Thursday, May 17, 2018

When Weather Is Bad, Radio Is At Its Best

The fall of 2017 was one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, and in places like Puerto Rico, which experienced immense damage from multiple storms, the recovery and rebuilding process continues today.

In Puerto Rico, which is a Nielsen diary market, the just-released winter 2018 survey reveals a rise in listening to news-formatted radio stations as a result of last year’s tumultuous weather.

Nielsen’s fall 2017 survey was not conducted after measurement operations were suspended following Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Sept 20, 2017. As infrastructure recovery has progressed, however, Nielsen has been able to resume surveying on the island.

As detailed in the chart, which combines all of the news-formatted radio stations Nielsen measures in Puerto Rico (16 of them carrying the News/Talk format and another five broadcasting Spanish News/Talk), tune-in across Puerto Rico spiked significantly during the winter survey when compared against previous survey periods.

This mirrors the patterns we observed in both Texas and Florida, where audiences tuned into the radio for news and information during such a disruptive hurricane season.

During the September portable people meter (PPM) survey, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas (on Aug. 25); just two weeks later, Hurricane Irma came ashore in Florida (on Sept. 10).

These two storms affected nine different major markets. While each one was unique, there is a common thread of tune-in to local news radio stations increasing dramatically during the week those storms arrived. Regardless of evacuations, flooding, or power outages, the reach of local news radio stations spiked during the specific week those hurricanes rumbled into town.

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