Winter storms are when radio stations earn the respect of listeners or their wrath. If we do a good job, it's expected. If we let them down in their time of need, kiss your listeners goodbye! This is especially true during a storm that impacts the safety of the listener and their family. One need only look at the recent ice storms that left many people freezing in the dark. Radio is a lifeline in times of bad weather. Battery and crank up radios help provide information, comfort and companionship. TV and the internet in a home with no power is not an option.
Listeners have long memories when it comes to being let down by their favourite go to radio station. If they have to move across the dial to find information and especially companionship on the radio, they remember who helped them through the bad times when the power comes back on. In fact, they will spend more time listening to that other radio station - a radio station they probably never listened to before.
The trick to a winning storm coverage game plan is to ensure that your main announcers are involved in the coverage - even if it happens on a weekend or a holiday. Nothing says a radio station cares about the community more than having your morning man or afternoon drive announcers and news anchors on the air on weekends and holidays to help their listeners through a bad storm. That can make the difference between winning the hearts of listeners in a bad situation over the other station who may be doing a better job covering the storm.
Storm coverage is the ultimate live reality show on the radio because when it comes to Mother Nature, you never know what she is going to throw your way. It is also great team building where everyone on and off air have a role to play; from the receptionist coming in early to field calls from school boards and listeners to secretaries and sales reps calling in to describe their drive into work, to the producers, on air hosts, anchors and reporters out in the snow