The Northeast Gets Slammed By A Major Snowstorm
Winds, Snow Not As Bad As Feared
January 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM (PT)
The NORTHEAST and radio survived a major snowstorm overnight that seemed to pack less of a punch than was initially forecast. Initial snow totals included up to 3 foot accumulations -- with many in a 24" bullseye. The good news for much of the region was an eastward move of the center of the storm, which spared many areas of the high wind and record snow totals. NEW ENGLAND fared worse than NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY and PHILADELPHIA.
ALL ACCESS reached out to our friends in radio, and here's what they shared.
CBS RADIO News WCBS-A/NEW YORK told ALL ACCESS, "planning for the storm coverage began early SUNDAY morning. The top priority was staffing/lodging for news staff/pre-positioning reporters so as not to have them traveling during the worst of the storm TUESDAY morning. The station has reporters positioned across the tri-state including areas expected to feel the brunt of the storm: FAIRFIELD COUNTY CONNECTICUT and NASSAU and SUFFOLK COUNTY on LONG ISLAND. Veteran Meteorologist CRAIG ALLEN leads the station’s weather team, which also includes JOHN ELLIOT and LONNIE QUINN from CBS2-TV and WCBS’s TODD GLICKMAN. WCBS-A aired live news briefings by NJ Governor CHRISTIE, CONNECTICUT’s Governor MALLOY, NEW YORK’s Governor CUOMO and NYC Mayor DEBLASIO and will continue as appropriate. allen will also provide updates in the morning for sister Sports WFAN-A/F. WCBS-A has opened up a Talk Back line, and the plan for the morning will be to use social media, TWITTER and FACEBOOK to actively involve listeners in getting us information across the metro area.
CBS RADIO News WINS-A/NEW YORK told us -- two words: Calm Urgency. It's the way the station delivers the news during major stories. Business owners need to know how this will impact their bottom line, parents need to know whether to stock up on supplies, children want to know whether school is closed, and everyone wants to know how the blizzard will impact transportation in the region. It builds a sense of community that we are all in this together and nothing does that better than radio. For staffing, we immediately go to our 12-on, 12-off rule for work hours, we book hotel rooms for staff members who need, and we send out a reminder to everyone that we need them to be safe. In order to serve the listeners, we have to be on the air. 1010 WINS carries all news conferences from Emergency response agencies live and we offer our airwaves to anyone who has an impact on the lives of the people in our area (mayors, council members, county executives, etc.). Additionally, they will travel with sanitation crews, the folks who restore electric power and others to help give listeners a very real sense of the work being done to get things back to normal. Anchors are also appearing on CBS RADIO’s FM stations in the market to update listeners of those stations as well. Whether it’s asking people to share their photos, experiences, or information that might help others, 1010 WINS is fully integrated with its social media users both on-air and online. Their relationship with CBS2 is also a huge benefit as it allows them to be in twice as many places across the region and helps them coordinate coverage so they are providing the most comprehensive information to the audience.
iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WHTZ (Z100)/NEW YORK PD MARK MEDINA tells NET NEWS, "Z100 IS NEW YORK, and THE TRI-STATE looks to us in these situations -- so we’ll be here for them with extra weather reports, closures, transit info, updates around the clock from our sister station WOR-A, on air, on line, and social. We continue to deliver on the hit music expectation, but with plenty of calls from New Yorkers that want to share their experiences with us as well -- and we’ve got lots of informative and fun imaging on to capture the essence of the market and the moment. This is a national story, and we’re right in the middle of it, so we’ve got ELVIS DURAN in NEW YORK doing a show for New Yorkers while the rest of the country gets the play by play on this. RYAN SEACREST was on the air today talking with NYPD officers and city workers doing storm prep, and taking calls from New Yorkers that just want to chime in. The Z100 staff is masterful in these moments and these are the scenarios when big heritage brands shine bright. It’s about the bond Z has with NEW YORK and the trust level after going through things like SANDY together. That’s the unduplicatable and intangible part of these events. As we have Elvis on hourly and artists like NEYO and SHAWN MENDES on air reminding folks Z is a family and our audience is a part of it and we will get through this together!"
