Letters: First Informers, LPFMs
     

Who, Exactly, Is a ‘First Informer’?
 
Regarding the Jan. 16 column “‘First Informer’ Concept Spreads”:
 
One question I have is whether the Illinois bill refers to news and operations personnel, or only to engineers and technical personnel.
 
In Wisconsin, we were very careful to make sure that only engineers and technical people were allowed to carry the ID that would allow you to cross police lines. We did not want this to be a way for reporters to get to a disaster site before anyone else.
 
Kevin K. Ruppert
Engineering Maintenance Supervisor
WISC(TV)
Madison, Wis.
 
Radio World submitted the above question to Dennis Lyle, president/CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association. He replies:
 
We discussed this very concern with all parties involved when crafting the legislation and purposely left open the opportunity for key in-station/on-air personnel to qualify for emergency credentials.
 
We wanted to make sure that first responders understood that while engineers and techs need access to our stations and transmitter sites to keep the station on the air, stations will also need a limited number of on-air and in-studio personnel to have access to the stations for the purpose of keeping essential programming on the air, disseminating information from (not to) the station’s studios.
 
Therefore, it’s conceivable that management will have select “on-air” and /or “in-studio” operational personnel completing (and thus qualifying for) the necessary National Incident Management System training so that they too will be credentialed in the event the station’s physical facilities lie within the emergency and/or disaster area sanctioned off by first responders.
 
Remember, the credential assumes the station or transmitter is located within the disaster site, and/or that a disaster site stands in the way of accessing (or fuel being delivered to) the station or transmitter. NIMS training will educate the engineer, tech or studio personnel needed to produce “on-air” programming about the dangers they may encounter while attempting to access the station’s facilities. Emergency disaster procedures already routinely in place by law enforcement in Illinois, added to a self-imposed (and commonsense) discipline and respect for the credentialing process, should eliminate any concerns regarding abuse of Illinois’ credentialing process.
 
Bottom line: Illinois’ credentialing program is to get key employees to the station, not to “the story.”
 
Dennis Lyle
President & CEO
Illinois Broadcasters Association
Carterville, Ill.
 
Let’s Make LPFM Arguments Consistent With Practice
 
In his commentary “Why WTCJ(AM) Asked for a Waiver” (Dec. 19), Bud Walters didn’t mention the three FM frequencies he owns licensed originally to communities like Tell City, Ind., along with the adjoining communities of Cannelton, Ind., and Hawesville, Ky.
 
All three have moved their signals as well as operations to better serve Owensboro, Ky., a larger city 25 miles away.
 
Two signals changed their community of license to accommodate the new coverage area. The call letters of one of those three FM frequencies is WTCJ(FM).
 
Also, Mr. Walters talks about AM revitalization, which is interesting.
 
Each station was successful in its day, serving the community while producing cash flow, with good audio and a more-than-adequate coverage area. But both stations these days operate like a travelers’ information station and have for many years with limited coverage and poor audio.
It was decided a little more than 10 years ago that LPFM existence was restricted for non-commercial use, among other annoying rules, on the grounds of spectrum integrity, but was more of an effort to keep out unnecessary competition.
 
It is ironic that the very people who were so against commercial LPFM back then are now demanding the rules be changed so that these translators are created, thus destroying spectrum integrity.
 
Rob Calhoun
Freelance Voiceover Talent
Evansville, Ind.
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