Alabama Radio Reacts To Tornado Outbreak
Tuscaloosa Stations Post 'Close Call' Cell Phone Video
April 28, 2011 at 4:26 AM (PT)
CPR PROMOTIONAL CONSULTING honcho PAIGE NIENABER is the "go-to" guy in the business for fun stunts -- but YESTERDAY's tornado outbreak in the SOUTH had him focused on radio's ability to save lives.
Said NIENABER, "COX/BIRMINGHAM has always been more connected to their community, across all formats, than most clusters in radio. Just a statement of fact. Something bad happens? They're there. And not with a lame 'banner ad for the RED CROSS' bit. They actually do tangible, compelling things. So YESTERDAY may have been the biggest tornado event in the history of that state. When a PD is on FACEBOOK trying to track down her staff (no mobile service) and is concerned whether they're alive, well, that's bad."
NIENABER tells ALL ACCESS, COX has canceled all promotions, remotes and appearances. "Everything is about the recovery," he said.
But things aren't always handled well. Notes NIENABER, "There was a tornado outbreak in a market that shall remain nameless last SUMMER. A friend of mine was in the basement with his family and tuned into all their favorite stations. Nothing. Zip. I brought it up to the OM of one of these stations who said, and I quote, 'People don't listen to a music station for weather.' Are you FREAKING kidding me? There is VERY little doubt that [COX/BIRMINGHAM] KISS, JAMZ and WAGG saved peoples lives by breaking format and announcing the storm tracking RIGHT into their zips."
Here's what COX/BIRMINGHAM Urban AC WBHK (98.7 KISS), Top 40/R WBHJ (95.7 JAMZ) and Religious WAGG-A are doing TODAY (4/28):
* KISS: Blow out the TOM JOYNER MORNING SHOW. Have JASON to come in and run the board, ISIS will do live reports from PLEASANT GROVE
* JAMZ: ROY WOOD Morning Show will broadcast live from PRATT CITY area
* WAGG: LEO will host coverage
Additionally, DARRYL JOHNSON and BRIAN LACEY will call in reports from PRATT CITY, WENN will carry WBHK's feed, HOMIE will go out during midday to send in reports from PLEASANT GROVE, DIL will go out during midday to send in reports from PRATT CITY, WILLIS PRIDE will do reports from BOUTWELL, REGINALD and JULIUS will feed reports to WBHK/WAGG, JASON JONES go out with ISIS JONES at 5a and much more the staff will be helping out.
Clear Channel/Tuscaloosa Station Posts Cell Phone Video
CLEAR CHANNEL stations in BIRMINGHAM and TUSCALOOSA managed to stay on the air during the storms. WQEN (103.7 THE Q) WVVB (THE VULCAN)/BIRMINGHAM and Top 40 WZBQ/TUSCALOOSA PD KEITH ALLEN told ALL ACCESS, "It's really a very sad sight. So much damage in both markets. We are working hand in hand with local agencies, THE RED CROSS, THE SALVATION ARMY, and so many others lead recovery efforts and provide care and comfort. Please, keep the folks in these hard hit areas in your prayers."
CLEAR CHANNEL Country WTXT and Top 40 WZBQ (94.1 ZBQ)//TUSCALOOSA had a near hit that was captured by a staffer's cell phone. Check it out here.
NAB Salutes Coverage
In response to local TV and radio broadcasters' extensive coverage of the series of tornadoes, NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH issued the following statement, "NAB salutes our radio and television station colleagues in the MIDWEST and SOUTH for breaking news coverage of devastating tornadoes that have caused so much human tragedy in recent days and weeks. In times of crisis, local broadcasters are a reliable first informer in providing emergency weather coverage that saves lives. Our thoughts are with those recovering from catastrophic tornadoes, and we applaud local TV and radio stations that are galvanizing relief efforts in grieving communities."