August 2023 Issue  
Newsletter Index
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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 Harrison Ford Voices Safety Broadcasts at Jackson Hole

JACKSON, WY: Who knows how things can go wrong better than Indiana Jones? So, it was natural that Friends of Bridger Teton National Forest would ask actor Harrison Ford, who has property in the region, to record fire safety messages to broadcast on their three Information Radio Stations just installed in the Jackson Hole area.

Jackson radio station KHOL tells the story best, offering actual sound bites from Ford’s recordings to enjoy. Click this link to hear the radio story from local station KHOL and snips of the broadcast.

Bridger-Teton Forest sign
Photo Courtesy of Journalist Hanna Merzbach & KHOL Radio

Scott Kosiba, Executive Director of Friends of Bridger-Teton National Forest told The Source, "We are thrilled to deploy Information Stations to better communicate messages related to wildfire risk and other critical responsible recreation information to the public. As the nonprofit partner to one of the largest National Forests in the US, these stations provide an invaluable tool to keep our forest users safe.”

A life-long proponent of outdoor safety and conservation, Harrison Ford graciously agreed to voice the broadcast messages, themed “Know before You Go.”

Indy usually did.

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Solar Eclipse Traffic
Shutterstock Photo
Will 2024 Solar Event Eclipse Safety Resources?
Public safety officials in a narrow lane spanning from Texas to Maine are bracing for the crush of visitors expected during next April’s total solar eclipse. Lodging is "totally" gone. That means travelers will be everywhere, living in everything, all to experience mere minutes under the ethereal lunar shadow.

Some agencies, such as Morgan County Indiana’s Department of Emergency Management, are planning to advise visitors via car radio. Director of Public Safety Dispatch Scott Hamilton says they "plan on using their RadioSAFE system to broadcast pertinent local information, such as designated public viewing areas, traffic conditions and alternate travel routes in the event of road closures." The County is applying to make their 1700 AM radio service permanent and is seeking a waiver for enhanced range.

Other agencies in the corridor are renting radio systems and erecting temporary signage.

The Source advises, “One cloudy day is all it takes to eclipse the best laid viewing plans. To save time and money, stay home and watch online, where special glasses are not required.”
Senate Commerce Committee Votes to Advance the Bipartisan "AM Radio for Every Vehicle" Act
Near unanimous support has propelled the bill to the Senate for action.
Update:  The Senate on July 27 moved the AM bill out of committee to set it up for a floor vote.

Check the status of the “AM Radio In Every Vehicle Act" at this link.

See also this letter to the editor in Radio World Magazine, published on June 20, 2023.
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Car Radio 
AM Radio Is Deemed "Absolutely Mandatory"
Virtually all are convinced of the band’s value to America … except automakers.
WASHINGTON, DC:  The 70's soul group implored, “Don’t let money change you.” But Detroit, of all places, was not listening. It was Ford’s proposal to remove all AM radios from their vehicles in April that ignited a grassroots push-back with so much torque that it had the company shifting to “reverse” by May.

First they said the reason for the change was because Electric Vehicle (EV) radio reception has unavoidable interference. When that was proven untrue, they suggested that no one listens to AM anymore. But Ford buyers told the company otherwise. Finally, they asserted that AM receivers aren’t needed in gas-powered vehicles either. America saw through that one. The move was really about lowering costs at the expense of driver safety  ̶  not a good look for an automaker.

Opponents entered the ring from every direction: local and state emergency and health managers, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), state broadcast associations, a rare bipartisan consortium of congresspeople and even a FCC commissioner weighed in. America had invested heavily in the AM infrastructure for national emergencies – and had even hardened it against attacks. When Americans saw AM on the ropes, it was time to call the fight unfair.

Sensing zero opposition, Congress stepped in with the “AM Radio In Every Vehicle Act,” which you can personally support by signing the NAB’s petition that directs your voice to your elected leaders. (Visit 'Act Now' to add your name to list of those who support the legislation, which requires carmakers to continue to provide AM receivers in all vehicles at no additional charge, until a better means of emergency notification is found.)

South Dakota’s attorney general Marty Jackley pushed Congress for approval in a recent interview. He noted the low demand for electric vehicles and the high interest in AM radio as a carrier of public health and safety messages, severe weather warnings and emergency information. Chris Winkle, president of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association has pointed out that AM service is critical because it reaches 90% of the US population during a national emergency, noting its resiliency  ̶  that it's not based on internet or cellular delivery methods. (It is widely held that cellular and internet services are not likely to be functional in a large-scale disaster; and even if they were, their utility would be limited since in most states, hand-held portable devices are not allowed to be used by drivers while operating vehicles.)

The Source
will keep you updated.
new products
Sign of Things to Come
Safety Agencies to Benefit from Improved Portable LED Signage
LIGHTNING sign clinic open
The popular LIGHTNING” Portable LED Message Sign product has been available from Information Station Specialists since 2015, but technical advances have come to “light” recently that have made it more convenient, effective and affordable. These changeable message signs – typically mounted on portable stands – are used to notify drivers approaching a variety of scenes, from temporary health clinics to road closures to emergency event perimeters.

Lighter: The sign's LED display now weighs less than 1/3 of its original weight – now 13 lbs – lowering its center of gravity and making it a much easier one-person setup.

Brighter: The LED intensity is up, so messages are even easier to view in intense sunlight. They also now may be displayed in multiple colors.

Smartphone Programmable: A free app allows messages to be transferred via WIFI using the user’s smartphone or with the standard USB / stick method.

Costs Down: There is now a permanent 20% reduction in price for the sign and all options in addition to another 20% discount available to buyers with public safety applications.

Recent adopters include departments of public health in Hendricks County, Indiana and Frederick County, Maryland.
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"I'd like a VoiceStar System
... but hold the sign, please."
The VoiceStar T100 Portable Radio Station
Photo by Camden County Emergency Management Agency
KINGSLAND, GA: The VoiceStar System – a towable trailer with radio station and changeable message sign – is now joined by a streamlined "sign-free' version, i.e., portable radio station only.

Camden County, a coastal county in Georgia just north of Jacksonville, Florida, can experience direct hits from hurricanes and must manage communications with motorists as they evacuate or reenter affected areas. So the County Emergency Management Agency recently added the new "VoiceStar T100" radio station to its safety arsenal.

Deputy Director Bill Carreira told The Source, “It is covering our whole [hurricane] evacuation Zone C and actually a lot more…about 5 miles in all directions.”
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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 progrA.M.ming by local, network or telco, multi-station audio distribution via RF or LAN / WAN or wireless network.