Though I believe that close-range communication ability is liable to be more practical on a daily basis, don't discount the ability to send and receive messages long distance. Shortwave radio broadcasts are a fantastic way to do so. While it requires a ham radio license to send transmissions out via shortwave radio (at least within the USA), anybody can receive these transmissions without a license.
Below are examples of when shortwave radio has been used in disaster situations to provide life-saving/altering information. I think you'll discover why I believe they're so important.
Defeating the Vichy French
It's hard to stomach something as disgusting as a traitor to one's country, and that's exactly how the Free French felt about the Nazi Vichy French during Hitler's occupation of their sovereign nation. This move by Hitler had consequences felt around the world – particularly in France's colonies within the Caribbean.