Allergists routinely supply pollen counts to television stations to assist allergy sufferers and to publicize their medical practices. This investigation examined how widely pollen counts are used in television news programming. The authors telephoned the news director or a meteorologist at 121 broadcast television stations in the nation's 30 largest Designated Market Areas (DMAs). They were asked if pollen counts were included or would be included in news programming during the 1995 pollen season. At least one television station in 28 DMAs included pollen counts in news programming. All five stations in the Washington, DC, DMA aired pollen counts; however, no stations in the Pittsburgh or Milwaukee DMAs carried pollen information. Approximately 49 million television households have access to pollen counts through a broadcast television station. Because these data appear important to television stations and to the public, the authors outline four measures to assure the reliability and meaningfulness of pollen information.
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