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Andersonville National Historic Site Increases Visitorship 14% with Information Radio Stations
Chief Interpreter and Resource Manager Fred Sanchez, in 2009, explains why three new Information Radio Stations were added to the Site.
Andersonville Cemetery 

The Andersonville National Historic Site is situated in Southwest Georgia on approximately 425 acres of rolling grass-covered hills, amidst natural oaks and pines and manicured lawns. The Park maintains one of only two existing national cemeteries still actively burying veterans. Soldiers from Civil War times to present Iraqi Freedom operations are interred there. Andersonville has the only museum commemorating American POW experiences across the centuries.  Shutterstock Photo

What overall problem or challenge were you trying to solve by getting Information Radio Stations?

FS: Visitation had dropped off at the Park over the years, from a high of 260,000 in 1998 when we opened POW Museum, to a low of 114,000. We needed to do something to promote the site.

What made you decide on MP3 Edition Information Stations?

FS: I used to be chief ranger at the Jimmy Carter Site in Plains, Georgia, at which time I first became familiar with the value of TISs [Travelers Information Stations]. Harper's Ferry and former National Park Service wireless program chief Frank Weed referred me to Information Station Specialists, who had supplied numerous stations to parks across the country.

How was your project funded?

FS: The project was funded through 'Friends of Andersonville' and the 'Andersonville Trust.'

How is your radio system set up and managed?

FS: We placed 2 stations on the Interstate to attract visitors and 1 in the Park itself to greet guests as they enter, i.e., 'Welcome. Here's what we have for you to see . . .' We write our own scripts and hire professional voice artists in a studio in Atlanta to record broadcasts. Then we download the recordings from the studio's FTP site onto our memory sticks (flash drives), which we plug into our station's transmitters. Playlists are usually 3 to 5 minutes long to catch motorists on the Interstate traveling at highway speeds. Our stations' antennas are strategically located near the highway; then billboards announcing the stations are located 2.5 to 3 miles from our transmission sites. With our stations, we purchased from Information Station Specialists recording software for creating our own messages to advertise special programs, as they come up, and to change messages ourselves, quickly, if needed in an emergency.

Andersonville Billboard
Billboards along I-75 in Georgia invite travelers to tune to 1640 AM. 
Photo courtesy National Park Service
Andersonville Map

Two strategically located Information Stations steer motorists to the site from busy I-75. Another near the park entrance welcomes and informs visitors of site specifics. 

What do you see as the overall result of your effort?

FS: One way we measure the success of the stations is to announce in our broadcasts, 'If you let museum staff know you heard this message, you will get a free gift at the museum store.' We have given away many bandanas. Visitation has increased approximately 14% since the billboards and radio stations were put in place.

What advice do you have for others who might be considering the purchase of such a communication system?

FS: The stations themselves are obviously very practical. It's just a matter of the appropriate solution for each individual application. As I said, they're a great marketing and welcoming tool for the Andersonville National Historic Site! Another idea might be to use Information Stations for driving tours to tell travelers about sites they are passing through.

What was your experience working with Information Station Specialists?

FS: Great. No problems. In our case, we did the heavy installing, and Information Station Specialists just came in and did the final setup and staff training. It was straightforward.

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