Here’s part of a press release from Sprint regarding preparations it is making in order to respond to an emergency weather event. In its announcement, Sprint highlights the public service benefits of broadcast radio during times of emergency and directs customers to download the NextRadio app that allows users to listen to their local radio stations without needing to rely on a wireless network:
“For customers looking for additional communications resources during an emergency, Sprint exclusively offers the NextRadio(R) interactive FM radio application, which receives FM radio broadcasts in a user’s local area through a built-in FM tuner inside the smartphone. Available on select Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA Android-powered smartphones, the free Google Play app allows consumers to listen to FM radio stations on the go.
By downloading NextRadio, Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA customers can use their Android smartphone to receive news and information from local broadcast affiliates during times of emergency. FM radio can be a lifeline to citizens when other communication networks suffer disaster- related outages, such as hurricanes.
Preparedness and post-storm tips for Sprint customers
Wireless consumers are also encouraged to use the following tips to prepare for a hurricane, severe flood or other natural disasters:
— Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency
events, so remember to send text messages, rather than call.
— Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries charged, but be aware that
an interruption of wireline and commercial power could affect wireless
calls. If possible, get extra batteries and charge them.
— In times of commercial power outages, a car adapter for your wireless
phone should enable you to recharge the battery.
— Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid
— Load family and emergency numbers into your wireless phone.
— Use your Sprint phone to take digital pictures or video of your property
and valuables before the storm hits. Upload the images to a cloud service
so you have “before” pictures in the event of any storm damage.
RBR-TVBR observation: The seed has been firmly planted. The more that Sprint touts the fact that is has a potentially life-saving way to get information built into their phones, other carriers will follow suit—more than we’ve seen up to this point. As well, eventually with the NextRadio app, consumers are going to “rediscover radio” in ever-increasing numbers. All about the packaging? A smartphone with the NextRadio app is actually full of internet-era technology—and looks much more acceptable than carrying around a transistor radio these days.