Global: Facing state of emergency on the front line

0
Facebook News Radio Bona Rossa in times of Coronavirus
Coping in times of Coronavirus at Radio Zona Rossa
Source

Codogno, one of the first Italian towns put into quarantine on February 21st, 2020, with all access roads blocked until midnight on March 9th, 2020, has a half hour programme called ‘Radio Zona Rossa’ on the parish radio station Radio Codogno.  The aim of the transmission is to give information through brief, live news updates to all those confined at home in the town. Community broadcasters serve the local populations more efficiently in emergencies and their work should be much more appreciated by governments.

More funds less bureaucracy

Cyclone Fani
Cyclone Fani
Source

In Italy funding is required. The associations of broadcasters are asking the government for financial aid due to them not being able to continue giving information about the coronavirus crisis because of lack of investment in advertising.

Whereas in India a simplified bureaucratic system would be sufficient. The national association of Indian community broadcasters has asked for more streamlined bureaucratic procedures to enable them to restart transmitting immediately when radio studios suffer damage by natural disasters.  This is in order not to have a repetition of the calamity on May 3rd, 2019, when Cyclone Fani interrupted broadcasting of a number of radio stations in the municipality of Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

The right words to prevent panic

CBAA Emergency Broadcasting in Australia
Article from CBAA: Emergency Broadcasting in Australia
Source

Managing emergency transmissions involves enormous responsibility.  Radio presenters must choose the words they use with great care to avoid spreading panic.  In countries like Australia, where bush fires devastated the continent until the middle of February,  broadcasters are obliged to follow the guidance of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience.  They provide specific measures to be followed when deciding not only if and when to report the news and the way it should be made public, but they also outline how to structure the content and choice of words.

The consequences of Coronavirus on radio stations

0
Website of Radio Energy Turin
Website of Radio Energy Turin
Source

Less commercials, cancelled events and audience loss: in Italy, first European country to quarantine its citizens, also the radio is suffering from Coronavirus.

With companies closed and consumptions limited to basic commodities (shopping at the pharmacy or at the supermarket) the consequences on advertisings revenue is the same for every media. Consequently, the Italian government had planned (and later cancelled) to assign 40 million Euros as a bonus to help radio-television broadcasters, out of the 25 billion Euros allocated to support economy (decree of March 16th, 2020, called “Cura Italia”) . This was based on the relevant cuts in advertising’s investments reported by Confindustria Radio Televisioni, an association that represents the main networks.

Record audience for TV

Website of Auditel
Website of Auditel
Source

According to Auditel’s data, however, during the first quarantine week a boom of TV-audience has been noticed, forcing the research institute (that does the scan with the meter) to postpone the report’s publication. On March 10th, 2020, the first day of quarantine for the whole country, the viewers increased by 1,7 million against one week before, with 2,65 million more during prime time.

On March 15th, 2020, despite sport programmes and other popular shows had been cancelled, the prime time viewers increased by 5,1 million. A rise in audience like this surely increases the value of commercials, but is still not enough to make up for the general loss in advertising investment.

And what about Radio?

Website of TER (Tavolo Editori Radio)
Website of TER (Tavolo Editori Radio)
Source

Radio broadcasters did register a loss of audience especially during the morning, usually rich in commercials: in car the traditional radio listening still prevails, but will the quarantined commuters still listen to the transmission that accompanied them on their way to work? Or are they going to sleep for an extra hour?

On the other hand, the ones that are experiencing smart working, or the ones that are at home forced by the temporary closure of their companies, are they going to turn on their radios or their TV sets? 
In a couple of months we’ll have some statistics that will tell us if radios took advantage of this epidemic, or if TV or other media prevail.
To know that, we have to wait for the next Ter’s research ( the “Tavolo Editori Radiofonici” published on March 10th, 2020, the results of the first round, made of 30.000 surveys done since January 21st, 2020)