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North Carolina ARRL
Raymond “Woody” Woodward K3VSA
Hello and Welcome!
If you’re a ham radio operator who wants information about the American Radio Relay League’s Office of Public Information for North Carolina, this page is for you. If you’re in the media and looking for information about Amateur Radio, click on the “Background Information” link at the top of the page.
My name is Raymond “Woody” Woodward, and my callsign is K3VSA. I’ve been a ham radio operator intermittently since 1962. I have a “3” callsign because I was a Maryland resident when first licensed, but in 1972 I moved permanently to North Carolina, which truly is “the goodliest land.” In 2001 I became licensed again, got my original callsign back, and I am fully committed to Amateur Radio. I have another website dedicated to my personal interest in Amateur Radio.
Several years after being relicensed, I talked to the leadership at my local club, the Orange County Radio Amateurs, about becoming a Public Information Officer. They thought I might do good service in that position, so they forwarded a recommendation to Bill Morine, N2COP, the Public Information Coordinator for the North Carolina section. My PIO appointment was granted in July of 2005.
Bill did quite a lot to help motivate and professionalize the ARRL's public relations corps during the six years he served as Public Information Coordinator. He became a member of the national ARRL Public Relations Committee in 2004 and has been its chairman since 2008.  He was elected North Carolina Section Manager when Tim Slay, N4IB, retired, and Tim appointed me to be the new Public Information Coordinator in February 2010 just before he left office.
Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, was our Public Information Coordinator before Bill, and Gary is still active in Amateur Radio public relations. Both Bill and Gary received the Philip McGan Silver Antenna Award for the excellent work they’ve done for ham radio here in our state and beyond.
The ARRL Public Information Group:
ARRL Headquarters has a full-time Media Relations manager, Sean Kutzko, KX9X, who is responsible for public relations on the national level and assisting the public relations appointees at the section level.
Each ARRL section has an appointed volunteer Public Information Coordinator, like me, whose mission is to coordinate the public relations aspects of Amateur Radio at the section level. Of course, we PICs cannot do this all by ourselves, so one of our most important tasks is recruiting, appointing and equipping the volunteer Public Information Officers who do the majority of the public relations work at the local level.
The PIOs’ mission is to promote Amateur Radio and help maintain our good image by submitting information about our activities to the local and regional media (newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations, and the Internet).
Why Amateur Radio Needs “PR” in the First Place:
As former NC PIC Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, observed, “Hams do lots of good emergency and public-service work. But if the public never finds out about what we do, we’ve lost some of the value of our efforts.” ARRL headquarters handles public relations at the federal level of government and with much of the national media, and that’s important, because Amateur Radio is a federally licensed activity.
Nevertheless, we are greatly affected by state and local governments, and these are in turn greatly influenced by the opinions that our neighbors have of us. The Public Information Officers are the hams at the local community level who keep people advised about what we do. If the PIOs are successful in communicating the value we provide to our communities, then we will be regarded favorably, which will help allow us to erect the antennas we need to continue doing our good work.
Additionally, emergencies are first dealt with at the local level.  If the local emergency management organizations don’t know about us, they will not think to include us as a disaster preparedness resource. The PIOs can go a long way to present Amateur Radio in a favorable light to these organizations.
How PIOs Help Create A Good Image of Amateur Radio:
This is the easiest part! All a PIO needs to do is to tell the honest truth about the many positive things that we hams do, not just in times of crises, but every day, too.
The list of these things is too long to post here, but some of them are emergency preparedness and disaster relief, goodwill and fellowship both worldwide and local , and pushing the technical “envelope” of the state of the art of radio-electronics.  Hams as a group are very interesting and resourceful people and are often high achievers in their many diverse walks of life.
In order to accomplish this, PIOs build and maintain good contacts both within the Amateur Radio community and within the local media. They also develop needed skills through continuing education provided through the ARRL. Not every press release we file sees its way to print or to air time, but when one does, it’s exciting to know that we’ve helped promote “the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world” --Amateur Radio!
Should You Become A PIO?
Perhaps you don’t believe you’re qualified because you have little knowledge of the news business and/or you’re somewhat new to Amateur Radio. However, neither of these is strictly necessary, because you can learn through on-the-job training.
Rather, the necessary qualifications are a passion for telling our story and an ability to present that story clearly and factually to the media.
If you feel you have those qualifications, and you’re an ARRL member in good standing, you should consider applying for a position as a North Carolina ARRL PIO. You're probably a member of an ARRL affiliated club here in North Carolina already.  Talk to your club’s elected officials and see if they agree with you. If they do, they should send me a letter of recommendation. Once the letter has been received, I will review it and, if everything is in order, I’ll forward it to our North Carolina Section Manager and to the ARRL. Shortly after you’ve successfully completed the PR-101 coursework (see below) , you’ll receive your letter of appointment, and you can begin promoting our exciting and worthwhile avocation!
You won’t feel as though you’re working in a vacuum. The ARRL Public Relations leadership has wisely prepared vast amounts of useful material which will assist you, and the first and most important is the PR-101 Public Relations course online.   It contains sixteen practical chapters that will help you understand what to do and how to do it. Each chapter is thoughtfully written to make the material easily digestible. Once you’ve completed the lessons, you take a final exam online and become a certified officially trained ARRL PIO!
As you decide to grow in your professionalism, here are some other training opportunities that you can make use of.
Now, of course, this page is directed to hams in the North Carolina section, but if you are a resident of some other section, and you want to be a part of that section’s Public Information organization, then by all means contact your Section Manager or your section’s Public Information Coordinator and let them know you’re interested.
If you're visiting the Public Relations Tools page of the ARRL’s website, here’s an audio greeting from our former North Carolina Section Manager and Chairman of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, Bill Morine, N2COP.
ARRL Public Information Coordinator for North Carolina
an ARRL-trained Public Information Officer
Raymond “Woody” Woodward K3VSA
is an associate member of
Last updated on March 5th, 2014
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