It should come as no surprise that when severe weather hits, the locals turn to radio to get their information. Well, perhaps that’s a surprise to Tim Cook and Apple. According to Nielsen, the recent extreme weather that battered Texas and Florida provided a spike in listening for News/Talk stations. Nielsen said the spike occurred during the September PPM survey (August 17-September 13).
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit during the September survey. Here’s what Nielsen says about how that impacted ratings: “Harvey made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25 and 26 during the second week of the survey, directly or indirectly affecting four of Nielsen’s PPM markets in the state (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas).” Irma was two weeks later, hitting Florida on Sept. 10 before moving on to affect five different markets in the sunshine state (Miami, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville).
Nielsen states that while each storm was unique, the ratings firm saw a common thread across all of the affected markets. “Audience tune-in to local news radio stations surged during the week each hurricane arrived. Regardless of evacuations, flooding, power outages, or disruption from the storms, the reach of local news radio stations spiked the week that each storm made landfall. The following graphics combine all of the news-formatted radio stations (All News, News/Talk, and Spanish News/Talk, both commercial and non-commercial) in each market and compare the specific hurricane week to the four weeks prior.”