Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For A Day We All Live In Boston

Chairman/CEO for Boston-based Greater Media Peter Smyth's moving open letter to the industry bragging about his stations' response to the Boston Marathon bombings is radio at its best.
"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.


Nielsen National Cross-Media Engagement Study said...

Americans consume a wide range of media, but their feelings about the trustworthiness of what they consume, the extent to which it adds value to their life and whether they respond to advertising varies substantially by source.

Jerry Del Colliano said...

It Takes Only 10% To Cause Real Change

It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t want to improve – to make real changes in their lives.

It’s also hard to find many who have a plan for effecting that change.

That’s because change is difficult. It requires an understanding of the problem or situation and a game plan to respond.

But often that is the easy part, believe it or not.

The hard part is sticking to the plan.

Change never happens overnight. Sometimes you have to work hard to nudge things just a very little. Folks get discouraged and frequently give up.

Mike O'Malley said...

In conversations with stations, I gave the same advice:

Thinking as a listener, what can a talent say that would be meaningful?

What would be inappropriate or have a low priority right now?

What can be said that will make a difference?

Howard Christensen said...

Team 1040 Vancouver morning show host Scott Rintoul, 38, had completed the Boston Marathon more than an hour before the bombs went off and was back in his hotel room when he got word of the chaos. Naturally, he was on the phone with the station describing what he knew and what he saw, including the bomb zone. This was Rintoul’s second time in the famous marathon...

In Winnipeg, Virgin Radio morning host Ace Burpee organized a run in honour of, and as a tribute to,
the dead and injured in Boston. Five hundred people turned out for it, including many Boston Marathon alumni and a man who ran in Monday's race.

Inside Radio said...

The twice-a-day $1,000 “Moneyball Pitch of the Day” giveaway on classic hits WROR-FM, Boston (105.7) has been suspended – as has other on-air contesting at Greater Media’s Boston cluster. Four of the company’s five Boston stations were in the midst of cash contesting this week. Now Greater Media says it’ll donate the prize money to the One Fund Boston instead. The fund has been created to help the people most affected by this week’s bombing. Director of programming Cadillac Jack McCartney says they discussed it among the staff and concluded “this was absolutely the appropriate thing to do in an effort to help all the individuals directly impacted by the tragic event that took place in our city.”

Across the dial, Boston stations are using their airwaves, websites and social media to give out info on neighborhood vigils, prayer services and counseling, and how to make a donation. Some are rolling up their sleeves, too. Staffers from WAAF hopped into the station van Tuesday night to deliver dinners to security personnel policing the Boston Commons and restricted areas of the Back Bay.

The city’s stations will come together to observe a moment of silence for the victims. The NAB-orchestrated 60-second tribute will air Monday at 2:50 pm – one week from the moment of the detonation of the first bomb – on stations owned by CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Entercom, Greater Media and others. The focus is both on the Boston Marathon bombing victims and the emergency personnel who demonstrated acts of heroism in the hours after the attack. “As first informers in times of crisis, broadcasters want to take this opportunity to salute the first responders and the many unsung heroes who do so much during emergency situations,” NAB CEO Gordon Smith says.