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September 2009


During the month of September, ARRL will be among dozens of organizations and agencies taking part in National Preparedness Month. "The Ready Campaign," produced by the Ad Council in partnership with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is aimed at making citizen preparedness "a priority for every city, every neighborhood and every home" in the US. The ARRL encourages you to consider this year's Simulated Emergency Test and preparations for it as a demonstration of Amateur Radio's readiness and active participation in National Preparedness Month. Make sure your group is signed up at
You can also find more information at:


The ARRL Board voted in July to revise the Bill Leonard Award to reflect the newer media landscape. Among the biggest changes in the award is not one award, but three categories of awards: Video, Audio and TEXT/Print. Now a journalist has three opportunities to tell the public about Amateur Radio. How do you fit in? Design a PR Calendar that will alert all kinds of journalists in your area – traditional (radio, TV, newspapers) and emerging (internet, blogs, podcasts, viral videos, etc.) about Amateur Radio from now through November 30th. In other words, pick 5-10 established and newer “journalists” and send them a release every week for the next 12 weeks. What should you send them each week? Two pages. The first page is your “release of the week” with your contact information. The second is a description of the Leonard Award. Divide up your 12 weeks into three 4 week themes: 4 weeks on operating events in your area, 4 weeks on interesting modes and applications of Amateur Radio, and 4 weeks of profiles on interesting Hams in your area. I guarantee that if you follow this formula, you will have at least one of your journalist recipients contacting you to do a story on Amateur Radio. Who knows? Your efforts could result in that journalist being nominated for this year’s Leonard Award in one of the three media categories. So lay out your PR calendar, identify the journalists on which you’ll concentrate, and start laying the groundwork for a Leonard Award nomination from your area.

What does an email Press Release look like?

The Radio and Television News Directors Association – a group that should know what radio and television news people want in a press release – issued their own emailed release. You may want to take a good look at how they structured it. It is different than what would be in a mailed or paper copy.

CONTACT: Stacey Staniak, 202.467.5214 or
RTNDA Opposes Government Restrictions Of News Photography; Joins with 13 News Organizations to File Brief to Protect First Amendment Freedom

WASHINGTON–The Radio-Television News Directors Association has filed a friend of the court brief urging the U. S. Supreme Court to strike down a federal statute that criminalizes the possession, creation or sale of a wide variety of depictions involving animals. RTNDA fears the law could be used in violation of the First Amendment to prevent airing of investigative or other stories on animal abuse, dog fighting, or other important issues.

Others included in the brief, which was filed last week, are The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of News Editors, and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The case for which the brief was filed, U.S. v. Stevens, involves a statute which makes it a felony to create, sell or possess “a depiction of animal cruelty with the intention of placing that depiction in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain.” Congress passed the law in order to prohibit a certain type of fetish pornography involving the death of animals. But RTNDA fears the law can be interpreted too broadly, since the government asked the Supreme Court to rule that depictions of animal cruelty are without value and unprotected speech under the First Amendment. And Congress claims it may ban speech where the government’s interest outweighs the value of that speech.

Kathleen Kirby, RTNDA’s First Amendment counsel, and partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, said “We don't take issue with the fact that the goal of preventing crush videos and other animal cruelty is certainly a worthy one, but argue that it is this very interest in protecting animals from abuse that makes speech about their treatment so valuable. The brief points out that media outlets ‘often expose the abuse of animals, participate in the national debate over the proper treatment of them, and cover commonplace activities involving animals such as hunting and fishing.’ But the law compromises the news media’s ability to perform any of these functions without fear of prosecution.”

“While RTNDA is certainly behind efforts to prevent cruelty to animals, the unconstitutional banning of coverage of cruelty cases would actually hurt those efforts,” said RTNDA Chairman Stacey Woelfel. “RTNDA joined in this brief to be sure the justices know the value of what broadcast and electronic journalism bring to solving problems like this one.”

RTNDA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTNDA represents local and network journalists in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries. Along with the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation, RTNDA sponsors scholarships, fellowships, training seminars, mentoring programs and more as part of its diversity efforts.

RTNDA HQ: The National Press Building 529 14th Street, Suite #425, Washington, DC 20045

Making a video to promote a local club event

Cory Sickles, WA3UVV, writes:

This year our club is celebrating its 50th anniversary and I wanted to do something special for our hamfest. I remembered some stills I hurriedly shot at last year’s event. I also put out a call for any pictures that had been shot by other club members. After looking at them, I wrote and voiced a narration track, picked some circa 1959 music from our library and went to work. The result is a commercial that’s about a minute and a half long and is currently featured on our web site It is not the most professional thing I’ve ever created, but it was quick and is generating responses.

While I plan to shoot video of this year’s hamfest and get some interviews and stand-ups (with more kids and YL’s) that will result in better looking future pieces, what we have “on the air” right now underscores an important point: you don’t have to get too fancy to create an interesting message to promote amateur radio and/or your club.

