CRS 2014 "Radio ICE: Broadcasting In Case Of Emergency"
February 20, 2014 at 3:33 PM (PT)
TODAY's (1/20) panel about emergency preparedness and broadcasting in emergency situations, called "RADIO ICE: BROADCASTING IN CASE OF EMERGENCY," was moderated by WKIS/MIAMI OM KEN BOESEN with panelists WKLB/BOSTON PD MIKE BROPHEY, McVAY MEDIA's DAN HALYBURTON and ABC NEWS/NEW YORK's HOWARD PRICE.
MIKE BROPHEY spoke about last year's BOSTON MARATHON tragedy, and how that "emergency" played out on his cluster of stations. BROPHEY said that they first learned of the happenings via TWITTER. The station -- before knowing the specifics of what had happened -- decided to provide updates to listeners every 20 minutes and immediately pulled any songs that might have been perceived as having insensitive titles, lyrics or topics (such as TIM McGRAW's "Live Like You Were Dieing," THE BAND PERRY's "Better Dig Two" and CARRIE UNDERWOOD's "Blown Away.")
Once details of the event became clear and the criminal aspect became apparent, the station realized that a charity angle was pertinent. As they began thinking of suggestions, KENNY CHESNEY came to them, wanting to start efforts to raise money for those needing prosthetic limbs.
The stations' social media efforts were executed with the intent to be assuring, as there was a psychological aspect to the way that everyone was feeling. BROPHEY and his staff knew that simply assuring the listeners in those first few days of confusion, would prove more beneficial than constantly spewing a lot of overwhelming facts.
DAN HALYBURTON suggested that all stations should reach out and get to know their local and regional RED CROSS representatives, as often times they are the first on the scene before media. With an established relationship in place, stations can use their representatives as their "eyes and ears" for accurate information on the scene.
He also said that on-air information should be kept simple, not to overwhelm listeners. Think about those going through the tragedy and what they need to get through their day-to-day routine (where to find shelter and get food, how to make contact with their family, etc.) Repeat that simplified information over and over.
There is also a new RED CROSS tornado app available at the APP STORE and on GOOGLE PLAY.
ABC NEWS/NEW YORK's HOWARD PRICE reminded the audience that the FCC gives stations a license to "Serve the public interest, convenience and necessity," and that is what gives stations the luxury of playing hits, giving away prizes, hosting concerts and making money (but that is not the purpose of the license).
He followed up that sentiment with an example about his hometown radio station. During a weather disaster over a weekend, the only ENGLISH-speaking radio station was on automation. When a listener called the radio station on MONDAY, demanding to know why they were not broadcasting information, the PD simply told her that they did not have money for a weekend staff. PRICE said there is never an excuse to NOT serve the community. That, as a radio station, is your responsibility.