Today’s “Radioworld.com” has an interesting article written by Bill Baker regarding the role 10 watt AM “Information Bulletin” stations play as the increase of climate-related emergencies occur. Here in the west, increasing flooding & wildfires have often forced conventional broadcasters off air, usually in tandem with hard-wire phone & Internet being unavailable. These low power signals are often found on AM 530 or 1610-1710 where there are fewer broadcasters. Such stations are always automated, but local civic officials & first responders usually have coded access to allow them to update info using their cell phones to input audio. Regionally, we have a number of these devoted to WSDOT bulletins, changing weather & chain-up requirements in our mountain passes, marine weather & alerts or community resources. A few TIS stations exist along the “dotted line” to advise travellers entering/leaving the US or Canada. In the Seattle area, the one TIS (“Travellers Information Station”)”that gets out like gangbusters is 1650 “The Voice of Vashon“. It’s favorable antenna location & signal are so strong, with such wide coverage that it’s hard to believe it’s only running 10 watts into a modest antenna. Bill Baker’s article notes how these tiny AM signals provided the only means of alerts, evacuation orders & bulletins during the disastrous wildfire season in Calif. this summer. As speculation about AM’s future continues, & attempts to preserve the AM broadcast band pursued, we are reminded via this interesting article that such facilities are an important, reliable source of emergency info & a valuable tool keeping our highways flowing smoothly & marine operators safe. If you are aware such a station exists in your area, devote one of your vehicle or battery-operated portable pre-sets to a TIS station to ensure you have the important info you need in an emergency or disaster.
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