Radio Trails TV & Internet as “Go To” Source for Breaking Emergency Information

It used to be automatic.  “Back in the day”, radio was the “go to” resource for information in the case of a local emergency, but those days are no more according to a study from Mark Kassof and Co.  Radio now trails television and internet as the place to go for immediate information for severe weather events and breaking local news.  37% of those surveyed say TV is their first option, followed by 25% for internet sources.  Radio, once the top-of-mind #1 choice, has now slipped to just 17%.  Only 17% of 18-64 year old questioned said they would go to radio first.

There are likely many variables at play here, including TV ramping up the the weather game and the explosive growth of digital options including in-the-hand access to breaking info on smart phones, but has radio surrendered part this prime audio real estate willingly?

Reliable digital automation has made it easy for many of us to walk away from the studio (and our audience) after business hours and ALL weekend.  The days of having qualified part-timers on the air to cover fringe and weekend hours have, to a great extent, passed us by.  Some operators have even tried to find creative ways to rotate full-time staff with on-call after-hours duties to cover for the station or the cluster.  While this can work, it can also lead to fatigue during those busy storm seasons and the need to pay overtime (which many resist) or grant comp time.

It’s a shame when listeners tune to their “old favorite” for breaking local weather or news information and all they find are tracks recorded by a jock on Friday afternoon.

Thoughts?  A plan that works for you?  Leave your comments, and thanks for reading.

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Lyman James