The radio plays an essential role in communication today by remaining available when other communication mediums, such as television and Internet, are rendered inaccessible by weather or other interference. A battery-powered radio is considered by many experts to be the most essential communications device an individual can possess.
During a power outage, citizens cannot use their televisions or computers unless those devices are equipped with battery back-up systems or a generator is installed in the home. A radio allows citizens to obtain weather reports, hear news from around the world and learn about localized issues such as traffic and upcoming events.
The number of licensed radio stations in the United States continues to grow even as other mediums take precedence. Some radio programs are broadcast over the radio waves and syndicated through the Internet.
In addition to broadcast radio, two-way radios facilitate communications between police officers, fire departments, government officials, boating enthusiasts, pilots and other individuals. If a boat is lost at sea during a storm, for example, the captain can communicate with rescuers on shore to identify their location and hasten assistance. When the power is disabled in a community, emergency personnel use radios to communicate with each other and to coordinate public safety initiatives.