WDBO is one of the country’s most well known news stations and once it was known the Orlando incident was a major national event, the station was well prepared to cover it and keep the community informed. We spoke to Cox Media Group Operations Manager Drew Anderssen Sunday about the steps his team took to get the story out on WDBO and eventually all CMG stations.
What was the first thing you did to activate the coverage when you heard what had happened?
At first word, we immediately started waking members of our news team out of bed and mobilizing our resources. During that process, we coordinated with CMG-TV station WFTV Eyewitness News 9 to simulcast live coverage so that we did not experience any lag in communicating the urgent situation to listeners of our radio stations. By 5am, our entire radio news team was in place, providing reports to all CMG properties in and out of market, in conjunction with WFTV. By 10am, the morning show hosts from our CMG Orlando radio stations (Power 95.3, Star 94.5, 98.9 WMMO, K92.3, and ESPN 580) were all gathered in the WDBO studio and we began simulcasting round-table coverage, allowing listeners to react while our news team focused on gathering and distributing urgent information across our network.
When and why did you decide to get all your stations simulcasting coverage?
We made that decision Sunday morning after the first news conference as we were learning of the growing number of victims and need for community outreach services. We knew that this story would capture the community, the state, and the nation and we wanted to provide a way for listeners to learn, share, and connect with each other and with our on-air team.
What have you been hearing from the listeners?
Because we are simulcasting our coverage on our CMG-Orlando radio stations (Power 95.3, Star 94.5, 98.9 WMMO, K92.3, and ESPN 580), we’re getting very diverse calls, most from concerned listeners who want to be able to contribute in some way to the needs of the community. Many are sharing their stories from loved ones and their families/friends. We’ve also spoken with the families of loved ones, club goers, and even one of the DJs from inside the nightclub, who left prior to the shooting.
One of your people was on Fox news today. How did that come about?
That was News 96.5 WDBO’s Morning News Host, Joe Kelley. Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts of Fox & Friends and syndicated radio show Kilmeade and Friends, reached out to me directly to secure a local contact on behalf of The Fox News Channel. Brian is an incredible talent who is always using his connections to give listeners and viewers inside perspective. Brian will be live from Orlando tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends, and WDBO will air all three hours of his syndicated radio show live tomorrow from 9a-12noon, originating from our studios in Orlando.
What are your plans for coverage moving forward?
We are going to evaluate as time progresses. We have been in wall-to-wall coverage for nearly 12 hours now. We know there is a vigil set to take place this evening in Downtown Orlando, and I’m sure we’ll be wall-to-wall through that vigil, if not longer. We are coordinating joint efforts across our CMG family of brands locally and regionally including television, radio, and newspaper, and will work together to distribute information in the fastest and most efficient way. Additionally, we have extended our radio news staffing through the evening and overnight hours to make sure that we can adequately cover new developments. For now, our entire team has been “on the grid” since the early morning hours, with no sign of slowing down.
Reach out to Drew to congratulate him and his team on their outstanding coverage: Drew.Anderssen@coxinc.com