A year ago today, we were bracing for Hurricane Irma. My neighborhood was the first of the mandatory evacuation zones. Most Floridians went without power for days. Cell phone batteries died and there was no electricity to charge them. It brought up a good question. Why do many cell phone manufacturers and service providers block you from using something that could keep you updated during the storm? There was outrage when people learned about this. But our attention span is short. When nothing was done and the hurricane passed, the question went unanswered and was forgotten.

You probably never knew it, but inside your phone there is likely a chip that lets you listen to the radio WITHOUT having to stream. That’s right. Your phone is just like one of those old little transistor radios you might have remembered using as a kid. Why would you need this feature? After all, you can listen to 99.5 QYK via our app.

In a hurricane situation when the power goes out, streaming on your phone makes your cell phone’s battery die faster. And if you’re without power for days on end like we were in Tampa Bay after Hurricane Irma, that’s a problem.

Streaming uses up data. And that means profit for cell phone service providers. The more data you need, the more you pay. So there is less profit to make if you don’t use much data. So there was pressure by companies to disable the feature so you can’t use it.

Seeing the danger this puts Floridians in, a few spoke up. I have to give props to Senator Bill Nelson for being one of them. He got on the case to make it mandatory to unlock a feature you already paid for when you bought your phone. Some cell phone providers voluntarily stepped up. But then there are companies like Apple that removed the chip from your iPhone altogether. Yup if you have an iPhone made in the past couple years, not only is the chip disabled… they took this out of your phone. That’s right my fellow iPhone addicts. Samsung users have something you don’t.

Is YOUR cell phone ready if we were to lose power again like we did during Irma? Click here to see if your phone is ready for a hurricane. This link will let you filter which phones are good to go and which cell service providers don’t disable the feature.

Hopefully we’ll slide by another hurricane season without long power losses like we did last year. But even if we’re lucky this year, we know living here it’s a risk we could get hit next year. The other thing is, even without a power loss, wouldn’t you like to have the choice to listen to QYK and keep your cell battery power longer?

Hey it's Geno. Thanks for reading. Got something to add to this story? Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.