American Association of Information Radio Operators AAIRO

AAIRO American Association of Information Radio Operators
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Educational Information for Operators & Licensees of Information Radio Stations across America
  2017 most recent first     ...links
Just-in-Time" visitor info: special events & venues broadcast to visitors - just as they arrive.

Grand Canyon National Park gives visitors critical parking directions by radio, as they approach the South Rim.

Quakertown, Pennsylvania, broadcasts to visitors.
The Source newsletter, Mar 2017
FCC Chairman Pai FCC Approves Enhanced Signal Coverage for 2 More Emergency Management Agencies

"Radio is vital...especially during emergencies," says new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

TIS Station Maintenance Checklist
The Source newsletter, Feb 2017
ND Health Agency Deploys Resources to Protect the Public from Winter's Wrath

Security Must Be Vigilant Inside and Out of Hospitals

Radio Continues to Dominate even Young Dashboards
The Source newsletter, Jan 2017
  2016 most recent first     ...links
Health Officials Prepare for Zika Impact as Vaccine Enters Testing
In response, Information Station Specialists developed portable LED changeable message sign they can use for PODS, health clinics and hospitals to inform and direct motorists, as they approach and line up for treatment.

Weather Radio No Longer the Same/S.A.M.E.
Emergency managers should monitor Weather Radio tests weekly to verify that their equipment is properly receiving and decoding alerts.
The Source newsletter, Oct 2016
Inspiring Interpretation
Herbert Hoover history becomes a headliner on the Heartland Highway.

Pilot Patter Proves Particularly Popular
Michigan airport lets motorists listen to pilot/tower communications via vehicle radios.
The Source newsletter, Sep 2016
Info Radio Station Assists Community during Blue Cut Fire
The community's emergency advisory radio station on AM 1610 evacuated residents to the west because routes to the east were ablaze.

Virginia DOT Upgrades HARs; Higher Quality Audio and Range for Motorists
The first DOT to take advantage of new FCC rules that allow the addition of audio processors to HAR stations.

Grainger Adds Emergency / Health Info Radio Station to Online Catalog
IRiS is the first portable station that can be controlled via cell modem.
The Source newsletter, Aug 2016
AAIRO Files Comments with the FCC
In response to the FCC's recent Notice of Inquiry about revitalization of the AM radio service , specifically Paragraph 18, AAIRO in March filed formal comments, then in April filed a reply to comments by others.
 
Long Beach Island is narrow Coastal Community Prepares
See how Harvey Cedars, an island-bound community on the New Jersey shore, is cruisin' for a bruisin' in the 2016 hurricane season.

Stations Runway Better
Airports are making sure that they can reach the public promptly with important information, especially in Cincinnati and Memphis.

New EAS Codes Coming
You may need to upgrade your NOAA/NWS receivers and EAS equipment to recognize 3 new hazard codes.
The Source newsletter, Jun 2016
National Park Service Installs 2 Info Stations in Hawaii
"Interpreting Rises and Falls," ...sunrises and waterfalls, that is, using National Geographic-caliber audios.

Arcola, IL, Attracts Visitors with Info Radio
"Why Not Arcola," I-57 stretches from Chicago to Missouri - 386 miles. Sixty-six nearly identical exits are offered; but Exit 203, at Arcola, Illinois, works 24/7 to convince travelers to stop there.
The Source newsletter, May 2016
Michigan DOT First with High Quality HARs
When campus safety personnel issue emergency text/email notices, they don't want motorists scrambling to locate mobile phones while driving. The University of Nevada, Reno, solves this problem by broadcasting aural versions of emergency messages to all vehicle radios within 5 miles of campus.


University Broadcasts Text Alerts to Motorists
The longest suspension bridge in this hemisphere now sports Information Radio Stations (HAR) with the widest bandwidths - a full 5000 Hz - another first for the Mighty Mackinac Bridage and Michigan's DOT.
The Source newsletter, Mar 2016
New TIS Audio Processor FCC Approves New TIS Improvements
Operators report dramatic differences in audio intelligibility and overall quality. It's the first change in Information Radio (TIS) technology since the service began, and it's a big one.

A Fair Question
South Florida Fair answers with special radio frequency for "patron communication." When 500,000 people show up to your event, how do you speak to them when something unexpectedly changes? The South Florida Fair has a solution.
The Source newsletter, Feb 2016

Blizzard broadcasts began before the blast.
Operators of Information Radio Stations in the East were on top of events before the events were on top of them! Read stories of stations that kept talking so severed lines of communication and power wouldn’t leave communities in the cold.

It's a sign.
Imagine an ultra-portable changeable message sign (CMS) that’s rechargeable and programs with a hand-held remote. Designed for emergency health and other critical public safety applications, it’s called “Lighting CMS” and is now available.

If they build more, will we come?
The FCC issues a Notice of Inquiry to ask us if they were to allow more broadcast stations in the AM expanded band (1610-1700 kHz), will it be “revitalized?"

The Source newsletter, Jan 2016
VoiceStar with Lit Sign
  • Safety agencies disseminate incident info instantly with VoiceStar.

  • TIS Beauty Competition.

  • When is interference not really interference?

