Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Wisconsin Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID Card Program

As part of broadcasters’ mission to serve the public, the Wisconsin Broadcaster Emergency Personal ID Card program provides broadcast transmitter engineers in Wisconsin with an identification card to assist with gaining access to their stations in times of emergency.

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in partnership with Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) will issue the Broadcaster Emergency Personnel ID cards to qualified 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.

The cards are part of WEM’s WI-CAMS program, which administers standardized identification cards to police, firefighters, and emergency responders throughout the state. The cards are recognizable to emergency responders as the same credentials they use in an emergency situation.

WBA’s Broadcaster Emergency Personal ID Card program started in 2006 through the Wisconsin Department of Justice in reaction to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when one of the greatest challenges for broadcast engineers was restricted travel denying them access to their broadcast transmitters. Gulf Coast broadcasters recommended that all states pursue a state-issued broadcaster ID card to avoid similar problems in the future.

Station managers should note that these ID cards grew out of the need to keep broadcast transmitters on the air in times of disaster. 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
Station Managers may request cards by filling out this form. All applications will be verified by the WBA through station management.

ID Cards FAQ

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

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

Q: How long will the process take?
A: Expect 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: The cards expire every seven years, but the WBA will reconfirm the list of ID holders on an annual basis.

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 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. The 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.

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: 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 immediately 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. 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 update the WI-CAMS system.

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