1998 Weather Radio Survey Results


During October, 1998 a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) survey was conducted for the La Crosse Weather Office. The survey ran on all 3 NWR transmitters and was posted on this office's Internet homepage.

We received 68 responses total, 45 were mailed in and 23 were from the Internet site. Some responders did not answer every question, so there will be discrepancies between total responses and the total answers for each question.

Following are the questions we asked, the responses we received, and then some conclusions and solutions to your repsonses and concerns.

Thank you to all that took the time to respond to our survey!!!


1) Where do you live?

Many responses here, with a nice sampling from all across the radio listening areas.

2) What station do you listen to?

WXK-41 Rochester, MN: 33
WXJ-86 La Crosse, WI: 23
WWF-40 Adams/Friendship, WI: 9

note: some listeners of the Rochester radio mentioned that they listen to our broadcast via cable channel 21 in that area.

3) How many times per day do you normally listen?

The average number was around 2 times per day. The low was once per day, with a high of 10 times.

4) For how long do you listen?

The average was about 1 cycle (about 5 minutes).

5) Do you listen on clear days?

Yes: 61 (95%)
No: 3

6) What is your main source for information during severe weather?

NOAA Weather Radio: 56 (90%)
Local TV: 1
Cable TV: 5
Local Radio: 0

7) Which of our radio segments do you find most useful (you can pick more then one)?

Regional Weather Summary: 16
Hourly Weather: 19
Local and Extended Forecast: 34
Short Term Forecast: 18
Radar information: 15
Climatology: 11
River information: 2

On several responses the listeners indicated that they liked the entire broadcast.

8) Which of our radio segments do you find least useful (you can pick more then one)?

Regional Weather Summary: 3
Hourly Weather: 0
Local and Extended Forecast: 0
Short Term Forecast: 1
Radar information: 0
Climatology: 10
River information: 19

There were a lot less responses to this question, with everyone pretty happy with our program. The river forecasts and stages were thought to be the least useful. The degree day data and previous year's data were the main reasons as to why they didn't like the climate summaries.

9) Is NOAA Weather Radio your primary source for weather?

Yes: 45 (87%)
No: 7 (13%)

10) If no, what is?

Television: 7
Radio: 0
Newspaper: 0

11) Can you understand the new synthetic voice?

Yes: 56 (88%)
No: 8 (12%)

12) Has your listening become more/less/unchanged since the synthetic voice has started to be used?

More: 0
Less: 11 (17%)
Unchanged: 53 (83%)

As indicated, most repsondants have continued to listen to about the same amount of NWR as before the advent of the CRS voice. However, even in the positive cases, many said it was a bit hard to understand at times, and that they preferred the "human" voice to the synthetic. On the negative side, some listeners indicated that they would switch off the radio when the synthetic voice started, or would only listen for as long as it took to get exactly what they wanted. There was only one instance where someone actually enjoyed the voice, who they teasingly referred to as "Arnold".


Conclusions:

Overall, our current radio programming received very favorable comments. Most of the respondants appreciated the job we did and relied on the service that we provide.

Severe weather broadcasts, an important facet of the weather radio, received high marks from our listeners. In many cases, we are their only source for this information. As an office, we should strive to continue the quality of our severe weather programming, bringing our users the most up-to-date, informative, and accurate information we can.

One of the reasons for conducting this survey was to gauge our listeners opinions on CRS's automated voice. Our programming currently has a mix of both the synthetic and "human" voice. The results indicate that it has had some impact on our user's listening habits. Some do understand our reasons for switching to the synthetic voice, but still prefer the "human" voice, especially for severe weather. Some listeners will probably be lost due to the automation.


Solutions:

Changing the length of time climate and river information is played on all the transmitters should address some of the "negative" comments we received on our programming content. This has been done. River Stages will now be broadcast on WXJ-86 from 10 am to 12 noon every 15 minutes. River forecasts will be broadcast from noon to 2 pm every 15 minutes. Climate summaries for WXJ-86 and WXK-41 will run from 5 to 9 am.

A more "aggressive" review of the CRS generated products and monitoring of the radio broadcasts should help catch any problems (incorrect temperatures, missing data, etc.) Steps have already been taken toward making the quality control of products quicker and easier.



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