  • Info radio frequencies continue to be available almost everywhere except big cities.

The Source newsletter, Dec 2015
  2015       ...links
Gibraltar Firefighters "Fire in them Hills"
As alarmed residents streamed away from the "Gibraltar Incident" wildfire on the California coast, many also streamed updated evacuation instructions on their portable devices...or received it on their radios from Montecito, California's, Information Radio Station. Why is "StreamCasting" becoming an invaluable tool for Emergency Managers?

FCC Blesses TISs
How have rule changes at the FCC benefitted Emergency Managers who use Information Radio Stations (TIS) to inform the public during crises? Included is a link to the full IAEM Bulletin article on the topic.

"HQ" Debut
High Quality Travelers Information Station (TIS) transmitters are going on the air. Why is the audio bandwidth increase of only 2000 Hz important?
The Source newsletter, Nov 2015
AGREM logo FCC Approves "Mega-Sized" Information Station
The Avon Grove Regional Emergency Management Group (AGREM) in Pennsylvania is arguably the first entity to be granted a trio of waivers by the FCC, making its pioneering request for relaxed restrictions a reality.

Wrong Day to Be in the Right-of-Way?
If you like photos of accidents and train wrecks, you'll love these shots sent by readers of The Source, showing TIS/HAR Radio Stations along roadways that were in the way when vehicles suddenly needed to occupy the same physical space!

Is WRCR Wreaking Havoc?
Info Station licensees on 1690 and 1700 in the tri-state area (NY/NJ/CT) are assessing how much interference their new neighbor - WRCR AM 1700 - is causing them.
The Source newsletter, Aug 2015
Radio Still #1 Local Info Source for Motorists
Studies say, "Don't tweet, text or post, if you want to reach people on the road."

Knowing Weather, It's Necessary
FCC rules for Travelers' Information Station broadcasts remain cloudy.
The Source newsletter, Jun 2015    
National Parks Task TISs to Interpret & Inform
Across the fruited plain, TIS stations are going on-air in the nation’s premier National Parks. Learn about creative applications and the NPS TIS legacy, too.

Two New TIS Upgrades
FCC to allow new high quality filters on Information Radio Stations beginning June 4th. Learn how to make the upgrade. Your radio station can tell you when it is “down”. Find out how to add this critical capability.

Tropical Hot Tub Heats Again; "El Niño" on the Horizon
With another El Niño spinning up, how to keep public informed if it really goes south.
The Source newsletter, May 2015    
TR6000 TIS Transmitter from Information Station Specialists Audio Quality & TIS Are No Longer Strangers
Information station (TIS/HAR) operators can now upgrade to high quality (HQ) status, using a kit to be made available soon. Learn more.

Another First for the Long Beach Grand Prix
How do you inform more than 200,000 attendees and local residents during a premier racing event that re-routes entire city streets for nearly a week? Long Beach, California, has a winning recipe that includes a special radio frequency and changeable message signs.

Hudson County, NJ, Acquires Surprising Ally in Quest for 100W Station
First-of-its-kind agreement between a TIS licensee and a broadcast station could result in the County being allowed to run its station at 10X power. What happens next?
The Source newsletter, Apr 2015  
Estes Park CO flood Communities Bring Back Local Radio
Cities have begun installing their own TIS radio stations to keep residents informed.

Pennsylvania Agency Asks to Boost Antenna Height & Range

Historic Change Allows Licensees to Broadcast Higher Bandwidth Audio without Recertifying
The Source newsletter, Mar 2015
Blizzard Broadcasts Buffer the Blast
New England towns maintain constant contact with citizens by radio, even as snow stacks up and power goes down.
The Source newsletter, Feb 2015    
  2014 most recent first     ...links
Tennessee Public Health Employs Portable Emergency Advisory Radio Stations
For student lock-downs.

FCC Ruling Rankles NY
Top-of-Bank Travelers Information Stations.
The Source newsletter, Dec 2014  
In-Vehicle Radio Ranks Well Compared with Cell Phones
A new study shows that radio presents one of the least distracting means of getting messages in front of drivers.
The Source newsletter, Oct 2014 
Penn Turnpike Hosts Info Radio for New Flight 93 Memorial
The National Park Service uses trusty Travelers Information Stations on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to help motorists find the new Flight 93 Memorial crash site in remote Pennsylvania.
Transportation Corridor Broadcasts Toll Info
Via Highway Advisory Radio, California's Orange County now tells motorists without toll accounts how to pay.
Not 'If' but 'When?' Ebola and ISIS Threats Prompt Public Health and Emergency Prep

