May 2014 Issue  
 Publisher:  Information Station Specialists
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FCC Logo Magnified
FCC Issues First TIS "Compliance Guide"
After 37 Years, Some Clarity on What You May Say on TIS
WASHINGTON, DC:  On May 13, 2014, the Commission issued the first official Compliance Guide intended to summarize the recent Report and Order that clarifies what you may broadcast on a Travelers' Information Station. The American Association of Information Radio Operators (AAIRO) recommends that every station licensee retain a copy of the Guide for reference in the operation of their station.

The 2013 Report and Order and the recently released Guide are substantially a result of efforts by AAIRO to obtain clarification on the kinds of safety and emergency content that is allowed on the stations. The FCC documents make it clear that noncommercial messages on the stations must relate to travel, emergencies or situations that present an imminent danger to the public. The FCC affords local public safety officials who operate the stations discretion in determining how various messages qualify according to the standards.

Information Station Specialists has updated its Permitted Content page, intended to aid station operators in understanding the clarified content standards. Information Station Specialists introduced the “TIDE” acronym (Travel, Imminent Danger & Emergencies) to assist the clarification effort.
Quote from "Pirates of the Caribbean"
"...more of what you call a guideline than actual rules."
. . . from Pirates of the Caribbean
Though the Guide is, as they say, “more of a guideline.” The FCC is careful to point out that the document does not take precedence over the TIS Rules themselves, and that it may “adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis that may differ from the Guide, as appropriate.” The Commission might decide to use the Guide as a way to implement rule clarifications in the future without the necessity of going through the full Rulemaking process, reserving the right to “revise the Guide without public notice.”
San Marcos Gets 'Em "Outta Harm's Way"
City Uses RadioSTAT Portable Radio Station to Inform Motorists in Wildfire Evacuation
Cocos Fire
SAN MARCOS, CA: The Cocos Fire that broke out May 14th forced thousands to evacuate and destroyed 36 homes in this community south of Los Angeles. Aiding in the evacuation – San Marcos’ RadioSTAT Portable Emergency Broadcast Station. Battalion Chief Scott Hansen states, “The City of San Marcos utilized the station to keep our residents and visitors updated on critical fire information, including evacuation and shelter information. During this time, 10 different messages were quickly and easily uploaded …and broadcast to the community. It worked great.”
North Tahoe Radio<em>STAT</em> Training
RadioSTAT Training Session at North
Tahoe Fire Protection District in California 
RadioSTAT systems can broadcast recorded messages or even live ones in active fire situations where conditions can change suddenly. Local residents were able to listen to instructions over the 1610 kHz radio signal, as they lined up to evacuate – a process that made a 15-minute drive take up to 3 hours.

The Cocos Fire caused an estimated $2 million in damage – a figure still considered preliminary.   
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NOAA map
"Weather Radio" Station Aptly Named
Hot & Cold Performance Similar to the Very Weather  NYC Station Forecasts 
NEW YORK, NY:  The Source recently reported the mysterious interruption of service at New York City’s NOAA Weather Radio Station at 162.55 MHz VHF.

KWO35 went off the air abruptly and without explanation last summer, leaving citizens, mariners and aviators – as well as dozens of area Information Radio Stations – without a source of daily weather info and 'All Hazard' warnings. The interruption lasted throughout the fall and winter – a winter during which the station’s services would arguably have been most needed.

Hopes were raised when the weather station reappeared at full strength the last week of March … only to again disappear in May. This time KWO35 went dark just as a thunderstorm watch was being issued.

After the most recent failure, the National Weather Service did make arrangements for New York City and Northern New Jersey weather warnings to be sent over NWS stations located in Howell and Sussex Counties and the station at Mount Holly, New Jersey – stations the public cannot receive in much of New York City and Northern New Jersey.

In an email dated May 22, NWS Meteorologist Gary Conte tells one New Jersey community, “ We do sincerely apologize. We do not have a definitive time for repair at this time.”
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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.