Shadow Play: Radio Stations Sync Up With The Total Solar Eclipse


    After months of build-up and with millions making the journey to the path of totality, the total solar eclipse completed its path over North America on Monday. The celestial phenomenon began in Mexico, cutting a path through the US from Texas to Maine.

    Viewers on the eclipse’s central line witnessed up to four minutes of totality, as reported by NASA. With an estimated 32 million Americans living within the eclipse’s path, Radio Ink asked how your stations were celebrating and we heard plenty of community-engaging, fun, and memorable ideas. Here’s how radio got in the celestial spirit and made local connections:

    Lenny Diana – Sarkes Tarzian Indianapolis

    “We had a 37-song eclipse playlist on 92.3 WTTS. We started at the very beginning of the eclipse (for us 1:50p) and went to the end when the moon left (for us 4:20p). Surprisingly, the eclipse was PPM-friendly in Indianapolis.”

    “Before the break, we warmed up with the Counting Crows’ “Daylight Fading” and Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.” 1:50p started with Duran Duran’s “New Moon on Monday.” By 2:11 we got to U2’s “Staring at the Sun,” working through and touching Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon,” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” among others.”

    “We hit into “Brain Damage/Eclipse” by Pink Floyd just as totality started. It segued brilliantly into Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” By the end of Bonnie Tyler, we started to come out of totality.”

    “After the break, we played sun, light, and daylight songs until the moon left the sun’s path. We did start with “Turn It On Again” by Genesis because it felt like a dimmer light was turned down and then it started to turn on again.”

    “Oh, and after the eclipse ended we had a 33-mile backup on the highway. Everyone left the city at the same time.”

    Captain Chris – Sarkes Tarzian Ft Wayne, IN

    Alt Eclipse

    “Alt 99.5/102.3 (WGBJ) did a special playlist on air today from 1:50-3:10p. Most of the things we did on WLDE and WAJI were leading up to the Eclipse giving away carload passes & glasses to the state fairgrounds in Indy, the state’s largest campout. Classic Hits 101.7 (WLDE) also gave away passes to the Eclipse Festival at Conner Prairie in Carmel, IN just north of Indy including an overnight stay.


    Majic 95.1 (WAJI) also had (morning co-host) Andy Beckman out on location at Jefferson Pointe outdoor mall last Friday passing out free Eclipse Glasses to procrastinators from WAJI – first come, first serve.”

    Audacy St. Louis

    KMOX-AM sent anchor Michael Calhoun to maybe the highest vantage point in all of radio – he covered the eclipse via Skype on a Southwest Airlines flight from St. Louis to Houston.

    Cumulus Media Huntsville, AL


    104.3 WZYP distributed 1,000 custom “I’m getting mooned with WZYP” solar eclipse glasses for free, with the slogan chosen through a listener contest ahead of the event. Listeners who wore the WZYP glasses in selfies and tagged the station’s Facebook page stood a chance to win “ZYP Total Eclipse Cash.”

    WZYP also curated a themed playlist for its “ZYP Throwback Lunch” feature, showcasing a collection of sun-related tracks.

    Dayton Public Radio

    Discover Classical 88.1 (WDPR) had its own custom timed playlist from 2:30-4p, playing music “inspired by natural wonders, including pieces about the sun, moon, and sky.” Totality-timed pieces included Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” best known from the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Hubbard Broadcasting Cincinnati

    While she couldn’t make a mixtape for every single listener, Holly Morgan from Mix 94.9 (WREW) created her very own Solar Eclipse Hit List and posted it on the station site.

    Dark Side Of The Moon

    Other stations went far out, man, and played the entire 42:50 runtime of Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic, including Beasley Philadelphia’s Classic Rock 102.9 WMGK, Townsquare Media Albany’s Q105.7 (WQBK), and Northshire Communications 102.7 WEQX in Manchester, VT.

    The next total solar eclipse to pass the majority of the US isn’t until 2045, so you have plenty of chances to pick the perfect promotion by then.


    1. This was a visual event. People glued to their phones. It’s OK for radio to point to their social channels… then again, you have to put in the work and actually create relevant social Channels….


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