Richard Lee, with the Federal Communications Commission/Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau contacted the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters (LAB) on Tuesday, February 23, asking for assistance, specifically that of Richard Petty – Chief Engineer with Clear Channel Radio station in Louisiana – to help in restoring emergency radio broadcast service in Haiti. Clear Channel immediately cleared Richard and LAB contacted Bo Hoover of Technical Services Group, a broadcast engineering firm in Baton Rouge, who readily volunteered to donate time, services and equipment to the project. The LAB immediately agreed to underwrite travel expenses for the team that would travel to Haiti to, at that point in time, was what was thought to be a ‘restoration’ project due to commence in late April or early May.
Soon thereafter, Lee received word that the date must be moved forward, and the official appeal soon followed from the Director of Conatel, the communications regulatory for Haiti:
Mrs. Lou Munson, Mr. Bo Hoover, Mr. Dick Lewis,
I am Montaigne Marcelin, Director General of Conatel, the communications regulator for Haiti. First, let me thank you for offering to help the people of Haiti by donating your radio equipment, your expertise, and your money to provide two public safety radio stations in the rural cities of Fort Liberte (pop 21,000) and Ouanaminthe (pop 42,000). I formally extend this invitation to your two engineers to come to Haiti to install the FM radio stations. Conatel will provide local transportation, food, water, and a place for shelter while in Haiti. A Conatel employee will be with them at all times to translate and provide security.
It is important that the stations become operational on or before March 16th. And the rainy season has already begun in these areas.
Their arrival on March 12 or 13 would be ideal. Please advise soonest your availability. Mr. Lee of the FCC will provide details concerning station location, GPS, photos.
Our need is urgent and we thank you for making this sacrifice to help us.
General Director of CONATEL
Immediately, much needed donated equipment, additional manpower and additional, funding for the mission, was solicited and readily secured.
Less than a week later (Friday, March 12, 2010), after preparing night & day for this mission, the Team of volunteers left for Haiti:
Bo Hoover, Broadcast Engineer, Technical Services Group, Baton Rouge
Travis Johnson, Technician, LA Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
Paul Murphy, Technician, LA Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
and successfully BUILT and had OPERATIONAL, by Saturday, March 13, WLEE-FM (named for Richard Lee) in Quanaminthe, Haiti. WLAB-FM (named for Louisiana Association of Broadcasters) in Fort Liberte, Haiti was built and began broadcasting emergency information, on Sunday, March 14th. Monday, 3/15 was spent making technical adjustments to the equipment, training operators and preparing for their trip back to Baton Rouge.
Responsible for the successful completion of the mission, in addition to the technical Team ‘on the ground’ in Haiti, contributors of time, equipment and funding:
Richard Petty, Chief Engineer, Clear Channel/Louisiana, Baton Rouge
Arthur Hoover, and other Staff at Technical Service Group, Baton Rouge
Dick Lewis, VP/General Manager of Clear Channel Radio, Baton Rouge & New Orleans
Technical Services Group
Greater New Orleans Broadcasters Association
Louisiana Association of Broadcasters