Radio Control, how can we help?
This week we hear from Paul Frankel, Section Head for Radio Control. Its safe to say this is an area that visitors don't get to see as they deal with communications between staff, stewards and emergency services. A very important role that ensures the Show runs smoothly. Here, Paul gives us a glimpse behind the scenes:
It is my privilege to be the Section Head for Radio Control at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, very much a back room position running a dedicated team behind the scenes of the annual Show, which probably, few of our guests even know exists.
There are currently 16 volunteers who form the Radio Control team, several of whom have been involved for many years and have recently been joined by younger family members, keen to continue the tradition. All have experience in radio communications, coming from backgrounds in the emergency services, motor clubs and event stewarding.
They all come together pre-Show to meet up as a team, providing training and advice on radios at the annual Stewards training day and then for the Show itself on the Friday during the build-up, and then over the whole weekend.
As Section head my task is to coordinate the Radio Control planning throughout the year; arranging for the supply of radios and communications cabin, liaising with suppliers and engineers and allocating radios to users for the Show such as on site contractors, security personnel and Section heads.
I also organise rotas for the radio operators who work on shifts from 6.00am until the end of the Show on each day, from meal breaks to them having some free time to enjoy the Show, always ensuring sufficient staff are on duty to cope with the demands of a very busy radio network.
The team are like a family who happily meet each year to do a vital job behind the scenes while thoroughly enjoying the Show camaraderie.
The annual two day Show draws crowds in excess of 60000 visitors and it is an aim of the organisers to provide an enjoyable and safe experience. There are many factors at play to ensure the safe running of the Show including an army of volunteer stewards, professional security contractors, health & safety experts, and private emergency services contractors amongst others. And our role is to provide a professional communications structure which links all these functions, along with Society officials, by radio.
There are around 150 radios and the PA system, all of which are the responsibility of Radio Control; we operate from a control room where the team is in contact with all radio users, and are able to coordinate operations across the showground, especially in the event of an emergency.