A recent article in Radio Ink highlights the importance of radio during emergencies. Like most state emergency agencies, Hawaii focused on social media and Internet warnings. However, these proved ineffective during the early stages of the disaster.
Rado Ink’s discussion with Chuck Bergson, President and CEO of Pacific Media Group, which runs six stations on Maui, is very instructive. According to Mr. Bergson:
“Radio has been the only lifeline and line of communication to the people of West Maui. For days there has been no power, no water, and no Internet service. The power is slowly coming back online.
It was frustrating in the early stages of the crisis because the local government officials did not fully understand the capabilities and importance of radio. In the beginning, they were directing people to a website but that was useless because no one had internet.
We eventually got the government leaders to give us information updates [to get on the air]. We were asking for them as often as possible, but ended up with a 9 AM a 12 noon and a 3 PM update daily. Our team worked tirelessly and into long hours into and overnight to keep the public informed and calm.”
Radio is essential during emergencies. We must continually remind our elected officials of this fact.
You can see the full interview in Radio Ink here.