iHEARTMEDIA Hot AC Brand Manager/National Programming Platforms and Top 40 WKTU/NEW YORK PD ROB MILLER shared, "This truly is when radio is at its best! We have the whole KTU team camping out overnight... and the listeners are helping each other. New Yorkers are really resilient, even in the face of one of the worst snow events in history; they are calling in with tips on how to weather the storm and where to find the items that are needed. We are providing the mouthpiece on-air and through our social platforms to pass along all the information to keep listeners plugged in, to make them laugh and serve up music for those working around the clock to give them the extra boost they need to keep going! KTU is the companion to get them through the Blizzard Of 2015."
EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS Urban AC and Gospel WLIB-A OM SKIP DILLARD shares, "Constant updates with our News Director staying at the station to do cut ins our on stations. We have partnerships with local meteorologists so will be utilizing them as well. Our digital department will be working both on site and from home so the updates never stop. Pretty much everything is closed TUESDAY, so WEDNESDAY will be our tricky day keeping up with transit, schools and businesses that may be open or closed depending on location and the ability for clean up crews to clear certain areas. Our office is closed with essential on-air staff in hotels within walking distance of the stations. We're in THE WEST VILLAGE, so that give us good hotel options. HURRICANE SANDY was probably our best training ground. We ordered about 20 boxes of various pizza for our staff overnight and when I left, [sister Top 40/R WQHT] HOT 97 Music Director TT TORREZ was off for more food. During SANDY, I had to bring in food from JERSEY during THE WEST VILLAGE's Power outage. You learn to get creative. Most important is opening the phones to your listeners. They'll tell you more than any news service or media person can provide and faster too!"
EMMIS Top 40/R WQHT (HOT 97)/NEW YORK Promo Dir. BETHANY KENT lets us know the station, "will be live throughout the storm keeping listeners updated and entertained on-air and via social media. NESSA just started today in PM Drive so it's a great 'welcome to NEW YORK' for her. On-Air team members are all in hotels near the station. Here's a video of MD TT TORREZ making snow angels outside the studio. Here's a video EBRO just posted of him beating the road closure curfew (11p) to get back in the city and be ready for the show in the morning."
CBS RADIO Top 40 WBMP (92.3 AMP)/NEW YORK PD RICK THOMAS said, "Jocks SHOBOY in the Morning, NINA, NIKO, ASTRA and TORO stayed at station or in nearby hotels. Coverage was centered on providing necessary info to an AMP core music listener. Useable weather, Transit and if TARGET was open or closed!"
At CBS RADIO/BOSTON, anchors and reporters for WBZ-A are reporting on the blizzard all day and night until it subsides. They are stationed in BOSTON as well as north, south and west of the city, and will be charged with bringing storm coverage to listeners from every angle. WBZ-A anchors and meteorologists from WBZ-TV have been providing and will continue to provide blizzard updates that are airing hourly on our four FM stations at least through tomorrow night. The News Directors and newsroom personnel from both WBZ-A and WBZ-TV are in constant communication and the assignment desks are coordinating reporters from both entities who will cover the storm for both radio and television. On the digital front, the market has the content team working around the clock to provide online storm coverage, school and business closings, weather postings, et al. Finally, "Nightside with DAN REA" and "JAY TALKING with BRADLEY JAY" will discuss the storm and its effects from 8p through 4a with news and weather updates weaved in every 30 minutes. Governor CHARLIE BAKER, Mayor MARTY WALSH and Colonel TIM ALBON of the Mass State Police are just a few of the public figures who will call into DAN's show with updates. The Morning News with JOE MATHIEU and DEB LAWLER will commence at 4a, 1 hour earlier than normal.