Good composition, writing and editing are possible even when skilled people are limited to basic tools. I encourage others to make an attempt to use the tools and resources they probably already have, even if that means editing digital stills on iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

In the future, I plan to hold a workshop on using video to promote amateur radio in the SNJ section. If someone has a question or needs some guidance, please contact me via email at

FCC launches a blog

The FCC launched its first-ever blog, called “Blogband,” to chronicle events of the National Broadband Plan. Check it out:

So I did and, at least for now, I did not see even one reference to BPL in their plans.

ARRL Trademarks:

ARRL - the national association for Amateur Radio

Based on a review of our trademarks, ARRL applied to trademark the phrase “ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio™” at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Because of this action, we need to place the ™ next to this phrase whenever possible. We do not need to reprint current literature, brochures and correspondence, but we need to add the as we move forward.

When preparing a letter, email message or other text document, the following formats are preferred:

ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio™


ARRL - The national association for Amateur Radio™

When all the legal papers settle out, the TM will ultimately be replaced by ® as happened with the ARRL program name, ARES®. In the meantime, your help in using the TM notation in any new text is appreciated.

Regarding using "TM,” people may not realize that in MS "Word" you can use "Insert" and "Symbol" to get "TM" to print smaller and a little raised like a professional print job on your document.

Internet Streaming Ham Radio TV

Robert Koch, WA6UVV, gave us a pleasant surprise in the past month with his creation of . Working out of his Florida home, he is providing a 24 hour webcast of Amateur Radio videos.

Robert writes:

Ham Radio TV Events, Communication & Electronics History Webcast With High Speed Internet And Windows Media Player is located at . Providing a dedicated high performance server with plenty of bandwidth to the Amateur Radio community free of charge. If your Amateur Radio club or organization or equipment manufacturer has Amateur Radio related video to donate, please send a link for downloading to for "consideration to be webcast". Formats accepted are in English 320 X 240 Windows Media, FLASH, MOV, Mpeg 1, Mpeg 2, and Real Video at 500 Kbps or greater for conversion.

We noted that at this point you will need one of the Windows based media players, but it really looks good. (Thanks Robert!!)

I encourage anyone that has good video to share, being sure you have all needed permissions, to contact him. This site has real potential.

Resources available for you

For all our abilities to communicate, sometimes it seems that amateurs can talk around the world but not to each other. A case in point is the availability of resources for promotional and media uses. Emails, websites, the ARRL Letter and notations in QST seem to do little to diminish the numbers of requests asking if any such material was ever available.

Sure, YOU know that it exists (don’t you?). But do your group leaders and other members of your group know the range of what is available to them thanks to the ARRL?

I encourage you to take a close look at the Media Hits column in the October QST. I have changed from my usual format to list as many of the resources as I could get into the space allotted. You just might want to make copies of it and share them with others in your group. Why re-invent the wheel when so much is already freely available to you?

PR-101 grads gaining media skills

Over 30 PIOs have already completed the PR-101 course and their critiques have all been very positive. No matter how many years you have been talking about Amateur Radio, we’re sure you will learn many new skills and get ideas of exciting ways to present the hobby and your group to the public in PR-101. If you take on the honor and title to be our face to the world, then take the training too. PR-101 is available at the store.

Can you make an Audio PSA?

(Originally posted August 09)
I played a bit with the website we used in early development of PR-101, and changed things to turn it into an Audio PSA vault.
Take a look.
Remember that the “real” ARRL public service announcements are not there but are located at Media and Public Relations. But here is a place to post, save and play with 30 second audio Public Service Announcements.
Making a GOOD audio PSA is still an art form. But with improved computer capabilities and downloadable programs like Goldwave, (many of which are free or bundled in with program software) more and more people could do it. We have some very talented people out there who like to play with audio and computers. We have heard excellent announcements made up for clubs and special, local events. Here’s your chance to share them with others. Maybe something you did can be used in another place with a little modification and tweaking.
Send your 30 second mp3 files to me by October 1 with your title for the piece, name and callsign at and show me what you can do. I’ll post it for others to see on the web page.

The Last Word

In among all the emails I get each day (I am running about 20:1 lately with spam vs. real and if they send me all the money from those African widows that they promised, I can retire!), I came across one from Steve Herman. Looking at the link enclosed, I was delighted to see this information.

You may never even talk to Afghanistan let alone go there. But knowing this sort of information is important for being a good PIO. You never know which way a reporter’s angle may lead you, and having a smattering of current information about others, irrespective of it seeming distant to you personally, often can add spice and column inches to a story.

That’s not to say get off topic or miss your 3 main points. Those are still key in any media exchange. But sharing timely anecdotes, references and examples turns your generalities into facts.

Another link I would like you to know is . (That’s a zero, not an Oh.) While the numbers go up a little, down a little, they are definitely not dropping off the charts! In fact, each year there have been over 25,000 brand new hams coming into the hobby for 4 years now, replacing those that drop off the listings. Please be sure to share that info with anyone claiming we’re all dying.

It was a great summer! But now it is time to get back to work. We have National Preparedness Month and the S.E.T. coming up and, just maybe, we’ll have a sunspot or three.

-Allen, W1AGP


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