• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

The Police Scanner in the Newsroom

WB3DYE

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Public safety radio is an evolving technology. In its earliest days, radios on fire engines and ambulances and police patrol cars were 25-pound behemoths bolted down inside the trunk. They operated on lower frequencies compared to today’s radio systems.

The police scanner in the newsroom
 

KK4JUG

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I have to agree with Jim. I don't see the correlation. I was in news before I got into law enforcement. We had a scanner that stayed on 24 hours a day. Back then there were only 4 police channels and one fire. It was all VHF repeater. Now is P25 on 800 mHz but everyone still listens in the news room. Of course, the public safety radios have been streamlined but that doesn't affect the listening in the newsroom.

What are we missing?
 

harryshute

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I have to agree with Jim. I don't see the correlation. I was in news before I got into law enforcement. We had a scanner that stayed on 24 hours a day. Back then there were only 4 police channels and one fire. It was all VHF repeater. Now is P25 on 800 mHz but everyone still listens in the news room. Of course, the public safety radios have been streamlined but that doesn't affect the listening in the newsroom.

What are we missing?
Did you follow the link to the news article?
 

KK4JUG

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Did you follow the link to the news article?
Yes, I did and I still don't get it. Public safety radio technology has changed and the natural progression would be for scanners to do likewise, with or without the news media. I suspect the news media makes up only a very small portion of the users of scanners.
 

ke7ejf

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But, the news media has had a huge impact on what we are able to hear these days because they have to get that story.

Years ago, I worked at a TV/radio newsroom in the summer monitoring radio traffic with 20 monitors in front of me. I can tell you that not all of the radio traffic we copied was reported immediately. Sometimes it was delayed because the News Editor thought it best. The reporters also work with the agencies instead of getting that story at all cost.

I wonder how much we would hear if that judgement was used today.
 

KK4JUG

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But, the news media has had a huge impact on what we are able to hear these days because they have to get that story.
But they've had scanners for over a half a century. I can't see how the impact has changed appreciably. The fact that the media outlet sits on a story is a choice of the Assignment Editor or News Director and for reasons only they have to explain.

I have worked in TV and Radio news and law enforcement for a long time. While in law enforcement, I also served as Public Information Officer, among other things. I'm still looking for the nexus alluded to by the OP.
 

ke7ejf

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Well here in Phoenix, there was shooter who shot at least one person at a place of business. The first officer on scene got an ID from witnesses and when they put the information over the air and dispatched units to his house, at least one of the radio station reporters went to the guys house and was in front waiting for him to arrive.

About 2 days later the hot channels were encrypted and scanning in Phoenix was never the same. Prior to that, all of the hot channels were in the clear.

I worked with a lot of guys that would be listening and waited for the word that at least the PD was on scene before they tried to get the story.

Have news rooms always had scanners or receivers in them? Yes. But do those reporting the news have the common sense of the past? No!
 

danesgs

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Mr. Barron of OKWIN is their Chief news photog. So in order to do his job he listens to scanners to know when and where to go to take pics for the news. OK, so that does not really tell much of a story. Yes to PD/FD encrypting their radios to keep idiots with scanners or cell phone apps from breaking laws or getting a heads up and interfering with an apprehension or arrest but for the most part the move is overstated in more or less densely populated areas. NYC and other large cities may or may not to choose to encrypt their radios based on a number of factors.

Smallville USA that has 1 sheriff and two deputies really needs to encrypt theirs due to Aunt Bee's apple pie recipe might have to be introduced as evidence in a pie stealing crime and to track down the perps they need it to compare pie ingrdeients over the air as they research the possible stolen pie, so to protect her business and livelihood they encrypt their traffic full time. :)

Really? No The point is whether ordinary citizens hearing actual events unfolding is worthy of any of that and at what cost? Being able to hear a BOLO in a small town with few places to hide and a local seeing a person running through a backyard might prompt them to action and call the PD as to what just occurred. Flip-side is every Tom, Dick and Josephine can download a live feed of same BOLO and run the other direction from where the PD is looking or commit a crime like a ATM heist and be able to know when the cops get the silent alarm report and know how much time they have to elude. Its a double-edged sword but likely Newsrooms will continue to use scanners up till the time every system is just not listenable anymore.

New protocols are making it less easy for scanner makers to keep up with it all and the P25 Motorola folks will no doubt come out with a voice activated switch for a Phase III mode that makes it near impossible to scan voice comms down the road. DMR is being used very much in schools and private security cause its very private and difficult to listen to. NXDN is similar for small agencies that do not need interop usage.

So in another 10 years when I am 72 I bet I have very few scanners that are worth listening to, but who knows what the future will bring?
 

markemtjd

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Back then there were only 4 police channels and one fire. It was all VHF repeater.
I'm with you re: radio listening history. Here in Los Angeles, It was possible to listen in on everything one needed to, depending on their area, with a 10-channel crystal scanner and probably still have a couple of crystal slots left over.

