Thursday, September 03, 2009

Why Have One Emergency Radio When Two Would Be Better?

It's time to ramp up your bad weather preparedness tools and education on air, and the Department of Homeland Security has a great reminder of how key radio can be at those times.

Lasting positive images are built (or lost) at those times, since it only works if your station has a plan to be there for your audience whenever the weather turns bad.

Every business needs a "bad weather plan," especially every radio station.

Include in that plan imaging to reinforce element association to "dependability" and "reliability." Station association to "trust." Encourage listeners to "use" the station with a weather-related call to action "when you need to know."

But, don't promise it if you can't deliver on it, 24/7, especially during the upcoming bad weather months.

1 comment:

Jerry Del Colliano said...

To be sure the fire has killed and has ravaged the landscape. Angelinos are used to natural disasters almost as a trade-off for all the good weather of living in Southern California.

Nonetheless, what has happened during this crisis begs the question -- does the media matter in natural disasters?

While the broadcast towers were in harm's way, it appears the populace could live without TV as a news source.

Yes, the pictures are dramatic but it almost seems that the deadly fires are being covered the way LA TV stations cover a high-speed chase on one of their freeways.

Radio stations are doing better.

CBS' all-news KNX-AM and news/talk KFWB have rallied their troops -- albeit it a reduced number of troops due to layoffs. One can only wonder what a full staff, say, the size of ten years ago could do. All-news radio stations tend to service older -- over 60 -- audiences so that leaves the younger demographic stations to try and reach them with critical news and public service information.

To the credit of some of these younger skewing stations, they've stepped it up even in light of the fact that most music stations don't adequately cover routine news let alone emergencies.

But the mindset of radio broadcasters today in People Meter markets is -- play the music, gag the dj and win larger cumes. It apparently works in terms of metrics but it's debatable as to whether the approach feeds rabid radio listeners.

Not even a wildfire is going to get in the way of this misguided PPM strategy. These LA stations -- like their counterparts in other big PPM cities -- are facing a natural disaster of their own -- not making their numbers for the quarter. To them -- playing lots of music puts out that fire.

I don't agree, of course.