Whatever happened to radio?

-A A +A
By Merilee Dannemann

When was the last time you tried to get a weather report in a storm while driving?
The medium that used to be universal and accessible to everybody doesn’t work any more.
That is, the radio in your car: the moving vehicle where your safety is most directly affected by weather.
Nowadays, most radio is a local medium only during weekday morning and evening commuter hours. The rest of the day it’s nationally syndicated. You could be driving straight toward a blizzard, and nobody would interrupt the programming to warn you.
A few Decembers ago, a major snowstorm closed workplaces around noon all over New Mexico. Concerned about how to get home, I tried to find road condition reports on several radio stations, but none of them were interrupting their regular programming to give weather or road news.   
When I arrived home, the local TV stations were giving detailed storm information every 10 minutes. From the comfort of my living room I watched the reports of the thousands of cars backed up where the freeways were closed.
But the drivers of those cars, who might have changed their plans, didn’t have access to those reports.