For me, to listen to LAPD in my particular area, there was one "Dispatch" channel, one "Mobile" channel for each of the five Divisions in our area, and two "Tac" channels, though really we used only one of them. And two Fire channels, one for "Dispatch" and one for "Fireground". So, there you. Eight channels to listen to LAPD and LAFD in my entire local area.

Now? Although "Dispatch" and "Mobile" are on the same channel, in addition to multiple "Tac" channels, we now have "Talkaround" channels for each Division.

My first programmable handheld scanner had 30 channels and I was hard-pressed to think of enough frequencies to fill up all 30. On the plus side of that, I was able to remember, by the frequency number, what it was. There was no alpha tags back then. Having said all that, the crystal scanners just worked better. They could be "tweaked" to "tune" the scanner for better reception. Now, your radio is as good as it comes out of the box. Some are better than others.
 

markemtjd

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Public safety radio is an evolving technology. In its earliest days, radios on fire engines and ambulances and police patrol cars were 25-pound behemoths bolted down inside the trunk. They operated on lower frequencies compared to today’s radio systems.

The police scanner in the newsroom
Up until the 80s, the frequencies used by Los Angeles City Fire Department were still using 33 Mhz frequencies. Life was good! No problem hearing them, PLUS, because of "skip" conditions, we'd often hear departments from the midwest and back east coming in, if conditions were right. But, after we had a major high-rise fire (First Interestate Bank building), they decided to move to 800 Mhz frequencies because those signals were not blocked by walls as the 33 Mhz frequencies were. The downside is, they don't sound as good as the old VHF channels did.
 

allend

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But, the news media has had a huge impact on what we are able to hear these days because they have to get that story.
That's the point now. These city and county agencies do not want the media, stringers, and wack-tards to listen or following public safety around anymore. Technology finally fell on their side and like it or not this is what's is killing information to get to the hands of us people and citizens and the media in REAL TIME. You will just get the watered down pieces when they want to release information at this point.

Matter of fact that Riverside Co issued commercial grade radios to the news media and they yanked it away a few months ago and end of story. Their radio comms and IT dept are just locking everything down and party on in their boys and girls club.
 
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mikewazowski

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Has anyone noticed? The OP hasn't been around to defend his article and it's been almost a week.
If you look closely, he just reposted an article he thought others would find interesting to others. It's not his article so he has nothing to defend.

We have a few members who do the same thing.
 

Amarillo-pronews-7

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As a chief photographer for a Texas based station (that hosts a scanner feed from it's newsroom on RR) I am worried about the push to encrypt everything. If you didn't know already, local municipalities are not only urged by but given large incentives to encrypt by the office of Homeland Security. First of all I'm not against police encrypting their tactical channels (which they do here) but I hope they leave dispatch alone. Not only would it shut the press out ( and not all of us are leftists) but takes away public oversight of public servants. "Trust us - we're from your government" doesn't fly much here in Texas. As for "the media making up just about anything they want" - that's not at all true - at least not at my station.

Before we go on air from breaking news we vet everything through the officiating agency. We do not attribute anything to "scanner traffic" as some stations do. The scanner is a tool, a source but it's where the awareness of a developing breaking news story begins, not ends. The argument being that criminals are using scanner feeds to not get caught doesn't hold water. Although police site some criminals have been apprehended with scanner apps on their phones, the very fact that they were apprehended proves they weren't listening and ( and as point of fact) probably wouldn't understand what they were listening to anyway. I've been monitoring police scanners for over 40 years and I still have to serve as an interpreter for the reporters in our newsroom.

Here in the Texas Panhandle you'll find a police scanner in the home is as common as toasters because they can help keep people safe, safe from wildfires, tornadoes, crime sprees and other natural and man-made disasters. The time-lag between when something concerning public safety is reported by the media and when it was first reported on the scanner can anywhere from many minutes to hours. In that time a lot of people could die, needlessly. The time lag before the police or city send out a "Nixle" about a developing public safety situation can be even longer.

Not to mention, the burden on the tax payer to pay to encrypt is considerable and an unnecessary expense given more modern ways for police to communicate in a secure way - such as on Android/Zello based radios, were large talk-groups (such as SWAT and Narcotics) can be set up for tactical communications. I've seen our undercover narcotics officers using them here. Over 4 million dollars was spent here locally on the city's P-25 PII system - and the communications between agencies didn't become better but has become much worse. They spent millions on a system where the most common phrase heard is "Can you repeat that?" In my opinion that's $4 million that could have been better spent elsewhere like on hiring more police and first responders or on better emergency equipment.
 
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