Sep 2014:
  As terrorizations loom, hundreds of communities with emergency advisory radio stations prepare to use them if/when needed.
The Source newsletter, Sep 2014 
Fleeing CA Flames; Radio Route Tahoe-Area Residents away from Massive King Fire
Sep 2014: The North Tahoe Fire Protection District employs 3 portable emergency advisory radio stations to allay fear and reroute residents.
California Earthquake Mt Baldy  Flood 2014 California Quake & Flood Test Info Radio
In one hour on Aug 3, almost 5 inches of rain fell on California mountain town Mount Baldy. Firefighter Robert Strickland deployed his RadioSTAT portable station to assist the public. On August 24, the 6.0 South Napa Earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay area. Dozens of communities employed Information Radio Stations.
The Source newsletter, Aug 2014
Beach Towns in the Crosshairs; Shoreline Communities Add, Replace & Upgrade Information Radio Station in Preparation for the next "Sandy."
From northern Maine to south Texas, dozens of communities are adding, upgrading and replacing their Emergency Advisory Radio Systems in anticipation of the 2014 hurricane and flood season.
The Source newsletter, Jun 2015
Cocos Fire San Marcos Guides Motorists "Out of Harm's Way" with RadioSTAT during May Wildfire Evacuation
The Cocos Fire that broke out May 14th forced thousands to evacuate and destroyed 36 homes in the busy San Marcos community south of Los Angeles. Aiding in the evacuation was the City's RadioSTAT Portable Emergency Broadcast Station. Scott Hansen of the Fire Department stated that the system “worked great”; and City Council members praised the Department’s response efforts.
The Source newsletter, May 2015
Naperville Kicks Their 1990's Information Stations into the 21st Century
Chicagoland's Naperville − the first city in our Nation to operate multiple synchronized Information Radio stations − is making more efficient its service by replacing 'old school' aspects of the original system with cost-effective, newer capabilities. Coordinator Dan Nelson explains the City's rationale this way: "We seek the best quality and most diverse means of keeping our citizens informed, and Information Radio is a good way to do that, especially should other means of communication be compromised." Numerous other licensees are following suit. 
The Source newsletter, Apr 2014
FCC logo Way More Watts Wanted; Hudson County NJ Cites High Noise Levels & Special Location in 100-Watt Request to FCC
Hudson County New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management recently petitioned the FCC for a waiver to operate their Information Station at 100 watts instead of the FCC-maximum 10 watts with the standard field limitations. The FCC turned the application down in February, stating that the County had failed to make its case. Now, the County is back, appealing the denial.
The Source newsletter, Mar 2014
As Ice and Snow Fall, the Value of Info Radio Rises
Hundreds of thousands of residents have been without power and safe transportation amid the perpetual parade of precipitation that has characterized the winter of 2014. Those in communities with information radio stations at least were not out of touch. Reports of stations transmitting critical safety messages throughout the storms abound. Read more, along with the latest news.
The Source newsletter, Feb 2014
Really Reaching Residents; HOAs and CDDs Turn to Micro Radio
See how Information Radio is making its way deeper and deeper into communities via HOAs, CDDs and other grassroots efforts to help ensure that property owners have as much time and pertinent information as possible to prepare for disasters and stay in touch with local circumstances. Collaboration with local governments on funding and FCC licensing not only moves such projects forward but also builds community. 
Case Study
NOAA News Is Bad News
New York's national weather radio station disappeared, reappeared, then disappeared again – just in time for a snow storm.
The Source newsletter, Jan 2014
  2008-2013 most recent first     ...links
Urgent Message Highway Sign Information Stations on the Big Stage; APCO Details New TIS Rule Changes in International Publication
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), in a widely read article, recently explained the implications of certain FCC TIS rule changes, in particular, the increasing role of Information Radio for local emergency management. AAIRO's efforts were recognized. 
APCO article, Dec 2013
FCC logo Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) Comments on TIS Filters Proposed by the FCC- AAIRO Responds - NAB Offers a TIS-Friendly Solution
In comments filed with the FCC during September, the SBE announced it is squarely at odds with the Commission’s current rulemaking effort that would result in elimination of audio filters on TIS transmitters. Removal, says the SBE, would “contribute to the inability of AM broadcasters to compete in the radio marketplace.” 3-kHz filters were built into the design of the transmitters in the 1970s, when it was believed that the 10-watt stations could interfere with local broadcasters if their bandwidth was not limited. AAIRO filed a reply (right), stating that the current erosion of AM listening would not be hastened by making TIS stations more intelligible. Quite the opposite. The vitality of the TIS service actually has the potential to attract listeners back to the AM band to receive helpful travel advisories and emergency information when a disaster strikes. That will not happen if TIS stations are difficult to understand. The Nation Association of Broadcasters filed in FCC docket 098-19 a comment that takes the position that, in general, filters should not be removed from TIS transmitters, proposing instead a widening of filters from 3 kHz to 5 kHz – possibly a winning argument.  
... AAIRO's comments

... AAIRO's Reply to SBE

... AAIRO's Reply to NAB

Mt. Rainier Why Most Public Safety Agencies Are Wary of Low Power FM
With the filing window approaching for Low Power FM Radio Stations (LPFM), The Source fields questions regarding FM - is it a better band to be on than AM: a quick-list of points that illustrate why most public safety agencies don’t want it.  
The Source newsletter, Sep 2013  
Mount Rainier, 1st National Park to Add Networked Info Radio Stations
It’s not news when a National Park boasts multiple Information Radio Stations (TIS) that deliver special messages to visitors in multiple locations. It is news, however, when the broadcast messages on the radio stations are seamlessly managed across a network.
Low Power FM: It Gets Worse
Safety Agencies Add More Reasons Why LPFM is Untenable  

