Pittsburgh PA, November 17th


Director Glenn Cannon is a Pittsburgh native who has spent his entire career in emergency communications, emergency management, and public safety services, at the city, county, state, and federal levels.  While at FEMA in a very senior position, he reorganized communications resources based on the lessons learned at Hurricane Katrina.   While Director of Pennsylvania’s office of Emergency Management (PEMA) he had responsibility for the state’s communications and emergency response assets.  While working for a manufacturer, he led the program that installed a new IP-based 800 MHz communications system for the State of Florida.   Director Cannon also helped organize the city of Pittsburgh’s first paramedic program back in 1975.  Director Cannon has lectured at FEMA’s National Emergency Management Institute Leadership Program.


Glenn Cannon Resume


RCA’s 2017 Technical Symposium and Annual Banquet, Pittsburgh PA, November 17th

Start planning now to attend our 2017 Technical Symposium and Annual Awards Banquet in Pittsburgh! Both will take place on Friday November 17, 2017, at the William Penn Hotel.

We have a number of exciting speakers already lined up for the Technical Symposium on topics such as:  “Datacasting for Public Safety”, “Engineering Challenges of the KDKA Radio Tower”, “The New ATSC 3.0 TV Standard”, and others!

The William Penn Hotel where we will be meeting was the site of a Christmas Day broadcast in 1922, and this photo showing the studio set-up is displayed in the hotel’s lobby:

Unique for this event, we are planning an extensive tour of radio station KDKA, the first commercial radio station in the U.S.!  The tour will be open to RCA Members only, and will commence on Saturday November 18th.


About Radio Station KDKA:

KDKA is a clear channel Class A station operating at 1020 kHz on the AM radio dial.  It is a CBS affiliate with a news and talk format.  The transmitter operates at 50,000 watts, and at night can be heard over much of the eastern U.S. and into Canada, and during the day in the adjacent states and the province of Ontario.  The station also operates a TV station and an FM radio station (93.7 MHz))

KDKA has been called ‘the nation’s first broadcast radio station’ as a result of its broadcast of the presidential election results on November 2, 1920, in the Harding-Cox election (at the time it used the special amateur call sign of 8ZZ).

An extremely thorough historical  analysis of KDKA, including some of the disputes about ‘who was first’, can be found in the Wikepedia article at:  KDKA Wikipedia article


To understand what receiving KDKA meant to some people, we have an article that appeared in the New York World-Telegram Newspaper (now defunct) from May of 1958.  It was the first in a series of articles by writer John Ferris on the early days of broadcast radio.

World Telegram KDKA Article 1958



A room block is reserved at the Omni William Penn Hotel with a special RCA rate of $149/night.

 To book your room:

 The RCA rate will be available until 5:00 pm Eastern on Monday, October 23, 2017 or until the block is sold out.


Introducing Radio Club of America

Founded in 1909, the Radio Club of America is the oldest, most prestigious group of wireless communications professionals in the world, with members across the globe. Its members are dedicated to the wireless art and science for the betterment of society. The Radio Club of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all contributions made to RCA are tax exempt.

Creating the Future

The future of wireless belongs to our youth, many of whom are unaware of the importance of the wireless industry, or of the wonderful career opportunities it presents. We have two major programs:

  • Youth Activities, focused on middle and high school students
    • Annually, one or two of the best of our youth present at our Annual Technical Symposium. We have had presentations from our youth on fractal antennas, pole climbing robots, high altitude ballooning, and other innovations
  • Scholarship program, focused on college/university students. We support approximately a dozen universities whose students are studying engineering, broadcast, communications, and similar majors

We believe that our focus on youth ensures the future of the wireless industry, and sets the Radio Club of America apart from most of the other professional wireless organizations. Join with us in creating the future!

