Building on their long history of providing critical information to millions of citizens and visitors during times of crisis, Florida’s public radio stations have created the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) to communicate emergency information statewide through a seamless system of free over the air FM radio, still the single best and most reliable delivery method, as well as multiple mobile applications.
Collectively covering 99% of the state, the FPREN stations are locally staffed and equipped to stay on the air even during times of massive power outages in order to deliver important information to local audiences before, during and after an emergency. In the event of a weather incident, the FPREN stations will continue to provide recovery information for as long as necessary. Working in partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management and local Emergency Operations Centers, listeners can be assured of having access to the most up to date information.
With the majority of public radio stations located between 88 and 92 MHz on the FM dial, citizens and visitors can easily access information regardless of their location in the state. In the event of evacuations, signage on the state’s interstate highways indicates the exact frequency of the public radio station in each area. Additionally, mobile devices are able to obtain local information from any of the FPREN stations at any time.
The FPREN Storm Center is housed in the Division of Media Properties and under the direction of WUFT meteorologist Jeff Huffman, provides detailed local weather information in a format designed specifically for radio listeners, using descriptive language appropriate to an audience with no access to television, as well as the vision impaired. In times of evacuation, this would be particularly accessible to a mobile audience. Extensive weather information is also accessible through mobile devices.
The FPREN radio stations as well as the Florida Association of Broadcasters member stations work with both national and state government agencies in communicating first alerts and information via the national Emergency Alert System (EAS). The content of FPREN programming goes well beyond the capacity of the EAS, with detailed local information delivered around the clock by local news departments. Public service is the core of public radio’s mission and affords the local stations the ability to break format when necessary to disseminate important information.