While the entire United States was celebrating the long 4th of July weekend, the state of California was rocking….literally. Big earthquakes followed by hundreds of aftershocks shook the state. KFI Program Director Robin Bertolucci tells Radio Ink KFI was on the air live when the studio in Burbank started shaking.
When the quakes first started, here’s what Andrew Jeffries, iHeartMedia’s EVP Programming/West Division National Programming Group told Radio Ink. “We had immediate reports on all stations in LA lead from our KFI news team, live DJ’s on stations taking calls and relating their experiences, our PD team huddled on next steps. We were on the phone to news teams and digital crew while the ground was still shaking with action plans. After confirming all staff and services were ok we kicked into action. Reporters had been in Ridgecreast until about 6 p.m., the 7.1 quake hit at 7:30 p.m., and they went straight back. And, we ran through that same process again with live talent in studios doing updates, extra staff in the KFI news room, LA news staff talking with nationwide news and radio products – journalists everywhere and all instantly. We were prepared and reacted instantly in both earthquake cases of the bigger quakes and the 1400 or so aftershocks and will continue to do so as the situation or any new situations unfold. The robust notification system in our cluster is rock solid.”
Bertolucci sent us the pictures below from reporter Kris Ankarlo. We also interviewed Bertolucci over the holiday weekend about KFI’s earthquake coverage
Radio Ink: What were you doing when you felt the earthquakes?
Robin Bertolucci: I was home and being a California girl I knew right away that this was a significant quake….and it just kept going and going. Felt like forever!
Radio Ink: What was the first action you took?
Robin Bertolucci: Called in, coordinated with news and went wall to wall with our coverage. Worked with our news director, Chris Little, and made sure that in addition to KFI being covered that all of our iHeart LA stations had the latest information. In addition to supplying info for KFI we are the news source for the whole cluster.
Radio Ink: Is there a plan in place for earthquakes?
Robin Bertolucci: Absolutely. We cover it, we go wall to wall, we dispatch reporters, we get the info out from listeners who felt it to our entire staff who is covering it. We carry news conferences, we get the word out! Everyone pitched in- from Mo Kelly who was on the air at the time of the first one to Wayne Resnick for the second, even bigger one. Everyone jumped into action from our producers to our news team- anchors, editors and reporters, to our talk hosts. It is a whole team effort and I couldn’t be prouder of the job they all do!
Radio Ink: Did you ever lose power?
Robin Bertolucci: The elevators went out.
Radio Ink: What’s the coverage plan moving forward?
Robin Bertolucci: Whatever happens KFI news is on it. We say “KFI News, on the hour, on the half and when it breaks” and we are proud to be the go-to place for southern California when news breaks, whatever that is!
Radio Ink: Have you ever had to cover anything like this before?
Robin Bertolucci: I wasn’t here for the last big quake (Northridge) but I’ve been a part of covering fires, shootings, and too many other emergencies. KFI news is on it and they know just what to do!
Radio Ink: Talk about how your team did.
Robin Bertolucci: I am so damn proud of all of them. Our news team is top notch, our editors are the best, our hosts and producers are remarkable.