Victoria, Australia is heading into the period of highest risk for bushfires and already the inherent strength of radio as a primary media channel is emerging as we experience our first 39 deg (Celsius) day of the summer. Many people with images of January 2009's Black Friday still burning in their memories were unable to access the Country Fire Authority's (CFA's) website designed to provide them with advance fire warnings as the web traffic clearly outran the available bandwidth.
And what channel emerged as the people's champion? Radio. What a boost for this oft forgotten media channel - the poor relation of the more image and content-rich channels of TV and the web. Even a government official on tonight's ABC National News advised that radio was the best channel to use to update on this life and death information.
So media planners, ignore radio at your peril. It is simple, long-proven technology that rarely fails. It can penetrate home theatre systems, iPods, transistor radios, mobile phones and even the web. And it's cheap, enabling high frequency. How many technologies can boast reliable penetration of all those access points.
If I was a radio marketing guy, I'd be pointing this out, particularly during the tinder dry summer months that have become the norm in our part of the world. You can guarantee that, at least over our hottest months, radio will extend your reach better than ever before.