iHEARTMEDIA/BOSTON OM DYLAN SPRAGUE checked in with ALL ACCESS to share, "We are pausing PATRIOTS-mania (gave away a trip to the SUPER BOWL this morning on Top 40 WXKS KISS 108) for Blizzard of 2015 coverage. Our jocks and social media team have been going non-stop today with all the major announcements -- T closing, driving ban, LOGAN closing, etc. We have most of the jocks sequestered at a hotel down the street from IHM/BOSTON as we speak. Conditions are ok right now but getting worse by the minute. Just trying to get out the most vital info, be a sounding board for the community and have a little fun too. Listeners have been sending in their 'storm selfies' using the hashtag #BlizzardSelfies. WJMN (JAM'N 94.5) is in the 'Blizzard Mix' as we speak with DJ PUP DAWG and MAVERIK taking live requests and calls in the mix all night. With the state of emergency in place and no driving or T after 12 midnight -- which of course means no work or school tomorrow. It feels like the beginning to the weekend!
DJ PUP DAWG added, "In the mix right now... just some impromptu mixing going down called #Blizzard2015Takeover (don't know what time we'll stop, just playing it by ear and having fun with the listeners with calls & on social). Sending updates on air with all the school, T-Lines closings & driving bans. Im packed up for the night and crashing at the station. Morning show has a hotel down the street and they all have SUV's so they'll be in tomorrow morning, business as usual for the on air staff."
GREATER MEDIA/BOSTON Dir./Engineering PAUL SHULINS and his team went through their emergency protocol all weekend and were fully prepared to deal with the storm. The stations have secured hotel rooms at THE DOUBLETREE. In addition, they are providing complimentary food service at the stations for employees who are working. The office was closed at 2p on MONDAY (1/26) and will be closed on TUESDAY (1/27).
“We are working closely with our clients as well as reaching out to those who are involved with the storm to get their message out such as grocery, emergency services, etc.,” said VP/Market Manager ROB WILLIAMS. “Our overall goal is to keep our employees safe, make sure we have staff to deliver programming to our listeners, and work closely with our clients.”
iHEARTMEDIA/PHILADELPHIA VP/Programming BRIAN CHECK shares, "we have extra staff staying overnight, hourly news updates, additional weather coverages and school closings with our TV partner (6ABC) and lots of activity on social media. News Director LORAINE BALLAD MORRILL, is working with the CITY OF PHILADELPHIA to keep posts updated on announcements from the mayor’s office, snow emergency routes, etc. Our Social Media Managers, NICOLE MICHALIK (WIOQ/WISX/WRFF) and MINA SAYWHAT (WUSL/WDAS) are posting changes in the forecast, linking back to Winter Weather page on our sites. All live, local talent are charged with putting an entertaining spin on it, keeping the conversation going on-air and on socials. It’s a captive audience and a real opportunity to connect!"
iHEARTMEDIA Alternative WRFF (RADIO 104.5)/PHILADELPHIA PD JOHN ALLERS lives close to the station and made it in at 6a TODAY. "The storm did not amount to much in PHILLY, despite huge projections," ALLERS told ALL ACCESS. "We maintained an active blog with updates from NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, along with additional info as it developed. We shared information from blog via our air staff, FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Two of our air staff members (middayer WENDY ROLLINS and afternooner JESSIE) got hotel rooms in the neighborhood to make sure they’d be able to be here for their shifts. Our cluster set up a webpage which regularly updates weather, traffic and school closings. Our news director supplemented our DJ coverage with regular updates from her sources in city and state government."
The GREATER MEDIA/PHILADELPHIA team plans ahead as much as possible in the threat of a potential storm. They reserve hotel rooms close to the stations and schedule music into a few days ahead. In addition, essential personal are prepared to go above and beyond... sleeping in the conference room and taking up residence in the office if necessary.
“We act as a conduit for up to date weather information as much as possible through news partners and others,” said WBEN PD and WMMR APD CHUCK DAMICO. “We try to keep listeners informed and entertained at the same time. We also open up the communication lines, phone, text, and social media for listeners to share their experiences dealing and coping with the weather.”
