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Radio Not Top of Mind for Alerting, Survey Says

Americans go to TV, Internet, then AM/FM for emergency information, says Mark Kassof & Co.

Americans tune to TV, the Internet and then radio for emergency alerting information, according to a survey from Mark Kassof & Co.

Researchers asked where participants would go first for information about emergencies like a gas leak or a fire, and gave them six choices: AM or FM radio, the Internet, newspapers, television, smartphone apps or something else. The majority said TV (37%), followed by the Internet (25%) and radio (17%). Smartphone apps came in fourth at13%, followed by police/fire/911 at 2%. Four percent chose “other” and 1% either said they didn’t know or refused to answer.

“Demographically, we find a huge divide between 18–44s and 45–64s, but relative to TV and new tech, not radio. Half of 45–64s would turn first to TV, while only 28% of 18–44s would,” according to Kassof. A third of 18–44s would go to the Internet, while only 14% of 45–64s would. Fifteen percent of the 18–44s chose radio, compared to 18% of the 45–64s. And use of smartphone apps among the younger group (17%) is almost double that of the older group (9%), according to the research.

Radio’s demo divide is based on gender, not age. Men (20%) are more likely to turn to radio during emergencies than women (12%) are. “Most likely to turn to radio are 45–64 men … 24% say they would go to radio. But, that’s still half of the 45–54 men that would turn to TV,” according to Kassof.

What does it all mean? Some two years ago, Kassof notes that as he and his daughter rode out a tornado near their house, she gave him updates via Twitter. “At a time with more competition than ever, too many stations have cut and cut and cut personnel until there’s no one in the stations who can serve their communities when they’re needed most. And we see the results,” he notes.

The information is based on a survey of some 700 participants, age18–64.