I’m electronically challenged this week due to Sandy. While the first couple of days weren’t so bad, we’re now into day four and the outage is losing its charm. It’s really hard to keep up with news when you don’t have Internet or television. Unfortunately, the local radio programming in our part of the world is completely inadequate. Most stations have few or no news reporters. So there’s a ton of local news and a real dearth of local news reporting. Texts have become my primary way of staying connected. School cancellations come by text as well.
I have to admit, this has given me pause to think about the value of an fm chip in phones. Even though I can listen to a stream right now, my battery charge is a little too precious for that. Would I listen to broadcast radio on my phone during this outage? I might, especially if I could get decent local news by live reporters who would tell me what the power outage situation is, update me on what is going on in town, what roads are flooded, and where I can get an Internet connection. Some of my neighbors are looking for even more basic information like showers and water.
Unfortunately, a lot of local radio stations have peeled back their staffs to such a point that the only “local” programming they offer is top-of-the-hour headline news, and some ads. That’s not the kind of thing that is going to make people listen on their smartphones, even if they could..