How can I launch MSRC in my state or market?
Wisconsin’s efforts are fast becoming a model across the country, and we have had requests to put our organizing resources online. Many broadcasters are aware of MSRC, but how do you get it started in your market? Actually, it is amazingly easy. One individual needs to take the initiative to call a meeting. It amazed us how quickly MSRC took off with enthusiasm in every Wisconsin market we visited.
This effort can be pursued by individual markets on their own, or as was done in our case the state broadcaster association can head up the effort. Our WBA Vice President and two members of the original Milwaukee group did a “MSRC road trip” over several months to hold the Market Launch Meeting in each major market of the state.
We have posted here the materials we used for our Market Launch Meetings. Anyone is free to use these resources, and modify them as they see fit. Our materials do not constitute any hard-and-fast rules for the way MSRC must be deployed. They just show how we did it, but our method is certainly not the only way to do it.
Include your local emergency management staff.
One of the unexpected benefits of even our first MSRC meetings was improved relations between broadcasters and emergency management. Broadcasters are too often seen as adversaries by local officials, trying to get information that officials aren’t prepared to release. Meeting in this neutral environment and working on a common cause has spawned many 180-degree turns in attitude on both sides. In Wisconsin, many of our MSRC groups have been invited to send a representative into the local EOC (Emergency Operations Center) during disasters, to work alongside our emergency management partners for the public good. This was an amazing and gratifying development for us. Be sure to reach out to your emergency management officials as part of this effort.
How to organize a MSRC Market Launch Meeting.
1) An individual needs to step forward to organize the first meeting. In our case, this was usually a TV station General Manager. Some thought needs to be given to who will chair the committee on an ongoing basis. In most cases, it ends up being the meeting organizer. The chair does not need to be an expert in MSRC. We have everything organized below to get you started. The most important job of the chair is to convene ongoing meetings, to keep the committees and effort on track.
2) Our initial meeting was scheduled as 2 hours, but we tried to finish early. We used meeting rooms at hotels, bars, and broadcast stations. Invitee list ran anywhere from 12 to 25 people. Pick your meeting venue; then send invitations. See our suggested Invitation List, Broadcaster Invitation Letter and Emergency Management Invitation Letter.
4) At the first meeting, use a PowerPoint presentation to explain MSRC, and outline the various committee duties. Our Market Launch PowerPoint Presentation can be printed as “Notes Pages” in your printer setup, which will give you a script to read throughout the presentation. It can be printed as a “Handout” for the participants as well, to aid them in explaining MSRC to the troops back at the office. It also explains the sub-committee duties they will be volunteering for at the end of the meeting.
5) Before the meeting concludes, you should pick a Committee Chair, and Chairs and members of the first three Sub-committees:
Sub-committee #1 – Communication/Agreement Sub-committee
Reviews and customizes the sample MSRC Local Plan and SOP for implementation in your area, and creates the ECC Team.
Sub-committee #2 – Facility Sub-committee
Usually engineers are on this committee. Collects checklists from all stations, identifies studio and transmitter locations and resources available at each facility.
Sub-committee #3 – Contact List Sub-committee
Should have at least one member from each of: broadcast, cable, and emergency management, to gather the contact information from each of those communities.
Sub-committee #4 – Beta Test Sub-committee
We didn’t staff this committee until we were ready for testing.
6) Before the meeting concludes, set the next meeting date if possible. Initially, we were meeting monthly.