Editorial: Ready for the Big One?

JohnLund_200By: John C. Lund
The Lund Consultants, Inc.

Spring has arrived (in some places with a last cold blast), and that means spring storms are not far away. This is the season for tornadoes, flooding, and (well, maybe not in Michigan), preparation for hurricane season.

Natural disasters and major storms are a platform for all broadcasters to provide outstanding coverage to their local communities. But while TV, cable, and online services require power, radio remains a medium where batteries allow continued service to update their listeners and community at any time. Your disaster plan should be in place, outlining how you cover the events that are most likely for your market.

  • Speaking of batteries, always have a healthy supply. Power goes quickly, as snowstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes have proven time and time again.
  • Your contact list is vital, and having preset staff assignments will lessen confusion.
  • Know how to reach all community leaders, including where they live.
  • Be ready to mobilize vehicles, as well as people. Provide necessary food, water, and sleeping space for your staff.
  • If your studio is compromised, have a backup location (maybe at your tower site).
  • Text often continues to work when cell voice service doesn’t. Having a text service for your audience is a strong feature during bad weather events.
  • Old two way radios can be a godsend when cell towers are down or overloaded.
  • Generators are good, but so is gas to operate them.
  • Most of all, involve your audience as eyes and ears. They can be your strongest reporters.

The Lund Consultants have decades of experience in helping stations assemble disaster plans and providing solid community service that translates to great ratings. A station is only as good as its coverage of the last disaster. Are you ready?

Create Your Disaster Plan

Tornado, oil slick, earthquake, hurricane…whatever the disaster, have a plan to cover the event better than any competitor. Don’t cede this service element to smart phones! See the Lund Disaster Stylebook – a how-to guide that details every step of advance planning, execution, and follow-up.

Reprinted from The Lund Letter.  Subscribe for free here.

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