Radio in action as the Red River rises


Farm fields are under water and cities are erecting sand bag walls as the Red River floods out of its banks along the North Dakota-Minnesota border. Radio stations are doing what they do best – serving as a central hub to keep communities informed.

Folks in the Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN area have experienced several flooding threats in recent years from the Red River. But conditions are different every time, so local radio stations have become information centers to keep people informed on how fast the river is rising and what areas are threatened with flooding. To be sure, the TV stations in the area are also on the job, but flood threats last for days and days – and radio is fully portable for people to keep up to the minute on what’s happening.

With Internet streaming, RBR-TVBR was able to check in Friday to hear how the News/Talk stations in Fargo were handling the situation. As you would expect, both KFGO-AM and WDAY-AM were wall to wall with flood coverage and emergency information.

We listened as KFGO wrapped up live coverage of a meeting by North Dakota’s governor with local officials, with the reporter closing out the broadcast by noting that “The Mighty 790” was “Live, Local and First.” The station was preparing to broadcast live coverage a similar visit from the governor of Minnesota, also on Friday, as the river continued to rise.

RBR-TVBR observation: Nothing unusual, really. It was exactly what we expected to hear. It is the strength of local radio and why it has remained a vital media force throughout the US for nearly 90 years – despite the misinformation you hear from critics inside the Beltway.

NOTE: See the Special reportIn Case of Emergency – Case Study THE FLOOD of the CENTURY
RBR-TVBR did a three part series on being prepared for an emergency. You can find this complete series at and now is a good time for every broadcaster to read this series as flood season is now here.