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President's Corner

Dear Viewers and Listeners:

Japan’s major earthquake was a stark reminder of the critical role of communications and how vulnerable even the latest technologies are in the face of disasters. Following the earthquake, millions lost cell phone and Internet service. Many local governments found that radio was the best way to receive information—especially for Japan’s rural communities.

We at SCETV are mindful of the responsibility we have as South Carolina’s only statewide network. ETV Radio is designated as the media of record in times of disaster or other emergencies. During the January snowstorm, ETV Radio worked with the Emergency Management Division (EMD) to provide updates on road and state office closings around the clock.

That’s the ETV you hear on the radio. But deep within the studios is a storage area with emergency equipment you don’t often hear about. The other day I was walking through this area, and ETV’s Manager of Transmitter Operations, John Crockett, was sorting through boxes of 400 hand-held ham radios that he and a team of volunteers had rebuilt for deployment in an emergency. Why are these housed at a broadcast network? The reason is ETV is a partner with SCHEART—the South Carolina Healthcare Emergency Amateur Radio Team. Through John’s leadership, (Amateur Radio Call Sign W3KH), ETV supports training and volunteer service for the ham radio operators in this program.

ETV also houses and maintains the microwave interconnection for all of the 26 radio repeaters of this service. This service reaches all 63 participating hospitals through a collaboration including the USC Center for Health Preparedness, the SC EMD, SC DHEC, Amateur Radio Emergency Services and other partners. Funded by a federal grant, SCHEART links hospitals to enable the flow of information on incoming patients, evacuations and coordination among facilities should an emergency strike and primary communications fail or become overloaded. The project, which began as a pilot in Charleston seven years ago, today serves as a model for the nation. 

We are proud to participate in this essential service for South Carolina and our citizens. It’s just one more reason why ETV is your lifeline to South Carolina.

Linda O’Bryon
President and CEO

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