AAIRO 
A coalition of operators, licensees and interested others from public agencies who manage specific-area information radio stations that transmit service and safety information to citizens.
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  founding and administration
 
why aairo was created
The American Association of Information Radio Operators or AAIRO is an unincorporated nonprofit organization, conceived in 2008 after a coalition of public safety, transportation, university and outdoor recreation officials informally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the clarification of Travelers Information Station (TIS) Part 90 Rules. In the era of post-9/11, America's public safety officials sought to utilize Information Radio Station technology to further public safety in ways not previously envisioned by the original rule-writers in the mid-1970s.

Attorneys informally met with FCC representatives on behalf of the concerned station owners and subsequently recommended that operators and licensees supporting the petition could best be served by organizing into a formal, nonprofit corporation. Bylaws were enacted for this new, group, along with an edited "Petition for Ruling" that the group would formally present to the FCC.

As a result of this advice and because those leading the effort believed other benefits could be gained (as reflected in the above mission), AAIRO was born. A founding board of directors was created. A website was established. Operators and licensees from across the country (beginning with those who had signed the original petition) were invited to join the new association. Subsequently, the association was converted into an unincorporated nonprofit with an advisory board.

See "The Power of 10 Watts to Protect Millions," published by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), which offers an overview of how and why AAIRO was formed (written by AAIRO's founder Bill Baker, July 2008).
advisory board
Bill BakerBill Baker
In addition to founding AAIRO in 2008, Bill  founded Information Station Specialists, in operation since 1983. Information Station Specialists is the primary supplier of AM information radio equipment and services to federal, state and local government-sponsored entities across the United States. Bill's energies have helped advance information radio technology to better accommodate motorist-safety needs in a world of constantly increasing traffic and emergencies. He is a member of several trade organizations and is active in faith-based efforts.
Rich PhoenixRich Phoenix
For over 30 years, Rich served as a municipal clerk in the State of New Jersey. During that time (as media rep, licensed radio technician and LEPC member), he helped the North Plainfield Borough Emergency Management Department acquire and manage an information radio station. In the 1980s, Rich had managed Emmett Recording Enterprises and served as PR coordinator for Plainfield New Jersey Public Schools, utilizing his writing, photography and media relations expertise. He had also directed, presented, written, interviewed, produced and performed technical engineering duties for ABC Radio Networks WERA, WRAN, WCTC, WHWH, WJDM WKSU, WAKR and WSLR. Rich holds a BA from Kent State University and did post graduate studies at the University of Houston and at Rutgers , in addition to having more than 60 years' experience as a radio broadcaster, programmer and engineer. He speaks fluent Spanish, which is also useful in radio programming. 
Jeff BraunJeff Braun
As executive director of Brazoria County Emergency Services District 3 in Texas, Jeff's strategy is to collaborate, communicate and significantly enhance the District's fire suppression and emergency medical response services over the District's 650 square miles. He also consults. Earlier, when working for Fort Bend County, Jeff was named 2006 Emergency Manager of the Year by the Emergency Management Association of Texas (EMAT) for establishing a countywide PIO network, creating a countywide Debris Management Plan, installing an ALERT AM Advisory Radio System, deploying two regional Haz/Mat Response Teams and developing a state-of-the-art EOC. Jeff holds memberships in several professional organizations and was elected to the EMAT Board. He also served on the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee, the Regional Collaboration Committee of the Houston Urban Area Security Initiative Working Group and was appointed to the Texas Preparedness Advisory Committee by the State’s Chief of Emergency Management.   
Steve WhitcombSteve Whitcomb
Steve holds an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree in computer information systems from Grand Valley State University. He first learned the importance of good communication and emergency preparedness while serving on an aircraft carrier in the US Navy in the 1980s. Then, for a decade beginning in the 90s, he worked with Bill Baker and the team at Information Station Specialists. Since that time, Steve, as either an employee or consultant, has worked in information technology for firms of varying sizes in multiple sectors, with AI being his current focus. Steve is interested in amateur radio for both enjoyment and for emergency applications and has become an Extra Class license holder (WG5TX). Over the years, Steve has volunteered at non-commercial radio stations (including a stint as station manager) and with amateur radio clubs. He has also become active as an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America and is the proud father of two eagle scouts.  
Ron BurkeRon Burke
For over 30 years, Ron has worked in nearly all aspects of amateur radio -- with a special interest in emergency communications. As Hendricks County Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Emergency Coordinator KB9DJA, Ron established new working relationships among special teams of local amateur radio operators and County public safety/public service groups in the towns and hospitals within the County. He designed special training exercises for the HAMs, local government and hospital personnel to demonstrate how amateur radio could benefit the County during disasters. Using special grants, he acquired HAM radios that were placed inside County hospitals to be linked together with the County Health Department during disasters. In addition, Ron helped County Health acquire, set up and run a new RadioSTAT portable AM radio station during the COVID epidemic. Hendricks County now also boasts a RadioSAFE wide area radio system.  
Mike WilliamsMike Williams
After 12+ years in California law enforcement, Mike became a POST-certified field training officer and, for 10+ years, served as a lead instructor for the National Traffic Safety Institute. He was twice chair of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Society for Industrial Security. Since 1994, he has been a member of the California State Firefighters Association and served on volunteer and PR committees. Moreover, he was southern division deputy director for the Association. He is also founder/coordinator of the annual CSFA-sponsored HELOPS program. Locally, Mike serves on the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council, the Tri-Counties Training Officers Association, the Santa Barbara Chapter of CAER and PIO group EPIC. Mike is a well-known public speaker on the topic of security and emergency planning. He has long managed an information radio station with flashing signs used to inform travelers during California wildfire emergencies. Mike was also a governor appointee to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Office of the State Fire Marshal, State Board of Fire Services. Now he is executive director/president of the Wildland Residents Association/San Marcos Pass Volunteer Fire Department and president of Williams Security Systems.  
Linda FollandLinda Folland
Linda developed communication programs at Herman Miller, Inc., a world-renown industrial design leader based in Zeeland, Michigan. She also served as a Creative Services team leader at Amway headquarters in Ada, Michigan, implementing a digital photo archive for global internet sales. Linda now manages communication resources at Michigan-based Information Station Specialists, Inc, the primary supplier of Travelers Information Stations in the United States. Linda also serves as secretary / treasurer and webmaster for the American Association of Information Radio Operators.   
Jim ZossJim Zoss
As the former emergency program manager in Battle Creek, Michigan, Jim headed efforts to provide mitigation planning, preparedness, response, and recovery for emergencies and/or disasters within the City. Other responsibilities included managing a countywide communications and public warning infrastructure, severe weather identification, detection, and reporting program, search and rescue team activities, and deployment and coordination of the City's Mobile Command Center (HIPPO). Jim also managed 3 information radio stations that cover the river valley in which the City is situated as well as an 18-mile stretch of nearby Interstate 94. Jim now directs emergency efforts for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi in Michigan. 
 
     
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