Milford native, Kim Hoey, recently received the Leonard Professional Media Award from the American Radio Relay League for her 2013 News Journal story about Amateur Radio. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the National Association for Amateur Radio. Each year journalists from around the nation are nominated by ARRL members to compete for this award, named in honor of one-time CBS News President, Bill Leonard.
Hoey’s article “Calling Fans of Ham” highlighted the emergency communications benefit of Ham Radio as well as its social aspects. Interviewing several participants at the Delmarva Amateur Radio & Electronics EXPO, or “Hamfest” in Georgetown, DE her piece introduced Amateur Radio to the public in a way that was most informative and entertaining. According to Hoey, Hamfest allowed Hams, radio operators, to not only catch up on trends, learn new skills, meet old friends and shop but raise awareness about amateur radio and its emergency preparedness applications. She states that although it is viewed as a hobby by many, Ham Radio does have a greater impact on society and she points out that the Delaware Emergency Management Agency utilizes its preparedness applications.
“Ham radio operators volunteer during disasters. They set up radios in shelters and help the emergency preparedness teams relay messages,” wrote Hoey in her award-winning article. “For example when the earthquake happened in Virginia in 2011, cell phones didn’t work because so many people were trying to make calls. Ham radio operators were able to get messages through for police and fire, said Bill Dobson, N3WD, of Baltimore who regularly sets up in emergency shelters.”
In the article Hoey described the radio community as a culture within itself and agreed that in many ways it is akin to online social media networks today. Radio operators use call signs to identify themselves while they communicate with other Hams.
“A lot of these people consider themselves good friends although they have never met each other,” said Hoey. “In any given day some of them talk with people from countries around the world.”
In winning this award, Hoey was recognized for creating the best reflection of the enjoyment, importance, and public service value of Amateur Radio. Sharing the award with her is News Journal photographer Mr. Gary Emeigh, who provided photo coverage for the story. Hoey and Emeigh were nominated by the Sussex Amateur Radio Association, an ARRL Affiliated Club, in Georgetown.