March 2017  
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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Where do you park, when you reach the Park?
The Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park gives visitors critical parking directions by radio, as they approach the South Rim.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ: Traffic lines at the gates can be long, and parking lots often are full by noon at this premier international attraction. Arrive after 12 and you could have a "grand problem" – unless you heed the advisory signs and tune in the Park's 1610 kHz broadcast. Fail to, and you could become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

“Park and ride; we’ll be your guide,” the announcer states winsomely in a broadcast message that informs of a special shuttlebus that can whisk you around the congestion. The National Park Service started the free service back in 2009 to ease the crowding and keep the air cleaner, too. They added the radio service not long after.
Tusayan Aerial
Tusayan, Arizona, is perched on the Canyon's South Rim.
Visitors are encouraged to park their cars in the neighboring town of Tusayan, Arizona, and bus around the traffic line at the gate and right to the Park’s Visitor Center. All the details about where to park and when the buses run are on the radio, as visitors arrive.

Horse & Buggy
A Page Out of Time?
In Quakertown, PA, it's about keeping everyone on the same page.
QUAKERTOWN, PA: Building “community” is an effort that requires diligence in our fractious society. The Borough of Quakertown, northwest of Philadelphia, works at it 24 hours a day and now with the addition of an information radio service recently installed to benefit visitors and locals alike.

Borough Manager Scott McElree offers, “We wanted to add one more level of communication so as to better communicate with our residents and businesses. We have partnered with the Quakertown Community School District in our radio communication efforts; and, although we are new with this endeavor, we have had great feedback. We plan on providing community awareness information, event announcements, school district activities ... and emergency notifications if and when emergencies occur.”

Planning to visit Quakertown? Their new 1620 kHz service will be advertised on signs as you approach the area and will also be simulcast 24/7 on the Borough’s website.

Read about other communities that have provided information radio for locals and visitors:
"Just-in-Time" Visitor Information
Special events and venues rely on radio to relay info to visitors just as they arrive.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL: What did they say on their website? It’s hard to recall. What does it cost to park? Can I bring in my cooler? Will the weather affect the showtime? Many special events and special places are answering those last-minute questions on patrons’ car radios rather than on their smart phones.
Fair Logo Security Logo
The reasons are many:
  • The ideal time to get parking, directions, safety and schedule details to a visitor is when he or she actually needs the information – which is at the time of arrival.
  • Trying to use a smartphone while driving is inefficient, unsafe and illegal in many places.
  • Radio messages can be written to focus on the most important information that arriving patrons need, such as parking and directions, and can be repeated multiple times to help listeners retain the info.
  • Messages delivered by radio can save lives, if safety personnel need to clear the venue due to an emergency.
Changeable Message Sign
Changeable Message Signs invite inbound attendees to tune in.
The South Florida Fair near West Palm Beach experienced record crowds and traffic in 2017. Director of Safety and Security Randy Hoffer states, “The ability to communicate safety and schedule information, along with traffic directions, makes radio a perfect match for our venue.” The premier winter event draws more than 400,000 visitors annually and has utilized a rental radio system called EventCAST for the past two seasons. “We’re so happy with the results that we’ve purchased a permanent antenna system and a 10-year FCC license. Guiding our patrons to the proper parking areas throughout the day is vital. Nobody likes to wait in a line of cars. Our low power radio solution is central to our strategy on traffic control and flow patterns for our patrons.”

The 1690 kHz signal covers 5 miles in all directions – more than sufficient to talk to inbound patrons as they exit Florida’s Turnpike and I-95, both of which run just to the east of the Fairgrounds.
Race Car
Grand Prix Participant
This month, the San Diego County Fair at Del Mar, California, is “EventCasting” on frequency 1680 from the fairgrounds located just off Interstate 5. The service is informing patrons how to efficiently exit and park and about changes in event schedules. The Fair’s staff is prepared to record new messages to broadcast immediately if required in the event of traffic accidents or weather delays.

In April, the Grand Prix of Long Beach, California, revved up their annual road race. It will be the third year running in which the Grand Prix has utilized a similar radio broadcasting system for public information during the event. The city invested in RadioSTAT technology in 2015 to provide the coverage. “The system was an excellent investment,” states Communication Manager John Black. “The coverage is phenomenal and it’s absolutely unbelievable that a 10-watt signal can be heard nearly 6 miles away in an urban environment with many tall buildings.” The broadcast informs visitors and locals of the event schedule and the numerous detours that go into effect when city streets are repurposed as part of the race course.

The technology employed falls under the FCC’s “Travelers Information Service” (TIS) rules and is generally licensed to the community where the event takes place. Some venues continue to operate their systems in association with their host community for general visitor and local event information all year.
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Information Radio Stations is a generic term synonymous with Travelers Information Stations (TIS), Highway Advisory Radio Stations (HAR) / Highway Information Systems & Low Power Radio Stations (LPR). Operation of the stations is governed by FCC Part 90.242 Rules. A FCC license is required. Information Radio Stations may be fixed or portable. Subcomponents may include transmitter, antenna and ground system, digital voice player, wattmeter, cabinet with conventional or Corbin locks, lightning arrestors for RF, power and telephone lines, coaxial cable. Most stations employ black maximized antennas to discourage ice accumulation and security measures to prevent unauthorized program access. Options include synchronization, battery backup, solar power, remote programming by local, network or telco, multi-station audio distribution via RF or LAN / WAN or wireless network.