WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Value of Reading School Closings on the Air

Feb 11, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists discuss whether reading weather-related school closings and other cancellations on the radio still serves a purpose.

Many school districts now contact parents directly via a phone message, text, or other means.  In fact, in some cases parents learn the information before the media is contacted.

However, a listener complained to News Director and Shop Talk panelist Rich Egger when he recently told listeners to look for the list of closings and cancellations on the Tri States Public Radio website. The listener said it was a "disservice" to send the audience to the website instead of reading the info on the air.

Egger said time constraints play a role in what he does. He refers listeners to the web during shorter breaks and usually reads the entire list on the air during longer breaks and newscasts.

Panelist Lisa Kernek said radio stations should continue reading the info on the air, even though she often learns of cancellations directly from the school district her child attends. One recent morning she first learned from the radio that school was canceled and that Western Illinois University (where she teaches) was also closed.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia said it's a tough spot for radio stations, given time constraints. She pointed out it's much easier for TV stations to disseminate the information because they can run a continuous scrawl along the bottom of the screen to announce cancellations.

The issue was also the topic of a recent column on the RTDNA website. Many who responded to that piece voiced support for having radio stations share the information on the air.