Radio’s “Hyper-Local” Future – but will we see it?

As a San Diego resident, I recently complained about the lack of the specific information on local radio I need to know about a coming wildfire, especially commercial radio.

Today I see an article on this very topic: “Traditional Media Evolves for Wildfire Coverage, But Hyper-Local Still Lacking.”

Yes, radio – commercial radio – must do a much better job of the hyper-local in order to be relevant as an emergency source in the years to come – assuming, of course, the power doesn’t go out and all other options disappear.

In radio we talk all the time about “local,” but we never ever talk “hyper-local.” That has to change.

Interestingly, this piece specifically mentions various non-radio resources I pointed out in my post as well as the local newspaper’s new streaming radio station, SignOnRadio (which I previously profiled here), which had 25,000 listeners on the second day of the fire – presumably because they were seeking out what they couldn’t get elsewhere.

This piece is a textbook example of how radio – commercial radio – must respond in a crisis. I strongly suggest you study it and integrate it.

I asked John Decker, the program director of the local public station, KPBS, why they went so far out of their way to offer these kinds of services in the crisis. His response: “We had a lot of smart people oriented around a strong public service mission with the right tools to make it happen.”

Shouldn’t we all?

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