Earlier this week an announcement was made that ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, was going to be on air at Maxim Memorial Station W1AW on Monday afternoon, 13th May 2019, with the intent of giving ARRL members a chance to chat with the CEO and get to know him better as a ham. However, an issue was raised about this being a potential violation of FCC rules, in particular, Section 97.113 which states that “A station is also not allowed to transmit communication in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer.”
Given that the ARRL is Michel’s employer, and that there was an effort to publicize an event at which members of the organization could chat with the CEO, such an event could be perceived as a benefit to the organization.
So out of an abundance of caution and to avoid any potential violation of FCC rules, or even an appearance of a violation, Michel has decided to suspend plans for the “Put Howard to Work” event that was scheduled for Monday 13th May 2019.
Michel stated “I’ve operated W1AW before and will continue to do so in the future. I hope to meet many of you on the air, but only as part of my regular ham radio activities and not as part of an ARRL-promoted event.”
The “Put Howard to Work!” event was conceived by the ICQ Amateur/Ham Radio Podcast, on which Michel was a guest on 31st March 2019. “We are disappointed, of course, at this turn of events but fully understand and endorse ARRL’s decision,” said ICQ Podcast Presenter Frank Howell K4FMH.