GREATER MEDIA/NEW JERSEY's stations are prepared to be live and local around the clock and gather as well as disseminate all information in coordination with local authorities and emergency management departments across the individual markets in NJ that GREATER MEDIA operates in. Some on-air personnel are prepared to stay at their respective radio stations. Food, water, blankets, sleeping bags and other related items have all been secured 48 hours before the first snow flake fell. All remaining on-air personnel have rooms secured at local hotels. In the event certain staff members can’t make it to the radio station, on-air shifts may be lengthened. All generators are in operating order and all fuel tanks for those back-up systems are full. Generator replacement parts have also been taken care of in the event of a malfunction. In addition, on-air programming breaks will be updated constantly with any storm or pertinent community information. Social Media (FACEBOOK and TWITTER) are also updated constantly.
“WRAT was the closest radio station to where SANDY hit land and we remained live 24/7 under nearly impossible circumstances,” said SVP/Regional Market Manager DAN FINN. “We have the best and most experienced staff to keep the community informed.”
WRAT PD/morning co-host CARL CRAFT said, "Before the storm time was spent contacting local emergency managers to remind them of our contacts. Engineering assisted by planning testing generators and planning fuel rations. The airstaff need special attention in this kind of crisis. I did a lot of communication with the air staff regarding having a plan together so that they could all feel involved in the process. I created back-up plans for those airstaff who were coming from further away. More local hosts were put on alert that they might be called upon to fill in. Local hotel accommodations were planned in case people couldn’t risk the drive home. My approach is to keep everyone involved because I tend to get better results that way. Fortunately, the storm pushed off to the east so we’re not seeing the accumulation that was predicted. But, you can’t plan for that. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, be broadcast pros – never forget who you’re talking to. We’re not out of it yet, but doing well. "
TOWNSQUARE MEDIA Talk WKXW (NEW JERSEY 101.5)/TRENTON Brand Mgr. ERIC JOHNSON explains, "We actually started with our coverage on air, online and on social media yesterday morning! Our meteorologist DAN ZARROW did live reports on air and prepared blogs and graphics for our website and social media throughout the day yesterday and since 5a today. DAN is spending the night here, as is our entire news and programming staffs. NEW JERSEY 101.5 is live and local all-night taking calls from listeners who are our eyes, ears and voices of the declining conditions. We will be here to provide news and info, some fun -- and to be a reassuring voice and lifeline to our listeners!"
iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WKSS (KISS 95.7)/HARTFORD and Top 40 WKCO (KC 101)/NEW HAVEN PD JB WILDE told ALL ACCESS, "Our entire cluster, led by DAVE SYMONDS, has been phenomenal, helping keep the CT community informed. All hands are on deck. Lots of great on air and online. The KISS team is live, local, and living in the studio to keep our audience informed and entertained till the blizzard goes away. We are trying to keep our listeners safe with info and expert insight from Gov. MALLOY, Lt. VANCE and our weather partners at NBC/CONNECTICUT. We are taking/playing calls from our listeners. We've posted great photos and videos to our social sites.
WKCI APD/MD ADAM RIVERS added, "We're live and local doing 4 breaks per hour on KC101 -- keeping listeners informed, taking calls, and talking with local meteorologists and officials!"
iHEARTMEDIA AC WHCN (THE RIVER 105.9)/HARTFORD's RENEE DINIRO tells all, the station "has been leading the way with live coverage since the morning and still going now with hundreds of pictures and updates from listeners in CT! Hourly updates from The CT DOT, Lt J PAUL VANCE of the CT State Police, our traffic department and meteorologists from our TV Storm Partner NBC/CT. We've been providing info to all of our iHEARTMEDIA/CT stations!
CUMULUS AC WWLI-FM (LITE ROCK 105)/PROVIDENCE PD BRIAN DEMAY shared, "I would love to take full credit for our coverage, but aside from me manning the fort all night, I am relying on the mighty WPRO-A News Team for updates. Twice hourly updates on-air, plus forecasts from our television partner, WPRI-TV. All of these are woven into FACEBOOK/TWITTER."