Radio Rock-otillo Is On The Air
By Andrew Fitzpatrick

Ocotillo Wells SVRA Radio Rock-otillo CardTravelers on Highway 78 may have noticed a bright new resident near Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area.  Since Thanksgiving, Ocotillo Wells SVRA has been advertising its naturalist programs and policies with the help of an electronic message board sign.  While this sign is having a visible and positive influence on the park’s visitors, a new and invisible addition will hopefully have an even greater effect.

Ocotillo Wells audibly unwrapped its new public information radio station just in time for the Holidays. Located on AM 1620, “Radio Rock-otillo” will broadcast interpretive program advertising, natural resource messages, visitor information, and safety advice.

Even a brief listen to Radio Rock-otillo will highlight one fact:  this is not your traditional park radio station.  But of course some might say, Ocotillo Wells SVRA is not your traditional park.  “Know your visitors” is a popular proverb in the world of Parks & Recreation.  With this useful adage in mind, Ocotillo Wells sought a fast, fun format in order to best sustain the continued interest of our visitors.  Music samples, sound-bytes, and a DJ-like atmosphere are combined with teasers of upcoming tours, fun facts about park wildlife, and reminders of park policy.  This content is randomly mixed together to avoid repetition so Radio Rock-otillo certainly feels like a real radio station.

Photo of the mobile radio broadcast systemThe infrastructure and digital framework of Radio Rock-otillo has been provided by InfoGuys, a small company out of Phoenix, AZ.  Their creative radio savvy meshed well with our “outside-of-the-box” concept to produce the station’s on-air content.  Their mobile broadcast system was also perfect for a park setting.  Solar-powered and sanitized against invasive species, it has a range of about 5 miles in every direction.     

For a recreational group that has never really been approached with naturalist programs, OHV enthusiasts have responded overwhelmingly with “thumbs up” to our new interpretation campaign.  With the addition of Radio Rock-otillo, we are sure visitors to our beautiful Borrego Valley will continue to leave it happier, safer, and better informed.