Thread: PIO Team

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default PIO Team

    Hey everyone, first time poster here.

    My department is a combination department surrounded by all volunteer departments. We mutual aid together for emergency response but have never done anything as far as support roles such as PIO, Investigator, etc.

    We recently started discussing a Fire Investigation Team concept where each of the 5 departments would have trained people to respond if a large investigation was needed anywhere in our area. We would like to do the same for the PIO side. Obviously there isnt a need for 15 PIO's on any scene, but our thought is that if you have a larger pool to draw from you will get one more often and you will also find it easier to cross district lines to get your message out there when you mutual aid.

    My question for this is does anyone out there have a similar program or a shared PIO team concept that they are using. If so, what are your pro/con and what types of things could you offer for advice.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    In the Philadelphia, Pa. area, we are fortunate enough to have two outstanding reporters who are both active volunteer firefighters. Walt Hunter, a reporter for the Philly CBS affiliate, and Al Novak, a radio reporter for KYW News Radio, the local Philly (CBS) AM News Station. I am pretty sure Walt Hunter is a firefighter at the Merion Fire Company of Ardmore, Pa. in Montgomery County. I know that Al Novack is a member of the Board of Directors for the North Penn Fire Company, in North Wales, Pa. (Montgomery County Company 62.)

    Walt Hunter used to speak at a seminar held at the Montgomery County Fire Academy on PIO/Media Relations, and is known in our area to be friendly and sympathetic to the "cause." Same goes for Al Novack. Why dont you try to email one or both of them, explain you are trying to set something up, perhaps they will lend some assistance???????

    Here is a short Bio I found on Walt:
    Eyewitness News Reporter Walt Hunter is one of the market's most outstanding investigative reporters. In 2004, Hunter was named best TV reporter by Philadelphia Magazine in its "Best of Philly" issue.

    Hunter joined CBS 3's news team in 1980 covering the police beat, and since that time, has earned a reputation for breaking many of the Philadelphia area's top stories. Hunter was the first to report the use of military explosives in the MOVE shootout (which he covered under fire) and the first to expose major safety hazards at J.F.K. Stadium (which led to its closing). Hunter has also broadcast more than 40 reports exposing Philadelphia's child welfare system, which led to many reforms.

    His hard-driving and in-depth reporting style has won him more than 20 awards including eight Philadelphia Emmy Awards and an Emmy nomination in 2004 plus honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, UPI and the Philadelphia Press Association.

    A Philadelphia native, Hunter worked his way through college working summers as
    a deck hand on an oil barge at a Philadelphia refinery. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

    He made his move to television following five years as the morning drive and police beat reporter for WCAU-AM. He also worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Bulletin and The Main Line Times where at 23 he was named the youngest managing editor in the history of the paper. In his spare time, Hunter works out with weights, runs and is a volunteer firefighter in his community.
    Address e-mails to

    Al Novack
    Since 1990, Al Novack has been KYW Newsradio 1060ís morning drive reporter.
    In the mornings he is the first line of defense for breaking news in the Philadelphia region. Listeners count on Al to provide the up-to-the-minute details of news stories on the scene or from the newsroom.

    Al is also first in command in the KYW Newsradio Storm Center on those hectic winter mornings with reports on road conditions and transit delays.

    Prior to his tenure with KYW Newsradio, Al accumulated extensive experience in the radio business including 15 years with WCAU-AM where he served as the suburban bureau chief and the morning drive reporter. In 1975 Al was the weekend anchor and weekday afternoon reporter at WPEN.

    Al also honed his radio skills at WFIL as the weekend news anchor and suburban bureau chief and in 1972 he was the news director and morning drive anchor at WNAR in Norristown.

    Al began his career at WKWF in Key West, Florida where he worked as a reporter and disc jockey while stationed at the Key West Naval Air Station.

    Although he acquired numerous Associated Press Awards for outstanding coverage of newstories over the years, he is also very proud of being a full-time volunteer firefighter in Montgomery County.

    He is a board member of the North Penn Volunteer Fire Company, Vice President of Montgomery County Fifth Fire District and Member and Delegate to the Montgomery Firemanís Association and serves on the Montco 911 Advisory Board.

    In 1986 Al won the Earl Mayers Award naming him Firefighter of the Year. By serving his country in the U.S. Naval Air Force he earned a Vietnam War Service Medal. He is also a member of the Jaycees and the Lower Gwynedd Township Country Fair Committee.

    In 1972 Al Novack obtained his Bachelors Degree in Journalism, Communications and Management from Temple University.

    He currently resides in North Wales, PA with his daughter and two sons.

    I could not find an email for Al Novack. The station's website is, perhaps if you search you may find one or you could send him an email through the general mailbox. Or perhaps you could send him an email through

    Good luck to you.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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