Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Wisconsin Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID Card Program

In December 2006, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association reached an agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Justice to issue Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID cards. These cards will be issued to Wisconsin radio and TV station transmitter engineers, to aid them in crossing police lines in times of disaster to keep the transmitter on the air.  For areas involved in MSRC, these ID cards can also be used by the engineers reporting to the local Emergency Operation Center (EOC) during times of disaster, as requested by local officials.

In the post-Katrina days, one of the greatest challenges for broadcast engineers was restricted travel denying them access to their broadcast transmitters.  Gulf Coast broadcasters have recommended to all states to pursue a state-issued broadcaster ID card to avert this happening to others.  Through first-person testimonials heard at the annual EAS Summit in Washington, DC attended by your WBA President, Vice President, and State EAS Chairman, we were convinced that this is a worthwhile pursuit.  After a lengthy development process with Wisconsin DOJ, an agreement has now been signed to issue these ID cards.  DOJ will be doing statewide training for all law enforcement agencies, to ensure that the ID cards will be recognized by all officers in the state.  In the event there is a question in the field, a DOJ phone number is listed on the card for any officer to call for clarification.

Station managers should note that these ID cards grew out of the need to keep broadcast transmitters on the air in times of disaster, and for MSRC personnel reporting to the local EOC.  Specifically, these cards are not to be used by news-gathering crews or personnel.  Such use would constitute a misuse of this program, and would jeopardize the program for all stations in the state.  If there are any questions on the intended use of these cards, please contact WBA.

How to Request ID Cards
To complete the Individual Station Agreement and ID Card request form, download the below PDF form.  Please complete the PDF form fields using your computer. Handwritten forms are discouraged. After completing the required information, print form and have the Station Manager sign it.  Then, mail completed form to:

Linda Baun
Wisconsin Broadcasters Association
44 East Mifflin Street, Suite 900
Madison, WI  53703

Note that the form above is a special PDF form that allows you to type your information directly into the form, and then print it for mailing to WBA. Please use this method, to keep your information legible for WBA use. You will not be able to “Save” this form with your typed-in information in it; you can only print the form.

How to Email Photos
Download the Photo ID Card request form and complete the information.  Submit JPEG photos and the completed Word document form as an email attachment to lbaun@wi-broadcasters.org.  Station will receive completed ID cards in return U.S. Mail.

ID Cards FAQ

Q: Who can I contact if the answers below do not address my questions?
A: Please contact Linda Baun at WBA – lbaun@wi-broadcasters.org

Q: Does this program cost my station anything?
A: No.  All costs are borne by WBA and Wisconsin DOJ/DCI.

Q: How long will the process take?
A: We are estimating a 4-6 week turnaround.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of ID’s each station can request?
A: No, but the request should reflect a reasonable number of engineers responsible for maintenance of the transmitter.

Q: Do the ID’s expire?
A: No, but WBA will reconfirm the list of ID holders on an annual basis.

Q: Can photos be in formats other than JPEG?
A: To make things simpler for DOJ/DCI, all photos should be in JPEG format. They can possibly work with other formats, but they have requested that we ask for JPEG pictures if at all possible. Please work with Linda Baun at WBA at address above if this is a problem. Also, the file size does not matter. They have the ability to adjust it to the size they need for the ID.

Q: Can these ID cards be used by reporters and news-gathering crews?
A: No, news-gathering personnel already have their own Press credentials.  Police officials can decide whether to let news-gathering crews into secured areas based on their Press credential status.  The Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID card is meant to identify engineers on the specific mission to maintain a broadcast transmitter or to report to the local Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at the request of EOC officials. Use of the Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID card by reporters and news-gathering personnel is a violation of WBA’s signed agreement with DOJ/DCI, and will jeopardize the program for all stations in Wisconsin.  Such misuse will subject a station to having all of its issued ID cards returned to WBA for cancellation.  WBA holds the Station Manager signing the Agreement/Request Form responsible for proper use of these cards at that station.

Q: Does the ID guarantee passage through police lines at all times?
A: While the Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID card is meant to aid engineers in crossing police lines to gain access to transmitter sites, the ID’s do not guarantee passage.  If the law enforcement agency deems it unsafe, passage may be denied.  If any law enforcement agency needs clarification on use of the card, a 24-hour phone number is shown on the card for them to contact the DOJ/DCI Administrator or Acting Administrator.

Q: After I receive the ID’s, is there anything I need to do?
A: WBA recommends that you meet with local/county law enforcement to be sure they are aware of this program.  This would be particularly advised if your transmitter is in a different county than your studio.  In that case, meet with agencies from both counties, to facilitate travel both to and from the transmitter site.

Q: Who should my local law enforcement agency contact if I mention this program to them and they are unaware of the program?
A: They should contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator’s office.

Q: What happens if an employee issued an ID leaves the employ of the station?
A: The Station Manager or designee is to collect the ID card and return it to WBA.

Q: What if an ID card is lost?
A: Station Manager must sign and mail a new Agreement/Request Form, indicating it is for a replacement card.  A new Photo Email Form and photo must be submitted as well. The replacement card will indicate “DUPLICATE” on the face of the card.  If the original card is relocated, the duplicate should be returned to WBA for cancellation.

ONCE YOU RECEIVE YOUR ID CARD PLEASE NOTE: 

If you leave employment of Station, the Broadcasters ID card MUST BE RETURNED to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA) and the WBA will notify the Department of Justice.

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