Thursday, September 18, 2008

Disappointed in emergency response

I need to express a sense of disappointment with WMUB’s handling of the recent weather crisis/power outage. I’m moved to express this because I realized, about 3 o’clock this past Sunday, how utterly dependent I am on WMUB for information in emergency situations.

With no other link to the outside world, I cranked up my radio and listened anxiously to what WMUB had to tell me. To my surprise, it was more or less business as usual.

… Monday morning at 7 a.m., as I tried to decide whether I should get in my car to commute to work, I cranked up the radio tuned to WMUB and heard, just after the national news, that Butler County was on a Level Three emergency standing. I racked my brain to remember what a Level Three emergency was. WMUB did not enlighten me—the announcer had gone on to the usual featured business news for Dayton. What I wanted to know was how many people in the Dayton area were suffering a power outage? What was going on with DP&L and Duke Energy? What were the students at Miami and other closed colleges going to do for food and communications? Were there any emergency shelters opened in Oxford where I could take a hot shower or get hot food? What about the Kroger pharmacy? Were city officials making any statements?

Maybe I am wrong to consider WMUB as the source for such information—but the fact is that WMUB is just about the only radio station I listen to. I identify it strongly as THE source for what’s important for me to know. You may not be equipped with the staff to do in-depth on-the-spot reporting. But the station does remarkably well operating “live” for fund-raising reasons.

--Diana Uhlman, "Oxford resident and ardent WMUB supporter"

[General Manager Cleve Callison replies:

This is an issue that WMUB will be addressing. Cutbacks in salary support have caused us, like most stations, to operate via automation on Sunday afternoon. In addition we were short-staffed that day because of medical issues and an unrelated power failure at NPR in Washington. We did have staff report in Sunday night for special bulletins airing until close to midnight. We also had extra reports on Monday’s Morning Edition – much of the time on school closings – and extra newscasts throughout that day. Could we have done more? Undoubtedly yes. It’s a matter we will be examining closely after this event. So thank you for reminding us of what you expect from us.]


Post a Comment

<< Home