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FCC-Permitted Broadcast Content

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The Information Station



Below is a formula to help information radio station operators determine what content is appropriate to broadcast on their ALERT AM, Information Station, RadioSTAT, ITS.6000 or VoiceStar stations. The FCC has designated all these stations to be forms of Travelers' Information Stations. (For more detail regarding TIS parameters, please see the "TIS Background" section at the bottom of this page.)
What am I allowed to broadcast?
When planning broadcasts, it helps to remember the acronym TIDE; because, according to the FCC, broadcast content is permitted to relate to
ravel, Imminent Danger or Emergencies. Following are examples of each with FCC references. The FCC qualifies all examples below by stating that local public safety officials are charged with determining what content on their stations describes situations of imminent danger.
Travel Imminent Danger - (Mouse over here to see note.)
Operator Discretion
The Federal Communications Commission affords public safety officials “…discretion regarding the …service. Given their intimate knowledge of local conditions and considering the limited area of operation of TIS base stations, TIS licensees are in the best position to determine what constitutes an “imminent [threat to] safety-of-life or property, as well as when emergency conditions reach the level of a hurricane, flood, earthquake or similar disaster” (****)
Traffic and Road Conditions (*)

Traffic Hazards (*)

Travel Advisories (*)

Directions (*)

Availability of Lodging (*)

Rest Stops & Service Stations (*)

Descriptions of Local Points of Interest (*)

511 Information (*) (****)

Such as:

 → Road Closures and Construction (*)(****)

 → Parking (*)(****)
 → Current Driving Travel Times (*)(****)
 → Air Flight Status (*)(****)
 → Truck Weigh Stations (*)(****)
 → Driver Rest Areas (*)(****)
 → Location of Truck Services (*)(****)
 → Interpretation, Historic, Cultural Info (*)
 → Event Schedules and Live Events (*)
Content Directly Related to Safety of Life & Property (**)

Such as:

 → Weather Alerts (*)(****)

 → Difficult or Hazardous Conditions (****)
 → Vehicle Crashes (*)(****)
 → NOAA Weather Radio Rebroadcasts Relating to Potential
    or Existing Hazards (****)

Emergencies - (Mouse over here to see note.)
Operator Discretion
The Federal Communications Commission affords public safety officials “…discretion regarding the …service. Given their intimate knowledge of local conditions and considering the limited area of operation of TIS base stations, TIS licensees are in the best position to determine what constitutes an “imminent [threat to] safety-of-life or property, as well as when emergency conditions reach the level of a hurricane, flood, earthquake or similar disaster” (****)

During Emergency Periods in which Normal Communications Are Disrupted as a Result of Disasters (***)

Such as:

 → Emergency Points of Assembly (*)(****)
 → Evacuation Routes (*)(****)
 → Location of Shelters (*)(****)
 → Health Care (*)(****)
 → Emergency Facilities (*)(****)
 → NOAA Weather Radio Rebroadcasts Relating to Potential or Existing Hazards (****)
What am I REQUIRED to broadcast?
What content is NEVER allowed?
Your Station's 7-Character Call Sign, at Least Every 30 Minutes. (++)

Such as:

 → This WQUK589, your information radio station on AM

Related Links

For more info about call signs, see #13 on our FAQs webpage here linked.

Listen to sample broadcasts available from this link, our Recording Services webpage.
Music, Business Names or other Commercial Information.
What content IS ALLOWED when deemed important to public welfare by safety officials?
→ Routine Weather Forecasts (****)
→ General Safety and Emergency Preparedness Messages,
Health and Terrorist Information during Non-Emergency
Periods (****)
What exactly is a TIS station?     
We often refer to the Travelers' Information Stations in general terms as “information radio stations.” For specifically outfitted stations used in emergency applications, we use the phrase “emergency advisory radio.” For traffic applications and station setups, we apply the term “highway advisory radio." All these information radio stations are formally considered to be Travelers' Information Stations by the FCC.

To qualify as a TIS under the FCC Part 90.242 Rules umbrella, stations must operate at no more than 10 watts on the AM-band frequencies 530-1700 kHz. Signal coverage is limited to 2.0 mV/m at 1.5 km, which typically yields a signal radius of 3-5 miles. Motorists are notified to tune to the stations via road signs, which may incorporate flashing beacons. See also the FCC TIS Compliance Guide, published in 2014.

Federal agencies and state/local governments may license the stations through the NTIA and FCC, respectively. (NTIA is an acronym for National Telecommunications & Information Administration.) Some of those entities acquire funding for station purchases through grants and/or partnerships with constituencies.


(*) FCC Rules § 90.242 (a)(7)
"Travelers' Information Stations shall transmit only noncommercial voice information pertaining to traffic and road conditions, traffic hazard and travel advisories, directions, availability of lodging, rest stops and service stations, and descriptions of local points of interest. It is not permissible to identify the commercial name of any business establishment whose service may be available within or outside the coverage area of a Travelers' Information Station. However, to facilitate announcements concerning departures/arrivals and parking areas at air, train, and bus terminals, the trade name identification of carriers is permitted. Travelers' Information Stations may also transmit information in accordance with the provisions of §§90.405 and 90.407...."

(**) FCC Rules § 90.405(a)(1)
"Stations licensed under this part may transmit...any communication related directly to the imminent safety of life or property."

(***) FCC Rules § 90.407
"The licensee of any station authorized under this part may, during a period of emergency in which the normal communication facilities are disrupted as a result of hurricane, flood, earthquake or similar disaster, utilize such station for emergency communications in a manner other than that specified in the station authorization or in the rules and regulations governing the operation of such stations. The Commission may at any time order the discontinuance of such special use of the authorized facilities."

(****) FCC Report & Order (13-98)

(++) FCC Rule § 90.425 (a)
"...each station or system shall be identified by the transmission of the assigned call sign during each transmission or exchange of transmissions, or once each 15 minutes (30 minutes in the Public Safety Pool) during periods of continuous operation...."

Disclaimer:  Information Station Specialists, Inc., assumes no direct or implied responsibility for the content of radio station broadcasts. The licensee operator, with guidance from FCC TIS Part 90.242 Rules (including, but not limited to those linked above) assumes full responsibility for the content of station broadcasts.  
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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, wateter, 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.