The Source newsletter, Oct 2013

FCC logo  Historic Revision of TIS Rules Meets Broad Approval with Emergency Managers, Raises Questions
Across the US, public safety officials are applauding the FCC’s proposed new rules and attendant clarifications contained in the Report & Order released in July. A comment period is underway right now. AAIRO encourages all interested public safety officials to submit a comment letter to the Association for filing..August 2013: Across the US, public safety officials are applauding the FCC’s proposed new rules and attendant clarifications contained in the Report & Order released in July. A comment period is underway right now. AAIRO encourages all interested public safety officials to submit a comment letter to the Association for filing..
 The Source newsletter, Aug 2013

Amended TIS Rules Benefit Public Safety; More Operator Discretion, Emergency Content, Technical Improvements
The FCC has finally released a long-awaited Report & Order to “clarify and amend" TIS rules. This is in direct response to petitions and comments sent to the Commission during the last four years. During the Report & Order's official comment period (likely the month of August), we urge the public safety community (in particular) to support needed changes by sending emails/letters to us that will be collated and filed with our own on Docket PS 09-19. The goal: Encourage the Commission to finalize the effort without delay.
RadioResource "Emergency Manager Await New Rules for Critical TIS Service" by Michellle Zilis
RadioResourceMedia Group published an article on AAIRO's efforts and stance for FCC updates to TIS rules. AAIRO president Bill Baker is interviewed..
The Source newsletter, Jun 2013
AAIRO -- >> When Push Comes to "Shove"
The effort to convince the FCC to improve the rules for the Travelers Information Service is approaching an end – we hope.

But we really need your assistance in “shoving” the FCC so we can complete the effort. Please read:

We were just told by our Counsel in Washington DC last week thatSuperStormSuperStorm Sandyhas given the FCC the object lesson it needs to realize the value of Information Radio to communities, especially when other means of communication are off-line. The new rules in section 90.242 are expected to reflect this. But convincing them to finalize the rules and issue the order to establish them is another matter. That would seem like the easy part, but there apparently is little incentive for the FCC to move on public safety issues unless it receives a “push” from the outside in the form of letters, meetings and the like..has given the FCC the object lesson it needs to realize the value of Information Radio to communities, especially when other means of communication are off-line. The new rules in section 90.242 are expected to reflect this. But convincing them to finalize the rules and issue the order to establish them is another matter. That would seem like the easy part, but there apparently is little incentive for the FCC to move on public safety issues unless it receives a “push” from the outside in the form of letters, meetings and the like.

We are now into our 4th year of “pushing.”

So far, the funding for the Petition for Rulemaking has entirely come from the Information Station Specialists and associated manufacturing firms. But now, with coffers running low, we are asking if you will help with the final “shove” needed to get across the finish line. The funds collected will pay for the attorney fees and travel expenses to coordinate the in-person meetings with the Commissioners’ staffs. The necessity is to encourage them to request the new rules come to a vote soon and to make sure the content of the new rules benefits public safety to the greatest degree possible.

Send us an email (upper right) and pledge an amount that would be willing to contribute? (If you work for a governmental agency, we understand that the agency may not be able to help, but perhaps you can assist at the personal level.) We will follow up with you later to do the details..

Since we want to honor all contributors, and since the rule section we are addressing is “FCC Rule Section 90.242”…

…if you can help with a contribution of exactly $90.24., AAIRO will show our sincere appreciation to you, your agency /company by listing you with co-contributors on the AAIRO website. The math says that if every AAIRO member contributed $90.24, AAIRO will be able to proceed with confidence into the final discussions with the FCC.

When it’s all said and done, you will know that you have directly contributed to a demonstrable effort to improve public policy and positively affect the safety of all Americans.

NOTE: To shove even harder, why not contribute a multiple of “$90.24’s”? Help us “shove” the FCC good and hard.

Two times $90.24 =$180.488br class="auto-style2" /> Three times $90.24 =$270.722
Four times $90.24 =$360.966
XX times $90.24 =$[X times 90.24]
 
Hurricane Sandy FCC Update - the 'Sandy' Connection
Word is that the FCC, at last, is moving the Information Station (TIS) Rulemaking effort up to the Chairman’s office for a vote of the commissioners. We all hope this will result in new rules that enhance a station’s ability to protect public safety and lives..January 2013 – Word is that the FCC, at last, is moving the Information Station (TIS) Rulemaking effort up to the Chairman’s office for a vote of the commissioners. We all hope this will result in new rules that enhance a station’s ability to protect public safety and lives.

AAIRO’s counsel in Washington advises that as they consider the final language of the new rules, letters from communities affected byy SuperstormmSandy will be effective, immediate illustrations to the FCC of the value of these stations, especially when other means of communications are offline. I hope you will take a moment to review the attached letters (linked right) from New Jersey and California cities to the Commission.

We would like to have your expression of support for this effort.. /span> Email us a letter of support or just a written paragraph that we can place into a multi-community document that we are creating.

