American Association of Information Radio Operators AAIRO

AAIRO American Association of Information Radio Operators
  annual meeting minutes - 2012  
  Opening

The annual business meeting of the American Association of Information Radio Operators was called to order at 1 pm on January 4, 2012, by AAIRO President Bill Baker in a telephone conference call. Beginning with Bill, each attendee introduced him/herself by giving a brief synopsis of his/her career experiences and what brought him/her to AAIRO. [Summaries appear here.]


Present - All AAIRO Board Members

Bill Baker, president
Jeff Braun, director
Linda Folland, secretary/treasurer
Mike Williams, director
Jim Zoss, vice president


Old Business


It was motioned and approved unanimously to waive the need to produce meeting minutes from the previous 3 years since AAIRO's founding, 2008-2011, since no formal meetings were held. It was moved and unanimously approved to waive the reading of AAIRO's 2011 financial report [viewable at this link].


New Business


AAIRO’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Petition
Bill reported that AAIRO attorneys in Washington, DC, say the FCC is actively addressing the (PS Docket 09-19) Petition for Ruling, as a good sign, considering the Commission can pick and choose which projects to do. The attorneys expect the FCC’s “stamp” during 2012’s first quarter. Bill added that the following items bode well for the Petition:

A. The current Democratic administration tends not to favor big business, i.e., National Association of Broadcasters.
B. According to Bill who attended a meeting about the Petition in Washington, DC, last April, the Public Safety Branch of the FCC has taken up the issue. This likely means they agree Travelers Information Station (TIS) Rules need updating. Questions asked at the meeting seemed to center on trying to understand the issues confronting TIS and what language to use in crafting a response. For example, if the FCC allows expansion, where do they set the limits between old rules and new rules. Particularly telling questions they asked were . . .

     (1) Is emergency info important on TIS stations on a daily basis?
     (2) What types of information relate to emergency management?

Bill said that, in the recent past, FCC Public Safety Branch rulings have carried weight and that most of what the public sees from them would lead him to believe that the Branch is going to allow some reasonable expansion for TISs for public safety use.
Further discussion ensued among the virtual attendees regarding delays emergency managers would experience in serving the public if the FCC does not allow direct/automatic rebroadcasts of county-level NOAA All-Hazards Alerts via TISs. All present agreed that emergency management operators should not have to take the time during emergencies to re-cast All-Hazards Alerts personally. “The last thing you want to do is reproduce that information, when you can send it out directly,” Jeff said.

It was also agreed that TIS broadcasts can offer a level of minute-by-minute, local detailed information that is generally not provided on commercial stations.

Mike posed the question: “Who is to say to say that weather, for example, isn’t traffic related?” Jeff further offered: “Having meaningful, daily broadcasts will cause drivers to tune to the stations more often, so that when emergencies occur, it will be second nature.”

Bill noted that it will be interesting to see what the FCC says on this issue, i.e. the first time their thoughts will be in print about it. According to Bill, early complaints by FCC branches in Texas and California did not offer details on why rebroadcasting NOAA Alerts was inappropriate, and they were the only recorded complaints in 20 years. Bill also recounted that Herb White, the man in charge of NOAA for the National Weather Services, expressed interest in weighing in, saying “If the FCC says it’s not allowed, we [NOAA] would like to file a statement in support of rebroadcasts.”

Also, Bill iterated that if AAIRO members do not agree with the FCC ruling, the organization can file a formal appeal.

Future Meetings

A motion that AAIRO’s Board conduct an annual meeting electronically carried – minutes and financials to be posted on www.AAIRO.org.

Professional Liaisons

Mike proposed that AAIRO consider joining (as a professional organization) other professional groups, such as the International Association of Emergency Managers. Linda offered to put together a list of possibilities and what would be involved, e.g., costs. Funding might be needed.

Making AAIRO Self-Supporting

Bill solicited ideas from those present on how to make AAIRO self-supporting financially.

A. Mike suggested that members receive a benefits letter (or email), listing what can be gained from belonging to AAIRO.
B. Bill mentioned the possibility of having two tiers of members: (1) paying and (2) nonpaying with different benefits for each.
C. Mike suggested offering an option to join AAIRO for a set time (with named benefits) up front in the cost of purchasing information radio systems.
D. Mike noted that operators with small budgets be allowed to use AAIRO to gain access to larger TIS capabilities – for example, AAIRO could invite members to send in scripts to be shared with others and scripts to be recorded free and provided as downloadable MP3 recordings or. Another ideas was to have AAIRO offer downloadable sample recordings that could be used as model broadcasts. “AAIRO could create a repository of generic, approved scripts and recordings for members,” Bill intoned, “once we get a FCC ruling on the present Petition and we know for certain what can be said.”
E. Bill presented the idea of offering a frequency monitoring service to notify applicants of others in their areas also filing requests for stations. He also mentioned that people might value the organization more if they had to invest something to belong, under the premise that "anything free might not be fully appreciated.'
F. Linda suggested sending a letter to members listing possible association services and soliciting additional ideas and appropriate dues dues structure.
G. Mike suggested publishing member profiles on AAIRO’s website, stories that could be shared and used as leverage for making a case to acquire a local station. Bill will distribute to the Board a recent example of such a story in which a radio station and flashing signs saved the life of a lost person.
H. Mike suggested we send members a digital AAIRO logo to use on their websites, linking others to our organization.

Officer Election

Bill and Linda reported that 64 responders unanimously voted to keep the existing AAIRO Board. Moreover, AAIRO attorneys, who helped draft the group's bylaws, indicated that if the Board of Directors fails to reach a quorum at the membership meeting (as happened), the composition of the Board rolls over to the next annual meeting, and the Board may continue to conduct business as usual until then. Therefore, the Board does not need to re-contact voting members to gather more responses for re-election of the current slate of Directors.

Meeting Frequency

Discussion followed on how often the Board of Directors should meet. All agreed that forward motion and regular communication with members is critical. That is, it is important to keep tracking AAIRO business with members to keep the momentum of AAIRO alive.

Proposed Next Meeting Agenda

• Election results for AAIROs board.
• AAIRO Petition status.
• Member benefits and related dues to help AAIRO become a self-supporting nonprofit organization.
• Joining other professional organizations (as a professional group).


Adjournment

Bill will call the next meeting in April 2012, electronically, as agreed by the Board of Directors. The meeting was adjourned at 2 pm by Bill.


Minutes Submitted by

Linda Folland, Secretary.


Minutes Approved by

Bill Baker, Jeff Braun, Mike Williams, Jim Zoss.