Listen before you speak, “stepping on” someone is rude, and people will point and laugh at you behind your back. The stigma may haunt you for life.
Observe the PTT technique: Push the button, Take a breath, Then talk. It takes about ½ a second for the radio system to come up after you push your button; otherwise your first couple of words will be lost. The social stigma is as in #1.
Hold your radio in a vertical position, straight up and down for best antenna efficiency. A jaunty angle looks cool in a pedantic sort of way, but can reduce your range by half. Please, NEVER carry or lift a radio by the antenna. It causes damage that is very expensive to repair, at Festival expense.
When calling, state who you are, and who you want. Any format is acceptable, as long as your intent is clear. Best practice is to do it the way everybody else does it. Preface your call with where you are: “Mike at the Warehouse for Bill.”
Courtesy requires you to acknowledge an incoming call promptly, even if only to say: “Hold On, I’ll be back to you in a minute.” This allows other calls to proceed. Answer your call with where you are: “Bill on Front Street, go Mike.” This simple exchange takes care of 50% of calls, which are “Where are you?” calls.
Short message exchanges are best – quick and to the point. For extended conversations, take it to the “Chat” channel. “Chat” gets busy too, listen first lest you land in someone else’s conversation and become a pariah. ASSUME that the channel you are going to is busy. Mother may suggest another channel, or may caution you that Chat is busy.
Avoid politically sensitive or emergency traffic on main channels, which may be blaring out of 150 radios all over town. If you have an emergency or a politically sensitive situation related to the Festival, switch to the TACAMO channel to contact Mother about it. TACAMO is like calling 911…Emergency Traffic only, no social sensibility, no sense of humor. TACAMO is always monitored. For true 911 situations (fire, medical, etc), follow the procedures in The Festival Manual. Try not to exaggerate a localized crisis. “The crisis you are experiencing is of no interest to anyone else, except for its entertainment value”. It can be a YouTube moment on the radio.
Always, Always, ALWAYS turn your radio OFF when you go into a theater, even if only in the front door. Not down, OFF. Do it.
You are in charge of and responsible for your radio, and its replacement value is $1200. It is signed out to YOU. Don’t give it to someone else, if they lose it the onus is still on YOU. You must return your radio, not someone else’s in its place. You are issued a radio, and in some cases, an accessory like a headset or shoulder microphone, in good working order. It was tested before it was issued. Test it immediately when you get it, and if there are problems that will be your only opportunity to claim that it is defective for reasons that you did not cause. Otherwise, if it comes back broken or inoperable it is because you broke it. There’s that social stigma thing again, and an unnecessary expense to the Festival. A special note about headsets…please do not take your headset off, hang it around your neck, and turn the radio up all the way so that you can hear it. It WILL destroy the earpiece element, and that failure in a headset is not repairable. The headset will be a total loss…social stigma…expense…yada, yada. Shoulder mics, no problem. Crank ‘em up. Please note that accessories, such as mics and headsets, have their own transmit button. The mic in the accessory does not activate unless you use the transmit button ON the accessory.
Don’t push buttons on your radio if you don’t know what they do. There are fall-back and emergency modes that you may activate unnecessarily. You may have used radios before, but it is likely that the buttons are programmed differently here. If there is a city-wide power failure, limit your radio traffic to the bare minimum to preserve system backup battery endurance. Utility power failures can last several hours. Urgent traffic only, please. If the system batteries become exhausted, the radios stop working. If that happens, you will be instructed on how to put your radio into a “limp” or “talkaround” mode.
Please note that we refer to channels by their names, NOT by channel numbers. Some radios do not have numbered channel selectors – look at the display for the channel name.
We’re all in this together, and our common goal is to make the festival work. Courtesy, cooperation, collaboration, and responsibility are the keys to realizing our common goal. Play nice ON the radio. Play nice WITH the radio. When in doubt, ask. There are NO stupid questions.