Ensuring the Present

The Radio Club of America is also focused on helping wireless professionals of all ages to advance their careers. We accomplish this in several ways:

  • Our Annual Technical Symposium features some of the best minds in wireless, presenting innovative and unique solutions in wireless. Where else will you find the likes of Professor Frank Drake of SETI fame, or such “Wireless Wow” presentations on ‘Invisibility Cloaks,’ spectrum arbitrage, virtual sensors, using RF to disable IEDs, or 3D printed antennas?
  • At our Annual Meeting you will get a chance to meet keynote speakers like Bob Heil (audio engineer), Walter Cronkite (broadcaster), Marty Cooper (inventor of the cell phone), Dr. Ted Rappaport (professor and author of many radio wireless textbooks), David Sumner (president of the American Radio Relay League), and network with industry pioneers like Andy Seybold (wireless pundit), and Ray Trott P.E. (CEO of communications engineering firm)
  • At our breakfasts at industry trade shows, and other events, you will get a chance to hear from industry notables such as Dave Weisz (Motorola) and Brian Fontes (CEO of National Emergency Number Assoc.)
  • We are planning a new series of RCA educational programs that will provide opportunities for wireless training.  STAY TUNED! 
  • Our partner organization the ETA has numerous additional opportunities for wireless training

Included among our many members are those working in the various segments of the wireless industry, including: Antennas, Broadband, Broadcast, Cellular, Ham Radio, Infrastructure, Manufacturers, Military Communications, Parts Vendors, Public Safety / Land Mobile Radio, and Satellite.

Honoring the Past

The over 100-year history of the Radio Club is the history of wireless communication. The Club keeps alive the memory and lessons of past inventors and innovators, honoring those that contributed so much to the advancement of the wireless art. Included among our previous members were such notables as Armstrong (inventor of FM and the superhetrodyne receiver), Beverage (antennas), Link (land mobile radio), Poppele (founder of Television Broadcasters Assoc., started the WOR NY radio station, director for Voice of America), and dozens of others. Share the legacy that they left us, and help create new legacies for the future!

RCA Sponsors at APCO 2017


We are adding a new feature to the RCA Website:  a short feature on a current member, what they are doing, and what their wireless interests are.  The member that is featured will be changed regularly.  

If you are interested in being spotlighted, please send a brief summary of your wireless interests, a brief bio, your contact information, and a picture to  We cannot guarantee that every member will be spotlighted, but we will attempt to spotlight as many as we can.

Introducing RCA Member Brent Finster

Brent Finster has been working 38 years in public safety communications.  After a stint managing three Radio Shack stores, he became a dispatcher for the Colorado State Patrol.  After one year, he went back to Boulder County, where he worked as a dispatcher and communications supervisor for the next 9 years.  In 1989, Brent was appointed the Communications Director in Aspen, Colorado heading up the combined city-county communications center.  Ten years later, Brent moved to California as Telecommunications Manager for Contra Costa County Fire District.


In 2008, he was hired as Director of Public Safety for the Cayman Islands Government.  There he was responsible not only for the country’s 9-1-1 system but also a nationwide CCTV system and electronic monitoring program (GPS-connected ankle bracelets).  Upon completing his contract Brent and his wife moved back to the United States.  Trading one island for another, he landed in Honolulu as the Communications Center Manager for the University of Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety.


Brent has also worked as a first responder as an Emergency Medical Technician, mountain search and rescue volunteer, firefighter, fire training officer and ultimately the fire chief of a department near the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Brent was also a deputy sheriff.  He has served in all aspects of ICS from Incident Commander to Food Unit Leader, in incidents ranging from jet crashes, and mass-casualty school bus accidents to presidential visits.  He has been a Communications Unit Leader since 1991.


Brent is a two-term past president of the Colorado Chapter of APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) and served as a National Executive council representative for four chapters (Colorado, Northern California, International and Caribbean).  Brent served as the founding chair of the Colorado Interoperability Task Force which became a model for other states.  Brent has served on many committees including:  the California Statewide Interoperability Executive Council (CALSIEC), the FIRESCOPE Communications Specialist Group, Region VI 800 MHz. Regional Planning Committee and a member of the DHS SAFECOM Emergency Response Council.  Brent has been a contract trainer and course developer DHS’ ICTAP including curriculum development of the NIMS All-Hazard COML course.  He has been a licensed Amateur Radio Operator since 1982 with the FCC call sign K6BEF.

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Annual Banquet

The Annual Technical Symposium and Banquet is our opportunity to catch up on the latest wireless innovations, network with the movers and shakers in our industry, and honor our industry’s finest contributors. It is held every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving, at alternating locations across the U.S. to ensure that all members get a chance to attend.  In 2017m we will be meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.  Included in the event will be a tour of the first radio broadcast station in the nation, KDKA, for RCA members who attend.  Stay tuned for more details.

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