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September 2011


September 2011

Vol 9, No 9

September 2011


Special ARRL Webinar for PIOs Nov. 3rd

Hams, Emergencies and the News

ARES and emergency groups have had their hands full in the past months. Time and again Amateur Radio was called upon to provide emergency communications. In some places the hams made the news and were highly praised. In other places the community never knew they were there because no one worked with the news media.

On the evening of November 3, 2011 there will be a special webinar hosted by the ARRL national Public Relations Committee (PRC) for PIOs, group leaders and hams that want to learn how to appropriately work with media in an emergency situation.

Key presenters will be Howard Price, KA2QPJ, of ABC News in New York and Mark Kraham, W8CMK, Chairman of the national Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). RTDNA represents local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries. Together, they will discuss the needs of news media in events and what hams can provide to reporters. A panel of veteran hams, ARES leaders and PIOs will look into how we can effectively meet those needs.

We all say we want Amateur Radio to grow and be recognized for its service to the community, but without good local media relations our actions are unknown. “If it did not get in the media, it never happened,” said Allen Pitts, W1AGP, at ARRL headquarters. “The national Public Relations Committee recognizes this and is determined to help resolve the problem.”

More information, exact times and how to monitor the webinar will be posted on the ARRL website. The webinar will be recorded and copies made available.

Lessons from Irene

Places with active PIOs who proactively reached out to media got local media hits.

Places where people waited for the media to call them didn’t.

Places where EC’s and others tried to be PIOs in addition to other things, couldn’t.

Our ability to survive antenna restrictions and spectrum challenges depends on informing our communities about our services. If we lose, we have only ourselves to blame.

Things to have On Hand:

Any credentials you may have been given or needed to enter JIC (Joint Information Center)


Flash Drive pre-loaded with Ham Radio background releases

List of key hams for your region with contact info: Section Staff, DECs, ECs
Sample photos – EOC, Ham with HT, Field Day, ham working with agency official
List of ham radio media outlet email addresses

List of local area public news media contacts and their emails/phone numbers.
Pad & pens/pencils

World Radiosport Team Championships

The World Radiosport Team Championships are coming to the US – and this is indeed a big deal!

Here’s the promotional video about it. If you need the high definition version for cable or TV use, email me about it and we’ll set something up.

Videos on the Web

There are several places on the Web that have ham videos. Here are five of the biggest ones.

ARRL now has our own YouTube section at . In addition to several PR pieces, there are good product review videos done by the lab.

Viewable on YouTube and downloadable from , the AmateurLogic.TV series is a good source of short video on several ham radio topics. If you have not looked into it, take a moment to see what’s there. If you have a presentation coming up, they probably have something related to your topic.

Ham Nation (TwiT) is also available at

The Amateur Radio Video News (ARVN) is at . Different from the others, these are more of a news/documentary slant while the others are more presentations.

Of course there are ARRL’s PSAs and other PR videos at

National Preparedness Month

FEMA’s National Preparedness Month is September – and it was off to a very slow start until Hurricane Irene came along. Suddenly their website came alive as communities took preparations quite seriously. There’s still time to have your groups or club sign in.

National Preparedness Month adds technical webpage

Recent weather events such as Hurricane Irene, the earthquake on the East Coast and other natural disasters highlight the need for Americans to prepare for emergencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, the Ad Council and Google Crisis Response are collaborating to launch a new preparedness web resource, Get Tech Ready, on behalf of the Ready campaign.

Released just before the start of National Preparedness Month, this new resource educates individuals and families about how using modern-day technology can help them prepare, adapt and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies or disasters.

A recent American Red Cross survey showed that the internet, including online news sites and social media platforms, is the third most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe.

"As technology becomes more a part of our daily lives, people are turning to it during emergencies as well. We need to utilize these tools, to the best of our abilities, to engage and inform the public, because no matter how much federal, state and local officials do, we will only be successful if the public is brought in as part of the team," FEMA Administrator, W. Craig Fugate.

PR-101 gets 100 graduates

PR-101, the highly recommended, free course for ham radio promotional work and PIOs, had its 100th graduate on August 30 when Steven Thomas, KI4IRI, passed its final exam. The praise for the course by both PR pros and newbies has been consistent since its inception. By presenting useful information that matches modern media realities and addressing the limitations placed on most volunteers, PR-101 has been quite a success.

You can download the course for free at .

We ain't dead yet!

Image of We ain't dead yet!

With Amateur Radio licenses in the USA about to hit the 700,000 mark, take a look at the numbers and trends in recent years

The Last Word....

ARRL Director Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, happened to have a conversation with a young lady several weeks ago. She asked, “Ham Radio – they still do that?” It still bothers him. We may think people know about us, but remember Katrina is now six years ago. The students entering college cannot remember when there were not cell phones and the Web. They were born at the time of OJ’s trial for murder and Newt Gingrich was named House Speaker. By the time they were old enough to talk in a complete sentence, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had already given them a new word to use, “Google.”

As written above in “lessons from Irene,” a great deal depends on the activity levels of local PIOs and groups. If they are not proactive, the community around them will not know about the hams. “If it didn’t get into the media, it never happened” is not an exaggeration in today’s world. Unfortunately due to ratings competition, what gets into the media often depends on sensationalist hype. We choose NOT to do hype. But it is understandable that young people may not know about us if we ourselves do not inform them. To answer her question about ham radio, ARRL provides plenty of free materials and helps for clubs and PIOs to use. Here’s just one:

Yeah, we STILL do that


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