Emergencies in a world without broadcast


A kerosene company in Pennsylvania recently found itself in a situation that could provide a look into the future, if an emergency situation eliminates the ability of broadcast outlets to provide information. The company was trying to recall kerosene that had been tainted with gasoline, presenting fire and explosion risks. The problem is that the substance is commonly used by the Amish for stoves and lamps, but it is not used to fire up radios or television sets. The kerosene company was looking for people who could help spread the word among the Amish community.

RBR/TVBR observation: It looks like the DTV transition is going to increase the number of households relying on MVPDs for service. When electricity is down, so are MVPDs. Analog TV sets that work when served by an MVPD won’t, and there aren’t all that many battery-powered TVs out there anyway. So the burden of providing critical emergency information is likely to fall very heavily on radio for the next few years.