Nielsen's Latest Puerto Rico Market Survey Sees Rise in News Radio Stations Post-Hurricane Maria

Lionel CHAMOISEAU (Photo credit should read LIONEL CHAMOISEAU/AFP/Getty Images
Residents stand amid rubble September 22, 2017 in Roseau, capital of the Caribbean island Dominica, four days after the passage of Hurricane Maria. Maria previously tore through several ​Caribbean islands, claiming the highest toll on Dominica, which has a population of around 72,000 and has been largely cut off from the outside world.  

More than 3,000 diaries as part of a winter survey indicate that radio is a key 'lifeline' during extreme weather.

As Puerto Rico continues rebuilding after Hurricane Maria, the latest Nielsen radio diary market surveys illustrate that news-formatted radio stations are gaining more listeners.

The newly released Nielsen report, which covers winter of 2018, shows more than 3,000 diaries were returned with more than 800 of them providing comments in addition to 55 of those diaries having feedback about "the impact of using radio during the storm," according to the Nielsen report, which cites radio as a lifeline key to connecting with family and friends.

“I’m a loyal follower of AM stations because it keeps me up to date on Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit," one survey participant wrote. "Many people listened to the radio, as it was the only means of knowing how family and friends were doing and of keeping me company."

Another survey taker wrote, "The radio stations that I have listened to during the last three months are due to Hurricane Maria. Before the hurricane I would only watch TV. I really like this change in my life and I’ve continued the habit.”

The start of the summer, according to a Nielsen report, is also the start of hurricane season, and radio can be an effective way of navigating through natural disasters as it has the capacity to reach remote areas and allow people to communicate during those vulnerable situations.

According to Nielsen, the fall of 2017 gave way to one of the most active Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded, which ultimately led to extreme damage in Puerto Rico. It was also during that period that a 100,000-plus audience boost in news radio listenership increased dramatically, according to Nielsen data.