(By Randy Lane) Last Monday morning, shows all over North America were grappling with how to handle mass shootings over the weekend. Some shows took a deep dive while others never mentioned it.
Here’s how four top-rated morning shows treated the situation.
The Syndicated Bert Show
“We spoke from the heart about our pain and sense of hopelessness. We took suggestions on possible fixes, regardless of point of view. We listened and we were not combative with those we didn’t agree with. We focused on emotions rather than politics. We hit it once an hour, Monday, the day after the shooting.” – Bert Weiss
The Syndicated Tino Cochino Radio
“How do you just kick off a fun show like any other day when a situation like Dayton and El Paso happened over the weekend. I’m sure you hugged your loved ones a little tighter last night. Our mission is to never give light or focus on the negative. We are here to take away from that, to give you an escape. We’re going to have a phenomenal show today and do it in the memory of the lives that were lost over the weekend.” – Tino Cochino
Bailey and Southside — Rock 100.5 Atlanta
“We hit the headline hourly and teased that we would do a deep dive at 9. We discussed it for a half an hour without getting political.” – Jason Bailey
The show also gave information about a local active shooter presentation.
Drake in the Morning — Max 98.1 Memphis
The show talked to a lab technician who outlined specifics on how the government could check for mental illness on gun registrations without an invasion of privacy.
TAKEAWAY ACTION POINTS:
1. Know when to break the rules. Your show may have a policy of not addressing hard news stories. On a music station that is a good idea 99% of the time. However, on events that affect your audience and the world, one percent of the time, break the rules and acknowledge the event.
2. When major breaking news affects all your listeners, how can you be an authentic part of your listener’s life if you don’t mention the situation? At least address the story hourly as a breaking news headline.
3. Some shows addressed the issue for a couple of minutes in the opening and didn’t mention it again. Acknowledging the event is good, but less than 10% of the audience heard it. Once is not enough. Replay your opening or talk about the topic once an hour throughout the show.
4. Talk about the facts and the circumstances and tell the stories of those affected.
Randy Lane launched his media talent coaching and personal brand development company in 1996. He can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at [email protected].