DRAT-O, IT’S OTARD

I was having a chat with a colleague the other day on the scintillating topic of OTARD. The acronym stands for Over-The-Air Reception Device and it encompasses the FCC’s
rules and regulations regarding mostly satellite dishes with respect to condo and townhome communities.

Both of us nodded knowingly as each in turn shared stories about overreaching Boards of Directors attempting to put the clamps on satellite dish installation. While specific locations can be mandated—to a certain extent—associations cannot mandate prior approval and cannot outright prohibit installation. This can come as quite a surprise to some associations. The homeowner does not need permission and this is not the purview of architectural review.

Now granted, this is a thumbnail briefing. The regulations are dozens of pages in length as they were drafted by the FEDERAL Communications Commission. OTARD came into being as a means to ensure access to information. To my knowledge, the FCC has always prevailed against an association in the event of a dispute. And that can mean fines along with whatever money the association had had to spend on legal counsel. The moral of the story here is make sure you’re talking to someone with more than a nodding acquaintance of OTARD when the satellite dish issue arises.

When you ask your management professional about OTARD, the answer should be: “Do you have a minute?” or “Let me send you some information”. It shouldn’t be: “Huh?” or “Let me get back to you”. That’s usually code for unconfessed ignorance of the subject.

I’m constantly amazed to learn about all the esoteric parts of a car which the auto mechanics know about. Well they should. They’re the experts. These parts can have a very real impact on the functionality of the vehicle. That’s why you have experts around: to keep you from the deleterious consequences of ignorance of the esoterica.