We’ve come a long way
My favorite television shows always have been police, fire or military dramas. Growing up in the sixties, my favorite show was Rescue 8, which focused on a group of Los Angeles County firefighters. To give you an idea of how deep my devotion was to this show, I used to sink into a deep funk whenever a Chicago Cubs game pre-empted the syndicated reruns that appeared each afternoon on WGN-TV, a noteworthy admission given my lifelong obsession with the national pastime.
Two other shows I couldn’t get enough of were Highway Patrol and Adam-12. The former followed the heroic exploits of California Highway Patrol Chief Dan Mathews, while the later followed the equally inspiring adventures of Los Angeles patrol officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed.
Mobile radio was an important component of both shows. In Highway Patrol, Mathews often was depicted leaning into the window of his patrol car — which often featured a long whip antenna — clutching his mobile radio microphone and gruffly barking orders. And the excitement didn’t begin on Adam 12 until one heard the dispatcher utter the immortal “One Adam 12, see the man … .”
Back then, voice transmissions were the alpha and omega of public-safety communications. Today, four decades later, whip antennas are considerably shorter and first responders transmit all sorts of information over the air, such as text messages, mug shots, surveillance video and patient vital signs. And the evolution is only starting to hit its stride, as long-anticipated next-generation technologies that promise to make today’s solutions look primitive in comparison finally are emerging.
Over the past two decades this publication has evolved as well, in part because of the greater focus on first responder communications in a post-9/11 world, but also because of the rapid development of mobile data technologies and applications and their fast-growing importance to those who serve and protect. Publications have a responsibility to evolve as the markets they cover evolve. It’s a responsibility we take seriously.
While we feel a twinge of sadness at the retiring of Mobile Radio Technology, it was time. We needed a name that more accurately describes what this publication already has become, and we believe wholeheartedly and unequivocally that Urgent Communications is that name.
On behalf of the entire team, we hope you enjoy this inaugural issue and look forward to serving you for years to come.