARRL Section 2013 "Pen & Key" Award to Tracy Stephens, KI4OZG, PIO (left) for the Calhoun County Amateur Radio Association, the Calhoun County ARES/RACES Group, and the Electronic Media PIO for the Alabama ARRL Section.

“The award and associated recognition are well deserved,” Tyler said of Stephens’ work. “You have not only led the way, you have built the model for mixed media activities for Amateur Radio PIOs. On behalf of the Alabama Amateur Radio community, I thank you.”

This is a great idea for other PIC’s to say “thank you” to the PIO in your section that’s really working to promote Amateur Radio. Drop Ed Tyler an email; He’d be happy to share award details with you so you can offer it to your own PIOs.

New PIOs

We welcome Albert Landsperger, KK4PQA as a new PIO in South Carolina!

ARRL PR Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2013 ARRL Bill Leonard Award, which recognizes professional media’s coverage of Amateur Radio. Deadline for nomiations is December 6, 2013.

Don’t forget we also offer the Phil McGan Award for non-professionals, too! If you feel somebody has represented or promoted Amateur Radio in a positive light, be sure to help let the world know you appreciate their efforts. Complete information on both the McGan and the Leonard Awards can be found on our web site.

Firefighting & PIOs: How to blog an incident

PR Committee member Steven Polunsky, W5SMP, sent me an excellent link from a PIO in the world of firefighting on how to properly blog an incident. These skills are easilty translated into the world of Amateur Radio. Thanks for this gem, Steven!

The Last Word: Take your PIO Role Seriously

Colorado flooding has kept me pretty busy here at HQ for the latter part of September. Part of my job is to help get the word out to the national media when a disaster of this magnitude occurs. This was big-time: the airlift out of the affected area in Colorado was larger than the airlift during Katrina. And through it all was the PIO in the Boulder Country EOC, giving me regular updates as to what was happening on the ground. I relayed this info to our news writer here at HQ for use in stories we generated, and also parlayed the reports into national and regional press releases, inviting the media to contact our PIO for more interviews.

This is how the flow of information is supposed to work.

If you’re a PIO, when was the last time you reported on your group’s activities? Are you promoting license classes, non-emergency public service events, open houses, training exercises, meetings with your public officials, special event operations and other events?

The role of the PIO is one of the most important roles in the ARRL Field Organization. There’s more to it than promoting your club’s ARES efforts and Field Day activities. With your outreach to your local and regional media contacts, we keep the outside world aware of our existence and our relevance. Are you contributing to that mission? How? How often?

Think of ways you can support your group and Amateur Radio as a whole by doing more promotion. Chances are you will see some events that could have gotten some extra coverage of your group. More POSITIVE media coverage of Amateur Radio is the goal; your role as PIO aids that goal immensely.

Until next month,


Sean Kutzko, KX9X
Media and Public Relations Manager


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