Radio to the Rescue: How Did Your Coverage Stack Up?

 In Blog

by Randy Lane and Cliff Dumas

“Listen to the radio!” FEMA director Craig Fugate told people that the best way to get information about hurricane Sandy was battery powered radios since the internet may go out and cell phone service may be congested.

Radio stations in New Jersey and the other states that got hammered by 1029_SR_SANDY.jpgSandy provided wall-to-wall coverage on the air, on social media and via text alerts. Thousands of people shared photos and stories on social media with the stations.

What can you do on huge stories like this when you live outside the impacted area? Consider these ideas to address a disaster:

  • Put together a plan for any potential crisis that affects your audience. The winter storm, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, etc. How will you handle it? What roles will which each member of the team be responsible for?


  • Mention an event this big in every segment of your show.


  • Get as much audio on the air as possible.


  • Create a list of expert contacts, so you’re ready when an emergency breaks. Waiting until an emergency happens is not the time to hunt down an expert.Have experts such as meteorologists for weather related disasters and psychologists to advise people on ways to cope.


  • Include a local component. Talk to local experts about your community’s ability and readiness to handle the same kind of crisis.


  • Get stories from people in the disaster if possible, or from people connected to them.


  • Contact radio stations in the disaster areas to get stories related to the disaster.


  • Connect people who can’t connect with loved ones on social media. Ask people to post video messages to your Facebook page. Play the audio of the videos on the air.


  • Dispense helpful information. For example, how long food refrigerated food lasts when there is a power outage.


  • Rather than reposting information/videos or photos that your audience can find everywhere on the web, create a conversation and engage your audience. Give them a place to share their stories on-air and online.

How did your coverage stack up?

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