"I would like to express my sincere thanks Greater Media Boston Market Manager Rob Williams, Director of Programming Cadillac Jack and the entire staff for all they did to inform and comfort our listeners, their families and the community."
Meanwhile, it's also hard to disagree with Denver-area media blogger, international consultant and talent coach Doug Erickson as he bemoans the inability of most radio operators to do anything in real time when suddenly disaster hits.
It's always interesting these days to scan local radio when any catastrophe occurs. Not one Denver FM music station had one word about the bombings during multiple times I checked out their frequencies.
So, what did you do on your stations?
It seems to me, you need a procedure for these things now. An emergency play book, ready to go.
If your station is in Boston, or a suburb -- and that includes a lot of major east coast cities -- I don't see how you can not go wall-to-wall coverage, regardless of format. But even if your station is in Colorado, what is more compelling content than a terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon? Taylor Swift? Seriously?
Country Aircheck Associate Radio Editor Russ Penuell started working immediately on a story on country radio's response to the tragedy by browsing station websites and social media pages looking (largely in vain) for any empathy in reaction to the senseless event:
They were continuing with social media based contesting, etc, as the bombing story was breaking and as it unfolded throughout the day. We understand some of these are pre-set, time specific posts, so maybe some just forgot it was going up, but it nevertheless made for a pretty disconnected appearance, at least in that realm.
Part of the question to us, given the growing importance social media, is how or to what degree to address (or not address) whats going on via those platforms, or how important it is at all during tragedies, etc. It seems common sense to me, but maybe not.
It's frustrating how few have any policies in place, to - for example - avoid using social media during tragedies like Boston, resting any auto-contesting and Hoot Suite-generated posts not related to a response to the fast-moving situation during such an event.
Reviewing your library for insensitive songs seems like the very least a well-programmed radio station should do.
A&O&B's Becky Brenner notes that there is part of the right reaction plan that says "life must go on" or the terrorists win, foreign or domestic.
Having said that, it is certainly necessary to acknowledge what happened, send out thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families and give your listeners a forum to share their fears and feelings about such a horrific event. It impacts every individual so differently that there is not a one size fits all solution to the challenge.
Now, less than 48 hours after the blasts went off, I am actually finding myself listening to news radio and watching less cable TV now due to all the repetition of the Boston info over and over which is starting to sound repetitious, making me weary, sad and helpless.
Is radio's role in a 24/7 "always on" info world no longer an in-the-moment reflection of what's happening in the listener's world?
Are we now just a safe place to escape from it, ignore it, where you can hide from reality that comes at you from every screen you own?
Has our role changed from "immediacy" to "apathy?"
I hope not.