NextRadio in-app data gave us a fascinating look at radio listening behavior as Hurricane Matthew chugged along just off Florida’s east coastline on Friday, October 7, 2016. This heat map tracks people moving inland while tuned to local FM radio via the NextRadio app (likely complying with local advisories to evacuate.)
The heat map also depicts a clear burst of NextRadio listening just south of Tampa/St Petersburg on Saturday. Again, it’s reflective of people moving out of harm’s way and tuning to FM radio for the official word on when they could return home.
As in other weather emergency situations we’ve observed, NextRadio usage spiked in number of listeners, session starts and TSL during Hurricane Matthew. On an ordinary Friday, some 1,015 Floridians tune in to their local FM station using the NextRadio app (average calculated from January through September, 2016). On October 7, however, 1,533 people used the NextRadio app – an increase of 51%. Total Listening Minutes were up 33%.
Sessions starts – which occur each time a NextRadio app user turns on the app or changes radio stations inside the app – were up 63% over a normal Friday. The number of minutes spent listening per session was down 18%. Based on our experience with this type of data, we believe that more session starts and lower session duration is due to people frequently switching stations during a weather event. It’s likely they are seeking information from multiple sources to get specific data about the area they left – and the place to where they’re headed.