Thanks, in advance, for your support for this important effort.
AAIRO Letter,
Dec 2012
Putting Out Fires: Info Stations Prove Invaluable in California Wildfire Evacuations

December 2012 – Two wildfires in three weeks test the Santa Barbara area. Information Radio Stations played a key role in protecting and informing affected residents..December 2012 – Two wildfires in three weeks test the Santa Barbara area. Information Radio Stations played a key role in protecting and informing affected residents.
... details
Needed: Sandy Success Stories for the FCC Vote on AAIRO's Petition

November 2012 – The FCC is due to vote on the
AAIRO Petition in the very near future. Counsel believes that, due to the hurricane, the issue is ripe for further discussion and has asked communities who can make the argument that the service had/has unique value before-during-after the event to send them indication that . . ..the very near future. Counsel believes that, due to the hurricane, the issue is ripe for further discussion and has asked communities who can make the argument that the service had/has unique value before-during-after the event to send them indication that . . .

The station was the single info source for the community due to other services (cell, internet, etc.) being down..
  1. The station delivered critical information..
  2. The station ran throughout the storm due to its battery pack/generator/solar ((etc..) and/or hurricane-wind-rated antenna/support structure (Vertical Profile Antenna System").
  3. The service could be enhanced by the clarification of the rules in 90.242 to clearly indicate that the following two things are allowable at all times:
    1. Weather forecasts and conditions information, including rebroadcasts of the info stream from the NOAA/NWS Weather Radio network.
    2. Messages regarding preparations citizens can make before the disaster that can mitigatee loss of life and property.
...email your Weather-Related Emergency story
Withstanding Sandy: Info Radio Plays Key Role during Hurricane
MANASQUAN, NJ: When Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore in Manasquan, NJ, 90-MPH winds pushed a wall of water into the city, causing massive flooding. Emergency Manager Chris Tucker tapped his Information Radio Station on AM 1620 to be the solitary source to keep residents apprised, with the anticipation that “data and internet connections might be compromised.” They were. Additionally, his station’s antenna system encountered enormous winds and was engulfed by 3 feet of storm surge. It kept working. The station’s battery backup – occasionally charged via generator – powered the station continuously through the storm. 80 miles down the shore near Sandy’s landfall, the Police Chief Robert Matteucci of North Wildwood, NJ, utilized his 1640 signal in an effort to preserve life and property. The broadcast, which was simulcast to the Internet, advised residents to heed mandatory evacuation orders and provided the emergency numbers for electric and gas companies. A message from the community’s emergency management team, mayor and police chief stated that Sandy “may be the worst storm ever to hit the shore of New Jersey.” Manasquan’s and North Wildwood’s Information Radio Stations comprise but two of the dozens of such stations installed to protect citizens in coastal communities of New Jersey and surrounding states.
The Source newsletter, Oct 2012
A Streaming Success

October 2012 – Lexington, KY; North Wildwood, NJ; and Missouri City, TX: Information radio stations increasingly simulcast on the Internet. See what three AAIRO members have to say about streaming their broadcasts.
Let us know if you would like to share station operation ideas with AAIRO members. 
... details
  New Information Radio Rules Coming Soon

October 2012 – Washington, DC: Counsel in Washington DC informed AAIRO (The American Association of Information Radio Operators) on Friday (10/5) that action on the AAIRO Petition for Rulemaking may be coming soon. The Petition asked the FCC to clarify broadcast content and certain technical requirements contained in FCC Rules Part 90 that govern the Information Station (TIS) service. According to contacts in the FCC's Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, the draft Report & Order (R&O) will be ready for submission to the Chairman's office in early November. Assuming there are no revisions ordered by the Chairman, the Report & Order containing new Information Station rules will be presented to the five commissioners for voting soon thereafter. If three of the five commissioners vote to approve, the new rules will likely take effect this winter. 
 
 
Bridge of the Americas
Radio that Crosses the Line: DHS/CBP Adding More Info Radio Stations on US/Mexican Ports of Entry

October 2012 – Washington, DC: Results of a pilot survey conducted by CBP indicate considerable favorability for the radio stations and agreement that they have special value as a tool to gauge 'wait' times. 
... details
  Emergency 'Hurricane Irene' Message Recording Service Offered Free to AAIRO Members

August 2011 – Emergency radio messages related to Hurricane Irene were provided to AAIRO members by Information Station Specialists at no charge. The first such messages was broadcast in a New Jersey community. Turnaround time was immediate. Messages were recorded as audio files and sent to requesters by email or via telephone.  
... learn about this free service  
  National EAS Test
August 2011 – AAIRO received the below response from the National Weather Service with regard to NOAA Weather Radio not carrying the national EAS test on November 9, 2011.

From: Herbert White [mailto:Herbert.White@noaa.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 11:13 AM
To: Bill Baker
Cc: Mike Gerber
Subject: Re: National EAS Test not to include NOAA

Bill,

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) stations will not carry the national EAS test in November 2011. NWS and FEMA are working on improvements that include NWS receiving the national audio message and broadcasting it over the NWR network. During the national EAS test, NWS will demonstrate the interfaces for receiving and capturing EAN live-code and audio messages.

