The last time my in-laws visited their relatives in Germany, they witnessed a system that could easily be expanded to include emergency weather information.
As many of you know, the Germans are fanatics for transportation systems that avoid unexpected delays as much as possible. So, I wasn't surprised when my father-in-law told me that car radios in Germany will suddenly move to a standard frequency whenever there is a local traffic alert, possibly just covering the Autobahn (freeway system).
As I understand it, the traffic alert system is totally government-run, and laws require that cars sold in Germany are equipped with radios that automatically switch to these traffic alert transmitters.
The only alternative I've seen was developed after a killer tornado in Edmonton in 1987. Equipment was placed at the transmitter sites of many Alberta stations that allowed CKUA Radio to take over those transmitters in case of an Emergency. CKUA lost the government contract for that setup a couple of years back, and I'm not sure what the new guys are doing.
Of course, if you go back to the 1950s, there was the Civil Defense alert system that used 1240 and 640 KHz as places where everyone should tune their radio in case of nuclear attack. I still have my parents' 1957 Philips transistor radio with those frequencies marked.
I guess my point is that anything like this requires a huge amount of organization to carry off, either backed by government laws or huge industry groups.
Posted on January 4, 2013 - 06:27 PM