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Radio Provides Extensive Coverage of Unthinkable Terror Attack (CBS Radio)

Topic: Community-Focused Initiatives

Radio Ink and Inside Radio provided details on broadcast radio stations’ response to the tragedy. CBS Radio brought personnel from all of its morning shows to help WQMP-FM and WOMX-FM Orlando. As listeners asked how they could help, CBS provided information on where to donate blood.

Westwood One sent two reporters, Alan Scaia and Scott Kimbler, to Orlando on June 12 to cover the massacre. The station group quickly committed to keeping Scaia and Kimbler in Orlando all week to cover the aftermath and President Obama’s planned trip to Orlando on June 16.

iHeartMedia Orlando’s WFLA-FM, WXXL-FM, WJFF-FM and WYGM-AM preempted programming to air extensive news coverage produced by WFLA-FM and partners WOFL-TV and WESH-TV. "The LBGT community is well represented within our on-air talent and so there was poignancy to many of the talent exchanges," iHeartMedia’s Chris Kampmeier said. He added that radio has a unique ability to "allow and embrace listeners calling in to share their feelings and any direct knowledge of the situation they may have... They want to feel like they are part of the community and being on the radio and/or hearing those who are helps everyone feel connected and involved."

"Watching radio doing just that with its audience during such heartbreak these past few days was another reminder of the value of our storied industry and why radio talent matter," Cumulus and Westwood One Vice President Lori Lewis told All Access. "The Orlando radio market, along with cities across the country, shined in the darkest times."

"Where radio distinguishes itself and what truly spotlights its niche among all media is/was and will continue to be, its distinct ability to reach out, dig in and be part ’of’ the community," said Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti.

Cox Media Group (CMG)’s Orlando stations WPYO-FM, WCFB-FM, WMMO-FM, WWKA-FM and WDBO-FM worked with CMG’s ABC affiliate WFTV to simulcast live coverage and provide reports to stations nationwide. Morning show hosts from all stations gathered at WDBO for an on-air roundtable discussion, allowing listeners to react while the news team gathered and distributed information. CMG Orlando staff members worked around the clock, providing 12 hours of wall-to-wall coverage on June 12.

"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," said Operations Manager Drew Anderssen. "[We were] 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 are an extension of the community and we are here for our listeners to vent, cry and share their feelings,” WQMP-FM and WOMX-FM Program Director Dennis Martinez told Inside Radio.


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