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Messageboards: not so reliable? 

To the editor,

I would just like to point out that Michael Fleury, in his article "Dial tones" published in the September 29 issue of The Coast, neglects to tell readers about Information Radio 97.9 FM, which is Halifax's official emergency broadcast system. On July 5, 2005, regional council unanimously passed the agreement, otherwise known as a "Memorandum of Understanding," between Information Radio and HRM. Michael Fleury's article assumes that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is the place to go for emergency broadcast information, and this is simply based on what someone wrote on an online messageboard.

The truth is, a lot radio stations participate in emergency broadcasting—take Rick Howe's comments from the article. The CBC doesn't affect what CJCH/C100 does in emergency situations, and neither does Information Radio. But, each station plays a role in getting the message out to listeners, whether the station is the emergency broadcast system or not.

The reason why the city has tapped into Information Radio is the fact that they can have direct access to the 97.9 FM airwaves, and in the event of an emergency, Information Radio will take off all other programming except for HRM's emergency broadcast messages.

For a more detailed look at Information Radio's role as the Halifax Regional Municipality's emergency broadcast system, I invite you to check out my article in this year's King's Journalism Review. In about a week or so, it should be posted online at: http://journalism.ukings.ns.ca/kjr.

By Janet MacLeod

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