Effective communications are critical for running large events smoothly and safely. No one wants their star act to walk onto a dark stage or perform to an audience that can’t hear them, but that could happen if the stage manager can’t communicate with lighting and sound crews. Clear communications are just as critical to ensuring crowd control and safety. Given the stakes involved, two-way radios are often a smart investment.
Renting two-way radios for events avoids the potential pitfalls of using cellphones and is the hands-down safer, more reliable strategy. When planning your next concert, show or sporting event, consider these advantages of two-way radios, also known as long-range walkie talkies, as well as tips for setup and two-way radio frequency programming.
Benefits of two-way radios for events
Two-way radios contribute to safe, successful events in a multitude of ways.
Perhaps the most important benefit of two-way radios over cellphones is their quality of communication. These radios provide clear sound and work on a closed-loop network rather than a public cellular or wifi network. With a properly designed setup, you’ll always get a signal. In addition, closed-loop networks are much harder to hack than public networks. This helps protect two-way radio communications from interference from bad actors.
Increased focus and productivity
Cellphones can be as distracting for adults as they are for kids. With two-way radios, there’s no risk that event personnel will be flooded by irrelevant text message chains or consumed by social media when they should be working. Using radios helps keep them focused on the tasks at hand.
Channels for each team
Two-way radios allow you to assign specific channels for specific teams—perhaps one channel for the backstage team, another for crowd control, and another for parking—so teams can communicate directly without distracting other teams with extraneous chatter.
If an event guest or staffer gets hurt, security and health and safety teams need to be alerted immediately, without the risk of a dropped call, misdial or unexpected gap in connectivity. A two-way radio solution that’s been set up by professionals will work reliably in these instances.
In addition, most professional commercial radios have an “all call” button. If a catastrophe occurs and you need to alert everyone who holds a radio to a safety issue, you can press this button and instantly communicate with all of them. This simply isn’t possible with a cellphone.
Getting the most out of your two-way event radios
Long-range walkie talkies are durable and easy to use, but they require some expertise to program and, occasionally, to repair. To be assured of flawless communications, consider partnering with a vendor that can help you choose the best two-way radios for your event, as well as provide custom radio programming and maintenance. The right partner will also be able to manage testing and troubleshooting.
Two-way radio frequency programming
Setting up two-way radios correctly can be tricky. If you’re not well versed in two-way radio channels and frequencies, it’s easy to make a mistake, especially under the stress of producing a large event. Creating interference with channels used by county first responders can result in fines and, in extreme circumstances, even jail time. A full-service rental radio vendor that offers custom programming can suggest radios with the right wattage and set up the proper frequencies and multiple channels for you.
Wattage and dead zones
If your event footprint is large, or vertical obstacles such as buildings threaten radio connectivity, you’ll need to solve for these problems by sizing the solution correctly and adding repeaters as necessary. An equipment partner such as United Rentals can conduct a propagation study that allows for the detection of any dead zones before the event. They can then test the radio solution and bring in a radio trailer if necessary, ensuring a strong signal in all locations.
More reliable and easier to use than cellphones, long-range walkie talkies are a crucial contributor to event success. Professional setup from an experienced rental radio provider can help ensure they work without a hitch.