NWR Improvement Project Phase II will be installed in the NWS Telecommunications Operations Center and at NWS offices nationwide through 2012. After those improvements are complete, NWS will install updates which include capability to broadcast the EAN live code and audio over all NWR stations nationwide as provided by FEMA.

I apologize for delay in responding. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Respectfully,

Herb White
Dissemination Services Manager
NOAA National Weather Service 
 
  No News Is . . .?

August 2011 – there is no action to report regarding an FCC response following their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Information Radio (TIS) Service. AAIRO will keep you in the loop when a ruling is received. Note that it is not too late for your congressman to write the FCC about the issue. See links (right) to a letter written by New Jersey Representative Albio Sires and the FCC's response. 
... Sires Letter to FCC


... FCC Response 
  See What Others Are Saying to the FCC

August 2011 – As we await the FCC's action regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, various licensees have responded to statements made by parties in the docket. See illustrative letters (linked right) from AAIRO members who have taken issue with the assertion that licensees are not prepared to deal with emergencies.
... Fort Bend Letter


... Ford Airport Letter
  Share by Example

August 2011 – AAIRO.org has expanded to include a spot for case studies from members. Share your story to help other operators see how you use your Information Radio Station. Email your submission to the webmaster for assistance in posting to AAIRO.org. Be sure to include a photo or two if possible. See the submissions to date (right) from North Plainfield Borough and Los Alamos County.
... Case Studies
  Reinstating the AAIRO Member List Online
So you can see who else belongs to AAIRO, we have reinstated our online member list. It includes only agency and individual names and the states you reside in. Please let us know if you'd like to reach any of the members directly (email on the footer of each AAIRO webpage). We will be glad to help.  
... AAIRO Members
  Change to New 'CAP' Protocols Will Not Affect NOAA Receiver Function

March 2011 – It's been in the news recently that the FCC will soon mandate a change for EAS (Emergency Alert System) receivers, which standard radio and TV stations use to receive hazard alerts from the government. Because the NOAA National Weather Radio is part of that EAS network, AAIRO operators might wonder if and how NOAA Weather Radio Receivers will work after the changeover. The answer: quite well. New CAP regulations mandate backward-compliance with all devices functioning currently within the EAS network – including NOAA Weather Radio Receivers and Specific Area Message Encoding circuitry. When NOAA receives an alert from the government, it will be converted into a format currently sent to receivers. And, of course, watches and warnings NOAA sends will be in the same (current) format. As a result, there is nothing operators need do to bring systems up to compliance.  
 
RadioWorld Reports on Efforts to Update TIS Rules

March 2011 – In a lengthy, illustrated article entitled "FCC Eyes Expanding Role of TIS," RadioWorld offers an overview of all the FCC is considering for Part 90 rules changes. See the article in its entirety (linked left). 
... RW article
  Michigan Congressman Writes FCC Chairman

March 2011 – Congress is the Government's primary check-and-balance on the Federal Communications Commission, so it's meaningful whenever Congress people get involved in FCC matters. Linked right, Michigan Representative Bill Huizenga expresses concern regarding TIS rules now being decided, a good example to share with your Congress person(s). 
... Huizenga letter
  FCC Progress on TIS Rules

February 2011 – AAIRO's attorneys recently filed a response to the FCC's newest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket 09-19), regarding the Travelers Information Service. The purpose of the effort is to at long last clarify and update FCC Part 90.242 Rules that govern the service, as well as to reconcile the originating Report and Order with the rules and to clear up inconsistencies within both. This is the first time the 1977 rules have been updated.  
... FCC Call for Comment


...  Aurora letter


... Auburn letter
  AAIRO Board Re-Elected

January 2011 -- Our December email to voting members achieved the needed quorum re-elect AAIRO's founding Board of Directors. Thanks to all who voted.
... Board Members
  AAIRO Welcomes TIS Pioneer

August 2010 – Dick Burden, one of the founding fathers of TIS, recently joined AAIRO to further serve his field. A Society of Broadcast Engineers "Fellow" and Life-Time Achievement Award recipient, Burden's professional experiences and affiliations cover the gamut – from Armed Forces and LAX Airport Radio to serving many field-related organizations. Dick has been honored by the Audio Engineering Society as one of only 25 engineers internationally, who during a 50-year period made significant contributions to the art and science of audio. AAIRO is pleased to welcome Dick Burden as a member, ally, advocate and educator. For knowledge shared multiplies. 
... Article
  The FCC Moves on Petitions

August 2010 – News from the halls of the FCC regarding content petitions: An internal source tell AAIRO that the FCC is circulating a NOPR (notice of proposed rulemaking) among the commissioners regarding new content guidelines for information radio stations (TIS) as well as a separate order regarding the same. The latter may be a direct result of AAIRO's petition and should be expected soon. Watch your email and this website for the latest.
Members' Names Removed from AAIRO Website
January 2010 – To preserve confidentiality, members' names and affiliations have been removed from AAIRO's website. Please contact the system administrator (right), if you wish to reach AAIRO members or if your member info should be updated. 
 
