We’re Still There
When You Need Us
was aghast at an interview I saw with a New York area resident, a young
20-something guy, about the abysmal storm recovery response there. Toward the
end of the interview, this guy blurts out, “We’re getting no information at all
Wow! What a lack
of knowledge about the world around him. Consider: The New York area is the
number one radio market in the United States. New York City has three
50,000-watt radio stations, whose signals blanket the area. Their signals are
so strong, I can receive them here in Ohio at night: WOR(AM), WABC(AM) and
three of these talk stations provided information during Hurricane Sandy.
However, they also are all on the AM band.
Sadly, this young
man and his friends don’t seem to have heard of, much less bothered to listen
to, any of these stations. Because who
listens to AM radio anymore?
to the “new normal,” broadcasters! You’ve been listening to people like me,
who’ve been in the business for about 40 years, telling you about a whole new
generation of Americans who think radio is totally irrelevant and not something
to include as part of their lives. Here he is … and consider it a slap in your
This shows, in
Day-Glo orange, that my industry is doing a terrible job of getting the word
out about what they do and how radio can affect and improve their lives.
might not be a bad idea for FM stations during during a major storm to say,
“Tonight is election night and our sister station X on the AM frequency is
providing complete election returns right now, so tune in.” Or, “For complete
storm updates, tune to X on the AM dial.”
complain to me about Clear Channel, Entercom, Cumulus, Cox, voice-tracking and
all the other excuses that allow you to complain and whine that radio is no
longer “live and local” 24/7/365. Facts are, most all areas of the country have
at least one station that goes “live and local” when these emergencies happen,
for as long as needed until the emergency has passed. In some cases, they’re FM
music stations. In others, you’ll have to flip the switch from “FM” to “AM.”
has now been around for just shy of 100 years. And today, you don’t even have
to have batteries for one. There are “emergency radios” that cost anywhere from
$19.95 to $39.95. These can operate in any situation. And many will receive
AM/FM and, in some cases, police band and shortwave. They’re environmentally
exception of a few small daytime-only stations, the vast majority of radio
stations now all operate 24/7/365.
Yes, listeners, you have to put up with some
commercials. But that’s the price you pay, other than the cost of the radio
itself, for the information you’re getting around the clock.
unplug from your iPod or iPhone and rediscover that ancient “old technology” of
radio. We’re still there when you need us.
News Anchor, Programming Assistant
Cox Media Group
‘High Tech’ Often Fails in Crises
In his Nov. 19 column, “Sandy Highlighted
Radio’s Enduring Power,” Paul McLane wrote, “Radio received many such reviews
(though sometime with a condescending subtext: ‘Not bad for an otherwise
This reminds me of the comment made by a
Motorola rep just after Katrina. With 35 percent of the cell and public service
systems down, amateur radio operators stepped in to help with communications.
It was a good demonstration of how ham radio can help, and also how fragile our
cell/public service infrastructure is.
At a post-Katrina press conference, the FEMA
director praised the hams, which led to the quote by the Motorola rep: “Their
efforts were better than nothing, and ham radio is as close to nothing as one
As a communications officer/deputy in our county, and co-chairman of our
EAS district, I’m concerned about how our so-called high-tech infrastructure
holds up under these emergencies. It seems that the more complex it is, the
more the chance for failure.
I’ve seen our communications go
down several times, and in those times, conditions were nowhere near the level
of Katrina or Sandy.
On another note, here in the Midwest, we have a
lot of big, corporate stations operating, mostly unattended. This past June,
when we had our big windstorm, our TV station was on a full hour and a half
before it hit Lima, Ohio, warning of the storm. Up to 10 minutes after the
storm, the radio stations were still playing “more music,” and one cluster vanished
from the radio dials.
As a curmudgeon of the old days of public
service, I really hate to see radio degraded like this. In bigger towns —
Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus — they were on top of it. But markets 100+ in Ohio
and Indiana suffered from the “station running on automation syndrome.”