If a big storm takes out the power to most of the town, you turn on the radio to find out what’s happening. When will power be restored? Are the schools and hospitals open? Should I stay put, or head for the hills?
Local radio stations have a long tradition of staying on the air, no matter what. They understand that they provide a crucial link to important information for the residents of the community they serve.
But, in the process of upgrading our facilities, sometimes the certainty of staying on the air is compromised.
This last winter brought several significant weather events, from hurricanes to blizzards to flooding. In some cases, local broadband data services (wireless and internet) have gone down, or been shut off intentionally to avoid major damage to the equipment. The problem is… many radio broadcasters have recently come to rely on these services as their primary means of delivering the audio from the studio location to the remote transmitter site. When the internet service shuts down, there’s no audio to feed the transmitter. You’re OFF THE AIR!!
It’s not difficult to set up a stand-by source of program material that will automatically play some generic audio if the link from the studio is down. But that’s not good enough when the public needs to hear current information RIGHT NOW. It’s a good idea to have a plan for getting audio to the transmitter when the usual paths aren’t operating.
– Dial-up telephone line. (Just about as reliable as radio for being there when you need it.) Call the transmitter site on a conventional land-line telephone. You can put the phone call on the air by using a controller such as DR10 or TAC5.
– Have a small mic and mixer set up at the transmitter site. (See our Podcast Packages). If you can get to the location, you can go on the air live from the transmitter building. And if you have 2-way radios to communicate with local emergency agencies, you will have the most current information to report.
Do what you can to keep your community informed in an emergency. They are your audience. They are your advertisers. They are your neighbors. Be sure they can depend on your station whenever they need to know what’s important. Because radio is Always On.