  Members Re-Elect AAIRO's Board of Directors

December 2009 – In a virtual (online) election held via email a quorum was reach, and AAIRO members re-elected the founding board of directors for another term.
Momentum Builds for FCC Action on AAIRO's Petition
November 2009 – The FCC has not yet acted on AAIRO's petition. Linked (right) is a recent example to use with your own Congress persons to motivate them to write the FCC about AAIRO's petition. Senator Tom Harkin is a heavy hitter. This type of Congressional pressure could help move the FCC forward.  
... AAIRO Directors
  Momentum Builds for FCC Action on AAIRO's Petition

November 2009 – The FCC has not yet acted on AAIRO's petition. Linked (right) is a recent example to use with your own Congress persons to motivate them to write the FCC about AAIRO's petition. Senator Tom Harkin is a heavy hitter. This type of Congressional pressure could help move the FCC forward.
... Senator's Letter
  Information Radio Stations May Broadcast H1N1 Instructions

October 2009 – President Obama on October 23 declared a national emergency due to the H1N1 virus. This is a reminder that FCC Rules Part 90.405 allow any station licensed under part 90 (TIS Information Radio Stations are licensed under FCC Part 90.242) to broadcast information intended to protect life and property when danger is imminent. See the rule section and reference below.

***************************

"PART 90 PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES
Subpart N Operating Requirements
Sec. 90.405 Permissible Communications

"(a) Stations licensed under this part may transmit only the following types of communication:

"(1) ANY COMMUNICATION RELATED DIRECTLY TO THE IMMINENT SAFETY OF LIFE OR PROPERTY;
"(2) Communications directly related and necessary to those activities which make the licensee eligible for the station license held under this part. In addition, when communication service is provided under the cooperative sharing provisions of Sec. 90.179, the licensee providing such service may transmit communications related to the
activities for which the parties receiving the service would be eligible to be licensed.
"(3) Communications for testing purposes required for proper station and system maintenance. However, each licensee shall keep such tests to a minimum and shall employ every measure to avoid harmful interference.

"(b) The provisions contained in paragraph (a) of this section do not apply where a single base station licensee has been authorized to use a channel above 470 MHz on an exclusive basis, or to stations licensed under this part that are classified as CMRS providers under part 20 of this chapter."

[50 FR 6182, Feb. 14, 1985, as amended at 59 FR 59965, Nov. 21, 1994] 
... White House Release
  AAIRO Members Can Share Information

September 2009 – Value added to AAIRO membership could include sharing background about existing information radio stations. Has anything been published about your station? Is there a good description of how your station came to be and is now managed? If so, please share it by submitting an electronic copy via the email link (right) for archiving at AAIRO's website. 
... Email AAIRO
  Free Message-Recording Services Accessible to AAIRO Members

September 2009 – AAIRO members can now obtain free professional message recording services, long term, for general "nonevent-related" broadcasts. Whether you are already an AAIRO member or just joining, check to see if your radio station vendor is participating in the deal. 
 
  Congressman and AAIRO Members Help Push AAIRO's Petition Along

July 2009 – Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan and Lieutenant Paul Haggerty of the Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Fire Department this month sent letters to the FCC requesting a ruling on AAIRO's petition. Hoekstra's office mentioned being baffled at the uncontroversial nature of AAIRO's petition and why there has been no ruling to date. So are we. You can help. Read their letters (right) as examples of one you could send to represent your agency. Mail the letter to Bruce Liang Gottlieb, Chief Counsel and Senior Legal Advisor, FCC, Office of the Chairman, 445 12th Street SW Rm 8-B201, Washington, DC 20554 with the subject line: "AAIRO Petition for Ruling PS Docket 09-19." And please send a copy of your letter electronically to AAIRO so we can file it electronically in the FCC docket as well. Another idea from AAIRO Director Mike Williams is to download the letters (right) and pass them along to your local Congress people and community leaders for their follow up. 
... Congressman's Letter


... Lyndhurst NJ Letter


... Other Filings


(key 09-19 under "Proceeding")
  Flashing Sign Control Is "Called on the Carpet"

July 2009 – Recently one of the larger Departments of Transportation in the US was advised by the FCC that broadcasting tones in their Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) messages to turn flashing signs on or off is not legal per FCC Part 90.242(a)(7) Rules, which state "HAR messages shall be voice-only." Alternative means of turning HAR signs on and off are via paging (flex or POCSAG), UHF/VHF two-way radio and low-band VHF radio.  
 
  New FCC Chairman Appoints Military Man to Head Public Safety Bureau

July 2009 – Chairman Genachowski selects retired Navy admiral Jamie Barnett to lead the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. "I am delighted that Admiral Barnett, with his broad and deep experience with public safety issues and familiarity with the concerns of state and local governments, will be joining the agency," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. This could bode well for getting AAIRO's petition approved; because the Navy uses TIS radios (licensed via NTIA) at many locations in the US, i.e., Oregon Coast, Great Lakes Base near Chicago, Indian Point Naval Surface Warfare Base near Washington DC. AAIRO attorneys will be in touch with Barnett. 
... Email Request for Flash-Controller Ideas
  Ventura County, California, Limits H1N1 Contagion with TIS and Signs during Specimen Collection

