Local Radio and Natural Disaster (Investigation of Khuzestan Radio Performance in Media Coverage of Nowruz 98 Flood)

Document Type : Applied Article


1 Master of Communication

2 PhD Student in Strategic Management

3 Ph.D., Arabic Translator


Radio is one of the most ​​useful means of media communication in times of crisis. Local radio stations have an even bigger impact on news and information, due to their monopoly on local news, direct access to crisis, quick access to reliable local resources, and easy access to rare and momentary information. In addition, more local citizens have access to local radio stations than anything else. Such parameters make local radio stations an essential tool for agencies in dealing with hazards and crisis management.
In the early days of Nowruz 1398, two rainfall systems within a week spanned the country's western and southwestern provinces. Given that during the first system rains, the water level in the dams of Karkheh, Dez and Karoon rivers was flooded and flooded Lorestan province, with the second wave of precipitation prediction. The most concern for the Khuzestan province was created, when there was a high probability of water overflow, rivers flooding, flooding of Khuzestan plain and so on. With this forecast, Khuzestan province entered the pre-crisis phase, when the onset of this rainstorm brought the province into crisis and declared a state of emergency. Therefore, how the crisis media management and coverage, on local radio (Khuzestan Radio) as one of the effective media during the crisis, was studied from 4 April to 21 April by qualitative content analysis method with the analytical-descriptive approach.
Flooding is one of the most complex and destructive natural phenomena that cause a lot of damage every year. [1] Most unexpected natural disasters and the need for rapid and accurate decision-making and implementation of operations provide a process and knowledge called "crisis management" that includes a set of activities before, after, and when disasters occur to reduce impacts and possible vulnerabilities of disasters [2].
Radio as a communication device has proven itself well. According to UNESCO (2013), one of the prominent features of radio is its high level of influence so that radio can affect more than 95% of the audience and it also creates a high level of trust [3].
Today, in the age of communication and information, and with the advancement of technology, radio has played a significant role alongside other media in crisis management [4]. Khojasteh (2005) considers the role of the media in the management and control of each crisis, especially in natural disasters, consisting of three basic stages: pre-crisis training (exposure phase), during a crisis (support and correction), and after a crisis.
Research Methods
The method used in this study is a combination of qualitative content analysis and descriptive-analytical approach. Holsty introduces content analysis, including any kind of research technique for making inferences by systematically and objectively identifying specific features of messages [5]. The qualitative content analysis emphasizes the symbolic, discursive, contextual, or narrative dimensions of media texts [6].
Qualitative content analysis methods with the inductive approach have been used to derive planning categories based on flood crisis issue in Khuzestan province.
The Statistical Society in this study was all programs of this network during the crisis period from April 4 to April 21.
Sampling Method
The purposeful sampling research is to select all the programs that cover the crisis in the target period. In this study, we used two methods of triangulation and validation by participants that are common in qualitative methods to increase validity.
A)      Pre-crisis stage
In the "pre-crisis" phase, the topic of the crisis was dealt with in the form of "speaker and presenter", "news", "expert and guest", "reporting" and "public communication". Overall, the templates used at this stage did not have good timing and versatility, and they should have used other programming templates as well.
Table 1. Categories and Subcategories

main category

pre-crisis measures


information and training

Used items

Special Issues

Related and Warning forms

Use of New Formats

Communication with Other Centers

Considering the Critical Role

How to Access RadioPay

attention to all areas

B) During crisis stage
The results of the studies show that the sound of the center of Khuzestan, with comprehensive coverage of the crisis, showed to its audience that it was aware of the crisis and that the audience understood the crisis and were aware of their difficulties to make effort to help them. In the "during crisis" phase, although crisis-related programs were broadcast from the center all the time, overall the templates used were not well-diversified, and they were appropriate to use other programming formats.
Table 2. Categories and Subcategories

The main category

Functions during the crisis

Sub categories

Comprehensive coverage

Fighting gossip

Media Interactions

Special molds

Observe the principle of honesty

Paying attention to cultural heritage

Quick notification

Speed of communication and type of communication

Pay attention to specific times

C) Post-crisis phase
In the "post-crisis" phase, as in the previous two stages, the templates used lacked diversity and timeliness, and report formats and roundtables had a greater share of crisis-focused programs.
Table 3. Categories and Subcategories

The main category

Post-crisis measures

Sub categories

Strengthening solidarity

How to handle responsible organizations

Notification to reduce alarm

Holding a roundtable

Restore mental health

Keep track of promises

The Khuzestan flood was one of the few crises in the country that had given the necessary warning to various centers a few days earlier. The media, and especially the local media, played a key and unworkable role in controlling and managing the flood. In the early moments of Khuzestan radio, however, the crisis started to take its toll and the focus was on planning.
The results indicate that Khuzestan Radio has been programmed in three stages of this study during the crisis. In the pre-crisis phase, it focused on issues such as "information and education" and "specialty allocation" and it was appropriate to "deal with other centers that have experienced this crisis and have experience in the field", "Attention to all areas of the province", "Training on how to access radio in times of crisis". In the "during the crisis" phase, the following categories of "attention to particular times", "speed of communication and type of communication", "prompt information", "observance of the principle of honesty", "media interactions", "fight against rumors" were appropriately compensated. It was also worthy of attention under the heading of "attention to cultural heritage" and in the "post-crisis" phase of this radio in paying attention to the sub-categories of "strengthening solidarity", "how to deal with responsible organizations", "restoring mental health" and "Information to Reduce Alarms" has taken a good approach.


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