February 2022 Emergency Management Issue  
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 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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PRODUCT REVIEW
 
Untrue: “The only decent radio receivers are in cars.”
At long last, a reliable AM/FM/Weather Radio receiver is being manufactured that’s sensitive enough to pick up lots of stations while also being sensitive to the budget. It can operate in a home environment or on-the-go with batteries. The Midland Radio ER10VP can not only pick up the AM and FM bands but all seven of the National Weather Radio channels too. It can be set to alarm when NOAA warnings are issued. Unlike earlier entries that could only tune the most powerful local stations, this receiver has the sensitivity to pick up even 10-watt Information Radio Stations for many miles, making it a tool that safety officials can confidently encourage citizens to keep with them. A company spokesman tells The Source that tests show that AM radio signals softer than 0.5 mV/m can be received by the ER10VP, which puts it in a league with an automobile radio receiver in its sensitivity level. The unit’s market price is less than $20.

Information Station Specialists – which typically provides radio stations that agencies use to broadcast in emergencies – will be stocking the ER10VP receivers for communities who want to make them available to citizens or employees, and is offering a 20% discount ($15.95 each) for boxes of 6 or more. They can be customized with the frequency of your local Information Radio Station with the application of frequency stickers the company can provide. Email the company for a quote.
Weather Fatalities
Doubled in 2021
More Extreme Events Endanger Millions
Last year, the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia logged 688 deaths from weather-related causes, topping any other year on record in the last ten and more than doubling the 2020 total of 262. Twenty different events contributed, including four hurricanes, a cold wave, two floods, wildfires in the west, droughts, heat waves and three major tornados. The National Weather Service stated in a recent report that 2021 was “marked by extremes across the US.” A spokesperson for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists labeled the statistics “Sobering.”

NOAA’s report noted that 2021 was the fourth warmest year ever recorded in the 127 years of climate records for the region, and December’s mark of 6.7F above average set an all-time warmth record for that month.

Meanwhile, the State of Alaska saw a drop in its average annual temperature. 2021 was Alaska's coldest year since 2011.
Nor’easter Knocks
Out Power and Cellular
Communities with Info Radio Stations
and StreamCASTs Rise to the Occasion
Snow makes travel treacherous at Town of Barnstable, MA.
The Groundhog has cast a distinctly wintery shadow from New Mexico to Maine in the past week, sidelining power and communications to millions while endangering already fragile supply lines of food and other necessities. The sequential storms, known by various cable-TV handles, have been roundly labeled by local government safety officials as “Trouble.”
“It would have been our only source of information.”
Ross Lloyd, Barnstable MA
Community-based Information Radio Stations and streaming services took center stage as storms approached. Once power and cell became compromised, they became the stage.
Wind storms damage property at the Town of Barnstable, MA
North Plainfield, NJ, escaped the heaviest of the recent snow, but paid for it with a slick coating of ice to snarl the Friday commute on February 4th. Residents who lost power were able to stay informed by listening to their Information Station on 1630 AM or by monitoring the parallel SteamCAST service on the Borough’s website. North Plainfield’s information stream scores more than 14,000 clicks for access each month – an average of one every four minutes.

The Town of Barnstable on Cape Cod was directly in the path of the heaviest snow, measuring more than 14 inches since January 27th. Police Department Telecom Supervisor Ross Lloyd was just issued a license for a “RadioSAFE” Emergency Information Radio Station in January and was awaiting delivery and installation as he watched the emergency unfold. “This past storm it would have been helpful’” he told The Source. “And the previous storm we had on October 27th, it would have been even more useful, as we had cellular outages as well as power. For many it would have been their only source of information.” [The above photos were provided by Lloyd.]

Across the harbor from Boston, the Town of Hull, MA, received more than two feet of snow, with higher drifts and white-outs that prevented Public Safety workers from being able to reach citizens – by any way except the Town’s Information Station on 1680 AM.

Emails to
The Source
"I have not tired of reading of current successes."
Frank Weed, National Park Service (Ret.)
"It’s fun to read articles about how the Travelers Information Service, which I saw begun at Yellowstone National Park, has survived, changed and matured since the 1970’s. I had the privilege of serving the nation as the National Park Service’s radio engineer. I was approached to support a fixed-location radio information service -- as opposed to a NPS pickup truck with an interpreter on-board announcing what people were in the process of seeing."
 
Our first national park was the site of our first Information Radio Station (TIS).
"I fully supported that request and am thrilled to see it so widely diversified. I am long ago retired, but I have not tired of reading of current successes with the wide deployment of TIS radio installations."
Frank Weed
National Park Service
Former Senior Radio Facilities Manager
Weeks at Yellowstone
On the Road:  Frank & Elizabeth Weed
History buffs will appreciate this story about the roots of TIS.
What Call Letters Can Say about Your Station's Age
How long has your Information Radio Station been in operation? Generally it’s not polite to ask about age, but you can use this yardstick to estimate the original authorization date of your station, if you are a local government agency*. As with people, you can often get a good idea just by looking, so take a quick glance at the letters at the beginning of your station’s license callsign. You may be surprised at its longevity!
Letters On the Air Example TIS Stations
3 letters beginning with . . . 
K or W 1977-81 WXK 7790 Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, AZ (1978 est)
4 letters beginning with . . . 
KN 1981-85 KNEZ 390 Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle (1983)
WN 1985-92 WNHC 787 Michigan Department of Transportation, Mackinac Bridge (1987)
WP 1992-2003 WPZK 221 Fort Lauderdale, FL (2003)
WQ 2004-2017 WQFW 855 Fort Bend County, TX (2006)
WR 2017-Now WRKV 621 State of Tennessee Department of Health (2021)
(*) Stations operated by federal agencies do not follow the above pattern; and military stations do not assign callsigns at all. So if you are a federal-level operator, a deeper dive will be required to know how long you’ve been around.
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PO Box 51, Zeeland, Michigan, USA, 49464-0051, Phone 616.772.2300, Fax 616.772.2966, Email

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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.