June 2009 – County health official Steve Johnston uses portable advisory radio and temporary roll-out signs to broadcast instructions to motorists entering the health department's parking lot for specimen collections prescribed by local doctors. Johnston herein recounts the County's innovative use of TIS: “We got a chance to deploy our portable advisory station during the swine flu event. The first couple of days, we had received requests from physicians to test patients for the swine flu. We were concerned about bringing them [inflected people] into our building to collect specimens. With a concern for social distancing and to keep potential cases from infecting others, we decided to have citizens drive into our parking lot. Specimens were taken from them, while they were in their cars. To facilitate the process, our portable AM radio station [in a case and carrying bags] was deployed along with the information signs. When patients drove into our lot, they were instructed to tune their radios to 850 AM. They received all the information on the process and how they were to interact with our [public health] staff. This eliminated personnel from talking to each driver and exposing him/herself to a potential swine flu virus.” In November, the County plans to use RadioSTAT for drive-through clinics and bilingual applications.  
... Email Johnston
  AAIRO Rebuts NPR Comments

June 2009 – AAIRO submits to the FCC a reply to comments National Public Radio (NPR) filed on AASHTO's petition (below). AAIRO board members want to allay misunderstanding and emphasize the need for expedient FCC resolution in the form of simple clarification that TIS operators may broadcast emergency messages, such as, AMBER Alerts. Additional rule-making, they remarked, is unnecessary, based on original TIS tenets in Part 90 Rules, and would likely slow FCC response time.  
... Rebuttal
  Communications Daily Refers to Rules Requests before the FCC

May 2009 – The Daily, a national newsletter, publishes an overview of TIS Rule changes/clarifications requested by several professional agencies for emergency broadcasts. AAIRO appears in a positive light, and the need for a hasty FCC response is mentioned – good news if FCC personnel regularly read the pub, as believed.
... Article
  AAIRO Comments on AASHTO Petition

April 2009:  FCC issues a public notice soliciting comments on a petition from the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. Essentially, AASHTO's petition requests the FCC to change Part 90 TIS Rules to specify that Travelers Information Stations may broadcast AMBER alerts, along with a request, too, for broadcasting the availability of 511 telephone services. (In response, AAIRO's Board of Directors submitted a formal recommendation that "clarification" of about AMBER alerts is preferable to a (slower) "rule-change" procedure. The Board reminded the FCC that AMBER alerts were mentioned in AAIRO's own petition for clarification submitted last Fall. The Board implored the FCC to respond to that petition, because community-based operators across the country still are waiting.)
... Public Notice


... AASHTO Petition


... AAIRO Comments
  KZSB Santa Barbara, California, Interviews AAIRO President Bill Baker about the Evolution of 'Community Alert' Radio

March 2009 – Hear an educational history (right) aired by KZSB Santa Barbara early in 2009 about Travelers Information Stations, with technical background and examples of how these specific-area radio stations are used today for emergency advisories. 
... Broadcast Audio
  FCC Issues Public Notice on AAIRO Petition

March 2009 – FCC publishes a Public Notice for public comment on AAIRO's petition. (The initial comment period ended March 16; and the reply/rebuttal period ended March 30, 2009.) Essentially, AAIRO's Petition asks the FCC to clarify Travelers Information Radio Stations Part 90 Rules to specify public safety use by officials licensed to operate the stations. 
... AAIRO Petition
  FCC Grant Acknowledges Emergency Use of TIS

November 2008 – FCC grants Hudson County, New Jersey, a waiver to broadcast on 1710 AM due to the importance of the station. The grant states, "We find persuasive Hudson's argument that granting its requested waiver relief would serve the public interest by promoting important public safety objectives." It's good to know the FCC acknowledges the value of Travelers Information Stations for emergency communication. (Hudson County requested permission to use 1710 AM due to interference [from commercial stations nearby] on regular TIS channels. Though a waiver is needed for anyone to operate on 1710 AM, the grant's language implies the emergency value of all TISs.) 
 
  AAIRO Submits to FCC a Petition for Ruling

September 2008 – AAIRO submits to the FCC a "Petition for Ruling" of Part 90 TIS Rules, requesting clarification that relates to preventive emergency broadcasts. 
... AAIRO Petition
  Communities and IAEM Support AAIRO Petition

September 2008 – Lynhurst, New Jersey, and Clearfield, Utah, (among other communities) write letters of support for AAIRO's petition (described above). Also, IAEM endorses AAIRO's petition, adding roughly 4,000 voices to the request to clarify the public safety role TIS stations play every day in communities across the United States. 
... NJ Letter


... ut letter


... IAEM  Letter
  APCO Supports AAIRO Petition

August 2008 – Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) submits a letter of support to the FCC for AAIRO's petition. APCO has more than 15,000 members. IAEM Tells Emergency Managers about AAIRO

July 2008 – "IAEM Bulletin" introduces AAIRO to the International Association of Emergency Managers' membership. Their "The Power of 10 Watts to Protect Millions" article is linked by permission (right).   
... APCO Support Letter 
  IAEM Tells Emergency Managers about AAIRO

July 2008 – "IAEM Bulletin" introduces AAIRO to the International Association of Emergency Managers' membership. Their "The Power of 10 Watts to Protect Millions" article is linked by permission (right). 
... more