Arbitron Diarykeepers Remind Radio of Its Power and Influence During Troubled Times

Hurrican iconDiary comments from Hurricane Katrina markets underscore the necessity of radio during a storm and, more importantly, when there is no power.

Read the diary comments here.

As Americans throughout the Gulf region are putting their lives together following the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, it is apparent that residents throughout the region depended on the radio to stay informed about the storm.

diary page imageIn a special examination of Arbitron Radio listening diaries that were kept during the week that Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, many listeners made it a point to acknowledge the hard work of local radio stations in the “comments” section of the diary. Others noted long listening spans with remarks such as “hurricane coverage.”

Katrina’s power was such that the Summer ’05 and Fall ’05 Arbitron surveys for New Orleans and the Fall ’05 Arbitron survey for Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula will not be published. Katrina struck the Gulf Coast during the ninth week of the Summer survey; the comments listed below are from Week 9 diaries from Baton Rouge, Birmingham and Mobile radio markets.

The diaries also revealed generous amounts of time spent listening to hurricane coverage during and after the storm. For example, one female listener in Baton Rouge entered 24 hours of listening, including the entry “All night hurricane coverage” on Tuesday, August 30. Another female, in Mobile, entered listening to one station from 8AM to 10PM with the notation “Hurricane Katrina” in the space in between the start and stop times. Of course, not all of the diary entries reflected long listening, but it is clear that many residents across the Gulf region depended on their radios for their connection to the world.

These diary entries are similar to diarykeeper entries during the Florida hurricanes of 2004. In fact, listener behaviors during natural disasters can be remarkably similar and thus planned for by radio stations. For a recap of listener behaviors during and following a hurricane, as well as advice that your station can follow when planning for disasters, check out Arbitron’s Riding Out the Storm: The Vital Role of Local Radio in Times of Crisis.

Here are select comments from the diaries:

 Diary Sample

“Without radio, it’s like having no electric power. You’re out of touch with what’s going on. I’d always have radio first … Radio is ALIVE.” (Female, 56, Baton Rouge)

Diary Sample 3

“[XXXX] is doing a great job of keeping us informed of updates on the aftermath of Katrina. Our area has been greatly affected and we appreciate the radio personnel who are working so hard.” (Female, 27, Mobile)

Diary Sample 5

“Because of the hurricane we have experienced a more renewed pattern of radio listening. The stations combined themselves to give more news and coverage of the situation and we listened.” (Female, 57, Baton Rouge)

Diary Sample 7

“All [XXXX] radio stations did an excellent job on the hurricane coverage.” (Female, 43, Mobile)

 Diary Sample 2

“Thank you for all the hurricane coverage on the radio. I had no power so I had to depend on radio to get news.” (Female, 59, Mobile)

Diary Sample 4

“This survey coincided with Hurricane Katrina; thus our radio contacts were more important than ever. We live in Baldwin County, Alabama and our power was out for much of the week. Both [XXX] and [XXX] were extremely important to us this week.” (Male, 68, Mobile)

Diary Sample 6

“After Hurricane Katrina touched down, disaster struck. Almost all stations were about the aftermath, so I listened to that. The DJs are really good. They told me everything I was worried about. So, I just wanna say they did a really good job and to keep it up.” (Male, 13, Baton Rouge)

Diary Sample 8

“Both [XXX] and [XXX] were very important and helpful during Hurricane Katrina.” (Female, 66, Baton Rouge)

Diary Sample 9

“Hurricane coverage was priceless!!!” (Female, 49, Baton Rouge)