National Public Safety Information Bureau

Press Releases

Radio Reemerges as a Tool for Distancing and Safety in the COVID Era

AM radio technology is being leveraged at virus test centers, event venues and worship gatherings.

Zeeland - Michigan, November 09, 2020

Many emergency officials have begun using a license-free radio technology called InfOspot at drive-thru virus testing sites across the country to get safety and procedural information to motorists queueing in cars. Those same agencies are also preparing communication strategies for Points of Dispensing (PODs) as soon as a vaccine becomes available.

For example, in New York State, lines have snaked for miles with broadcasts approaching sites at Rochester, Albany and Jones Beach. On the other coast, parking lots at Dodger Stadium have gone into extra innings to accommodate the demand, utilizing radio to inform worried patients arriving for tests. Mid-country, three Mount Carmel hospital campuses in Ohio have added similar technology in the Columbus area. Mount Carmel’s system features portable antenna stands that can be deployed quickly. The Central Valley Health District in Jamestown, North Dakota, has deployed a portable version of InfOspot in a wheeled carrying case with a quick setup antenna that they can move from facility to facility as needed.

InfOspot custom packages have also been discovered by community churches, schools and event managers. It’s a remarkable acknowledgment that this 100-year-old medium continues to be the most universal means of getting audio programming into cars. Although its remains affordable and easy to use, the technology has been updated with a new outdoor range extender antenna/tuner. It’s ironic that the medium that first brought us together in 1920 continues to demonstrate that it is also remarkably good at communicating with us separately. As testament, thousands of stations have begun popping up at community gatherings during the pandemic.

In the words of NexTech High School principal Dan McMinn of Grand Rapids, Michigan: "…Our seniors were able to have their moment in the sun. NexTech was able to share the [graduation] ceremony with families unable to attend in a traditional manner.” At Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma, the symphony orchestra performed last summer not only “under the stars” but also “in the cars” for patrons in lot-based performances.

Arguably the most prolific and avid advocate for localized radio is churches and synagogues, many of which are broadcasting worship services into parking lots. Take Immanuel Lutheran Church in Grand Ledge, Michigan, for example. “Our drive-in worship went really well today!” reported pastor Chuck Foerster. “Many positives were relayed. [Our] AM transmitter worked really well. [We had a] loud and clear signal all the way to the back of the parking lot….[to] 52 cars, most with multiple occupants!" Says another Gig Harbor, Washington, spokesperson: “We connected a small mixer for a keyboard and singers and a wireless mic receiver for the pastor. Everything worked flawlessly.”

Agencies as varied as the City of Riverside, California, to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Authority in New Jersey are convening meetings in vehicles normally held indoors at fairgrounds.

Designed to operate under FCC Part 15 Rules, InfOspot is capable of up to 100 milliwatts of power, yielding a range of up to 1/2 mile when mounted 20 feet above ground. And InfOspot offers unprecedented flexibility when compared to higher powered, licensed systems:

  • Easy-change frequencies, 540-1700 kHz.
  • Proven Part 15 transmitter effectiveness.
  • A range extender outdoor antenna / tuner that may be mounted at any height above ground, due to its exclusive coaxial transmitter-to-antenna linkage.
  • Integral 5-minute / dual message, digital voice recorder / player for simplified message creation.
  • A security key that prevents unauthorized transmitter-control tampering.

If you would like to inquire about InfOspot for your jurisdiction, let Information Station Specialists know via email as soon as possible to reserve your place in line. Companion tools also available are portable signs to direct drivers to the special radio frequencies, specific treatment areas, parking areas, etc. Information Station Specialists has been in business since 1983 and is the USA’s best known source of emergency advisory radio systems and related services.


Bill Baker
616.772.2300 x102