49 Victims Killed, 53 More Injured In Terror Attack At Orlando Nightclub -- Radio Informs And Organizes The Community To Help
June 13, 2016 at 2:57 PM (PT)
The city of ORLANDO, the rest of the U.S. and the world are still in shock this morning after a man who pledged allegiance to ISIS, went on a shooting rampage early Sunday at a gay nightclub in that FLORIDA city. The latest figures have 50 people dead (49 victims and the killer), making the horrific event the country's deadliest mass shooting, and the nation's worst terror attack since 9/11.
CNN sums up the massacre's timeline, noting:
- The gunman, OMAR MATEEN, 29, of FORT PIERCE, FL, was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat, the FBI said.
- MATEEN called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the BOSTON MARATHON bombers, according to a U.S. official.
- ORLANDO police shot and killed MATEEN.
- MATEEN's ex-wife said she thinks he was mentally ill.
- MATEEN carried an assault rifle and a pistol into the packed PULSE club about 2a SUNDAY and started shooting, killing 50 people and wounding at least 53, police said.
- After a standoff of about three hours, while people trapped inside the club desperately called and messaged friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed MATEEN.
"It appears he was organized and well-prepared," ORLANDO Police Chief JOHN MINA said early SUNDAY. No accomplices have been linked to the shooting.
"We know enough to say this was an act of terror and act of hate," President OBAMA said in an address to the nation from the White House. "This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
COX MEDIA GROUP VP/Programming STEVE SMITH told ALL ACCESS yesterday afternoon (6/12), "Our entire ORLANDO cluster has been wall to wall since this morning. Everyone of our stations went through this tragic day by putting the audience first, and giving them an open forum to talk about it with all of ORLANDO. The ORLANDO cluster headed by News/Talk WDBO bonded with the ORLANDO audience in a way I have rarely seen in my 30 years of broadcasting. All our mornings shows from AJ and ASHLEY at Country WWKA (K92-3), OBIE and LIL SEAN and ESTEE from Top 40/R WPYO (POWER 95.3), HILDI and team from Classic Rocker WMMO and MONICA MAY From Urban WCFB (STAR 94.5), devoted the whole day to this two-day tragic weekend. Spearheaded by WDBO PD/OM DREW ANDERSON and News Dir. JOE KELLY, we broke format on all our FMs and went wall to wall with everyone above on WDBO, giving the audience a forum to talk with us and each other. It was the most amazing collaboration of talent coming together for the audience to have their friends on the air bond during this terrible tragedy. Major props to OM STEVIE DEMANN for orchestrating much of this and K92-3 PD DREW BLAND -- and of course STAR 94.5 PD MICHAEL SAUNDERS! Special props to SUSAN LARKIN, our Market Manager for overseeing the entire day. Now we plan to turn the focus this week on helping the families of the victims anyway we can. I am proud to be connected to such a wonderful team of people who truly care so much about our community as we got hit with two tragedies in two days. Hearts and prayers go out to all the families who lost loved ones and who are hopefully healing right now from injuries sustained from this horrific event YESTERDAY. Our hearts and prayers go out to you.
CMG Top 40 Format Leader and Dir./Social Media-Radio JEREMY RICE added, "All COX Stations are using the 'Open Mic' feature on our apps, where listeners can directly air their voice on our stations by simply recording their message on the app.
CMG/ORLANDO aired coverage SUNDAY morning anchored by News-Talk WDBO-F (NEWS 96.5)/ORLANDO morning anchor JOE KELLEY with personalities from all of the cluster's stations joining him; the coverage aired on all of the CMG stations in the market, and COX stations in other markets had access to the coverage.
“On air we are as authentic as the music we play. We're talking with the listeners on air and just trying to digest what exactly happened in our backyard.” That’s COX MEDIA Country WWKA (K92.3)/ORLANDO PD ANDREW BLAND, describing the station’s on-air approach in the hours following SUNDAY morning/s (6/12) shooting rampage at the city’s PULSE nightclub. “K92.3 morning teamers AJ and ASHLEY had one bit of direction this morning, and that's to give a big hug to ORLANDO; they did it perfectly,” said BLAND. “There is no playbook for something like this, you just reflect the community. K92.3 today, this week, and for a long time from now is going be a place to escape, a place to listen, a place to be heard, a place to relate and a place to heal over the music. Several artists joined the show today from JOHN RICH, to several who have direct connections to ORLANDO like MICHAEL RAY.”
Upon hearing the news early SUNDAY, BLAND says there was no question about what needed to be done. “The entire staff immediately arrived at the radio station and went on air for the next nine hours. No commercials, no music, just reacting to the news with our listeners and fellow morning show personalities. COX MEDIA GROUP/ORLANDO has an exceptional roster of A+ talent from K92.3’s AJ and ASHLEY, OBIE, LIL’ SHAWN and ESTEE on WPYO (POWER 95.3), MONICA MAY and MISS B on WCFB (STAR 94.5), DENISE RYAN on WMMO and JOE KELLEY on WDBO (NEWS 96.5) – we all went on air together with the goal of informing and nurturing our CENTRAL FLORIDA community … it is further proof that radio is more than just ratings and revenue it’s about serving our community and helping others a time of need.”
iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WXXL (XL 106.7)/ORLANDO PD BRIAN MACK said yesterday, "Obviously the listeners are overwhelmed with emotion and have been calling in all morning, day and still now. All stations here were all hands on deck -- that includes WXXL, Active Rock WJRR, Tropical WRUM, Talk WTKS, AC WMGF and Talk WFLA/TAMPA. All stations had their marquis talents on the air. Still dealing with it now."
iHEARTMEDIA Talk WTKS (REAL RADIO 104.1) brought in some of its weekday hosts, including midday host THE NEWS JUNKIE, PD/afternoon "PHILIPS PHILE" co-host JACK BRADSHAW, morning man RUSS ROLLINS and his "MONSTERS IN THE MORNING" crew of JIM COLBERT, CARLOS NAVARRO, and ANGEL RIVERA, and afternoon host JIM PHILIPS and LYNN "MOIRA" WARNER, to cover the attack. The iHEARTMEDIA cluster also went on location at the blood drive in ALTAMONTE SPRINGS.
CBS RADIO Top 40 WQMP (101.9 AMP RADIO) and AC WOMX (MIX 105.1)/ORLANDO PD DENNIS MARTINEZ shared with ALL ACCESS, "We brought in our AM shows for all stations. CHAD PITT for AMP was on the air by 9a with DANA TAYLOR from MIX. As people called to ask how they could help we directed them to donate blood. That was the biggest need. We worked with the city and police to make sure we were getting the most up to date information out. TODAY we have a blood drive that starts at 8a in the station parking lot. We are working with the city on a candle light vigil in the next couple days. Our stations continue to update listeners with any new information that comes out."
CBS RADIO NEWS offered complete coverage of the shootings with correspondents JIM KRASULA, PETER KING and STEVE FUTTERMAN reporting from the scene all day SUNDAY. ABC NEWS RADIO's AARON KATERSKY was likewise in ORLANDO reporting from the scene.