Local TV Go-To Information Source During Irene

Local television was the go-to source for residents in specific markets affected by Hurricane Irene, with 39% of respondents learning the storm was approaching from local TV news. That's ahead of the Internet (16%), friends and relatives (11%) and the Weather Channel (10%), according to a new study conducted for Hearst Television by Marshall Marketing.

The study included 500 respondents in Baltimore, 500 in Boston and 400 in Burlington/Plattsburgh -- three markets that were pounded by last month's storm, and markets where Hearst TV has a station.

Fully 66% of respondents cited local TV news as their source for "getting key and critical information about the storm."

Forty percent of respondents said they lost power during the storm. They then opted primarily for the radio and smartphones for updates; radio was the top score in Baltimore (38%) and Burlington/Plattsburgh (35%), while smartphones were tops in Boston (34%). Those scores were just ahead of friends/relatives, and well ahead of the Internet. Once power was restored, 50% said they returned to local TV news, way ahead of Internet (14%).

Some 16% said they listened to a TV broadcast on the radio when the electricity failed.

Thirty percent of adults received an alert on a mobile device during the storm period, led by use of weather apps.

The survey revealed a high level of satisfaction with the local TV coverage before, during and after the storm, and with the Hearst TV owned stations in particular. WPTZ-WNNE Burlington-Plattsburgh showed a 97% "Very/Somewhat Satisfied" rate, WBAL Baltimore received a 96% and WCVB Boston came in at 93%.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.