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Chileans Depend on Radio

The population prefers radio to other media, report says

Luis Pardo Sainz is the president of the Asociación de Radiodifusores de Chile (ARCHI).

SANTIAGO, Chile — According to a survey from GFK Adimark, released after fires ravaged parts of Chile in February, 82 percent of the population said they turn to radio, over other media for vital information. Social media came in second with 65 percent, television claimed third with 62 percent, followed by newspapers with 61 percent.

“There’s a practical reason for this choice,” explains Luis Pardo Sainz, president of the country’s radio broadcast association, Asociación de Radiodifusores de Chile. “Electricity often goes out during catastrophes, but radio stations can continue to transmit using their backup generators,” he said.

To strengthen radio’s role during emergency situations, ARCHI organizes crisis management training courses to help journalists understand and accurately report on information related to seismic, volcanic and extreme weather conditions. “In some cases during disasters, local radio stations in Chile organize joint broadcasts, share information, equipment and provide general assistance,” Pardo added.

“Collaboration protocols between the Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior y Seguridad Pública (the National Emergency Office of the Minister of the Interior and Public Security) and ARCHI are in place, and our organization actively participates in emergency planning,” continued Pardo. “When a major incident occurs, radio broadcasters in Chile are prepared to help out with the various aspects of crisis management. This brings calm and relief to many people.”

Pardo added that ARCHI has alliances with social and religious organizations such as Hogar de Cristo and Un Techo Para Chile, stating that together they also organize fundraising campaigns.

Because of radio’s importance in times of disaster, ONEMI has now decided to include a low-cost solar radio receiver in the emergency kit that is distributed to the population during emergencies. Designed by Shackleton Group Chile, this device, made of cardboard, runs without batteries or electricity.

Beyond emergencies, many Chileans still tend to favor radio over other forms of entertainment. Latest surveys show 80 percent of those over the age of 15 listening to radio frequently, while 62 percent listen to it daily.