Radio for events: In the summertime

With the warmer weather bringing a crowded programme of outdoor events, Jamie Lawrance of Roadphone NRB discusses the work that goes into temporary radio installations

Radio was very different when we first started with hire. We were doing a lot of industrial shutdowns for factories and power stations. The events side grew in the 1990s as radios became more affordable. Event comms started because people saw that two-way radio does one thing very, very well: instant communications.

I guess it was fuelled by mobile phones, because suddenly people realised that they could talk to each other with a mobile phone. But, of course, a mobile phone falls short of the requirements of event communications. I ring you to ask where you’ve put whichever widget I’m looking for on the site, and you say, “I don’t know, ring Fred.” So, I’ve made seven phone calls before I find the widget. But with a radio group call, everybody gets it.

A lot of the events we cover are either in the middle of a very large city, which gives you the capacity, or in a green field in the middle of nowhere, where the networks don’t tend to put high capacity in, even if they have coverage at all, because sheep don’t use mobile phones.

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