March 2014 Issue  
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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2014 Preparedness Summit to feature On-Air Radio in POD Demo
RadioSTAT Tapped to Provide Real-World Radio Broadcast Instructions to Preparedness Summit Participants
ATLANTA, GA: Let’s pretend you are in your car. That is how it all begins at the "POD demonstration," part of NACCHO's* annual Preparedness Summit that begins next week. As you proceed on foot into the mocked-up Point of Dispensing (POD) area, Information Station Specialists is providing the real-world signs and the on-air radio signal to orient you while demonstrating the usefulness of the information radio technology.

It’s the brainchild of Andy Roszak, NACCHO’s Senior Director of Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness and Catastrophic Response. The demo POD will simulate screening, registration, secondary evaluation and dispensing functions – all to help public health officials better understand what the public experiences driving through a real POD on wheels. They will see how radio-delivered information is helpful, so participants are “on the same page” when they arrive at the front of the line. And, perhaps the real genius of the design: participants receive their lunch as the final step.

Roszak tells The Source, “We will be handing out the boxed lunches as part of the POD demo, so in essence, we are distributing lunches in place of medication. This exercise will help folks test and refine their existing POD plans.”

Information Station Specialists will broadcast the instructions to participants using a RadioSTAT Portable Emergency Radio Station located in the adjacent exhibit hall, in conjunction with FASTrack Portable Signs. Many of the messages are recorded by officials of various departments of public health in the USA, drawn from texts in use at PODs where information radio is employed. Messages are broadcast in both English and Spanish.

NACCHO’s Preparedness Summit is the largest public health preparedness conference in the United States. Each year, approximately 2,000 preparedness professionals attend this multi-disciplinary event. To learn more about the Preparedness Summit, visit

(*) NACCHO – National Association of County & City Health Officials
Way More Watts Wanted
County Cites High Noise Levels and
Special Location in 100-Watt Request
SECAUCUS, NJ: Hudson County New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management recently petitioned the FCC for a waiver to operate their information station at 100 watts instead of the FCC-maximum 10 watts with the standard field limitations. The FCC turned the application down in February, stating that the County had failed to make its case. Now, the County is back, appealing the denial.
Hudson County Map
Satellite image showing the core of the New York metropolitan area. Over 10 million people live in the imaged area. Much of Hudson County is located on peninsula on left. 
Hudson County is a densely populated area of many languages, bounded by bridges and interspersed with some of the most dangerous manufacturing to be found anywhere in the USA. They also serve as a point of evacuation for Manhattan, directly across the Hudson River to the east. Hurricane Sandy caused major flooding in the low-lying western parts of the County.

Hudson installed a High Efficiency Antenna capable of higher wattage in anticipation of their waiver application. But the Commission noted in its dismissal that the increased signal could interfere with a new 1700 kHz AM broadcast station proposed for nearby Rockland County, New York.

In its Petition for Reconsideration, the County is making the case that though a 100-watt signal would technically overlap with the new 1700 station’s pattern, any resulting interference would be buried amidst the high ambient noise levels present in their dense urban environment. The effort is aided by letters of support from New Jersey Congressmen Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne and others.

See "New Commercial Radio Station to Crowd AM 1700 near New York City," November 2013, The Source.
Bill Tell, Idyllwild Information Radio Station
Bill Tell invites The Source on a tour of WNKI578’s mountain-top studio/transmitter site.
“WNKI” Eyes Expansion
IDYLLWILD, CA: One of America’s longest operating information radio stations is considering upgrades that will bring its equipment up to current and could push its coverage to the wild blue yonder. WNKI578 is licensed to the Idyllwild, California, Fire Protection District and operates in coordination with the Riverside County Office of Emergency Management and the local Fire Safe Council.
Idyllwild Map
Located in southern California, Idyllwild is within 100 miles of Los Angeles.
Already situated at 5,000 feet above sea level, WNK578’s present antenna has the advantage of significant elevation to push its 1610 kHz signal to motorists in Riverside County concerned with ever-present wildfire and earthquake hazards. The same high profile location might help them transmit their programming via Wireless Audio Link technology to nearby communities who wish to clone the service in their areas. Other proposed changes will take the station’s program control into a network/IP based format to increase program quality and flexibility.
Idyllwild Time
The WNKI Time
According to Bill Tell, station administrator, “During normal conditions, WNKI will broadcast general road conditions and pending weather updates, evacuation and re-entry information, and other information vital to the welfare of citizens of the Community. During times of emergency, WNKI, shall broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with updates as to the emergency at hand.”

For 26 years, WNKI has provided emergency broadcast communications for several forest fires, including the 1996 Bee Canyon fire, as well as two large-scale communitywide evacuations. Bill Tell attests, “The station has become an invaluable resource; and the various agencies that serve the local community recognize the importance of the station.”

Read more about Idyllwild's station . . .

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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.