Access to terrestrial broadcast licenses is required. For FM this would be a low power license up to 600W. In some countries, where community radio stations are common this can be an easy process – in other countries there is no process possible to get an FM license at short notice. Indonesia is very open and the Philippines National Telecommunications Commission has been very supportive to First Response Radio. In India a longer process is involved, but once we begin cooperating and negotiating with government ministries, then solutions tend to present themselves. USA and the UK both seem to have tight FM restrictions, so there is no possible route to get a short term or temporary license in a timely manner. The goal of the Rapid Response Radio unit is to get on the air in 72 hours, so we need to get a frequency cleared or approved in about 24 hours.
When First Response went to the Bihar floods in North India, we were not able to negotiate an FM license. In this case we used the SW radio bands. To begin with, our network partner used their normal frequency for North India and replaced the program with emergency programming. Many times this is not possible or additional air time is needed to adequately inform the public. In this case we used a SW broadcast broker to buy the airtime for us. The challenge then is to get a clear frequency coordinated at very short notice. Due to the importance of the content it is essential to have +/- 10 kHz clear at a minimum.