In late April, ARRL had announced that ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, would be on the air at W1AW on Monday, May 13, giving ARRL members a chance to chat with the CEO and get to know him better as a ham. An issue was raised, however, that this event may be a potential FCC rule violation.
The particular rule is §97.113: “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 ARRL is Michel’s employer and that an effort was made 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 the appearance of a violation, Michel decided to cancel plans for the “Put Howard to Work” event.
“I’ve operated W1AW before and will continue to do so in the future,” Michel said. “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.”