FCC on "News Gathering"

There has been some discussion on "news gathering" and the ability of amateur operators to send weather reports. We adhere strictly to the rules in part 97 when reporting the weather to our local news.

In a disaster situation where the immediate safety of lives and/or property is at stake, Amateurs may provide safety-related communications to the broadcasters for dissemination to the public “where no other means of communication is reasonably available before or at the time of the event.”… So, a lack of preparation before an event does not make it “ok” when it happens.  The media needs to make reasonable efforts to be ready before the event, not simply take the “oh, we’ll just rely on the hams” approach.  Otherwise, Amateurs are prohibited from assisting in program production or news-gathering. [97.113(b)]

Due to the nature of the type information we are relaying to the local news and the method in which we report this information, we are not in violation of this rule at this time.

Our net control operators take weather reports from area hams, determine if this information meets reportable criteria, and relay's these reports via phone/email/chat to the proper news and weather offices.

FCC Examples

  1. A TV news crew hears an Amateur Radio operator on the air reporting a tornado sighting
    Yes, the TV crew can use that information on the air. If they recorded the report, they can also broadcast their copy of the ham's transmission.
  2. A TV news reporter wants to talk on the ham's radio and tape it for showing at 6 p.m.
    No, that is not allowed by the rules.