Friday, April 3, 2020

How is your station best serving your community during the Coronavirus Pandemic to keep them informed and help them cope?

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April 3, 2020

How is your station best serving your community during the Coronavirus Pandemic to keep them informed and help them cope?

Beata Murphy, KIIS: Being there, having conversations with them whether it’s on air or on socials listeners need that friend now more than ever.

Erik Bradley, B96: Running hourly newscasts from our sister station WBBM-AM, started a hotline for listeners to call in to shout out folks who are doing good in the community, highlighting those on the front lines fighting the virus and helping protect our community, among other things.
Java Joel, WAKS: We’ve been pumpin’ our socials (especially IG) with a mix of news/info/data and fun “diversions”. On the air we are saluting the “essential workers”, including health care, food service/delivery, store clerks. We’ve started an Instagram Live series called “Social KISS-tance” – Mini IG Live broadcasts highlighting new artists on the come up. We’ll chat, they’ll perform and we’ll discuss how they’re coping in our new world. Big emphasis on local, now more than ever!
Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: Our talent and programmers have been doing amazing and creative work over the past couple of weeks and many of them are working remotely. As a company, we’re running hourly COVID-19 special reports on all music and talk stations; COVID-19 PSAs from the CDC, American Red Cross, No Kid Hungry and the Ad Council are also running hourly. Our stations did a simulcast of the National Anthem this past Monday with a very inspiring introduction by Bob Pittman. We’re producing weekly public affairs programs for our stations called “Coronavirus Explained,” with the very latest information from Doctors and Medical Professionals. Our podcast team is creating content daily including WFH guides, News/Financial Updates, “Staying Calm” with meditation expert Bob Roth, home cooking segments and educational podcasts from the “Stuff Works” team. We’re working with our clients on daily shout-out spots showcasing what they’re doing to help. And, of course, we’re working closely with FOX on the iHeart Living Room Concert hosted by Elton John to benefit Feeding America and First Responder’s Children’s Foundation with “living room” performances from Alicia KeysBackstreet BoysBillie EilishBillie JoeArmstrong of Green DayCamila CabelloDave GrohlH.E.R.Mariah CareySam Smith and Tim McGraw.

Chris Michaels, FM100: Now with more people working from home, we are giving away Amazon Echo Dot Devices to help listeners Stay Connected while working from home. We are updating listeners every hour around the clock with COVID-19 updates on the air, and on our website as well.
Jordan, KSLZ: We’ve added lists of local restaurants that have take-out and delivery and began promoting them accordingly. On our morning show, we’re welcoming local businesses and listeners to send us updates via Instagram DM where we spend some time giving those businesses some love throughout the day. We also have hourly promos thanking first responders, medical personnel, service industry employees, and all essential representatives throughout the area. Lots of love woven throughout Z107.7!
Jammer, WEZB: We’re doing QuaranTunes. Songs that have been in quarantine for awhile that we are not unlocking. Lots of “Oh Wow!” records.

Matt Bosso, WODS: We’re putting as many people on the air as we can. We’re making the listeners the stars. We’re also doing “Takeout Shoutouts” for restaurants through our website.
Bob Patrick, WXLK: We’ve got a teacher hotline set-up so teachers can reach out to their students via audio messages on the air. We’re in the midst of setting up a few Class of 2020 celebrations as well once things get back to normal. We’ve set our our texting system so they can get info straight from the CDC and we’ve been very busy keeping our socials up to date with any new developments. For some musical fun, we’ve been sprinkling in a few “Oh S**t” songs throughout the day.
Sassy: Our mayor has shut down pretty much everything so we continue to report the businesses that are still open and we are constantly reminding people where they can order take-out for themselves and people in need. We have people constantly call in and tell us how they are dealing with the situation with kids at home and where the best gas prices are in town and their favorite take-out places. People are just enjoying hearing their community members telling them how they are coping with all of these new challenges out there and sharing experiences.
Brian Mack, WXXL: We’re doing a lot of “Virtual Meet Ups” like Happy Hour once a week with the morning show is an example. Companionship and connection are our goals!
Josh Wolff, WAEB: We’re doing hourly newscasts with the latest updates. But most of all we’re trying to provide an escape for our listeners and inject some fun and games into their lives. We’re currently doing a two-week Virtual Easter-egg Hunt contest on our website for a chance for listeners to win prizes. Each day the Easter Bunny is on a different air personality’s page. We’re also doing a WTQ (What The Quarantine) photo contest and we’re asking listeners to submit pictures of themselves as they are practicing self-quarantining and social distancing habits. One person at the end of the contest will win prizes. We really are opting for the lighter side as we continue to report all the updates.
Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: I I’ve been spending a lot of time with PD’s and morning shows on the need to balance information and entertainment during this challenging time. We’ve been re-thinking content through the lens of how our audience is actually using radio right now, and how their lives have changed. Everything from giving away home-delivered family meals to re-branding cash giveaways as more heartfelt “helping to pay people’s bills” instead of the typical hype contesting.
Mase, CD1025: We are actually giving away free advertising to a lot of the smaller, local businesses that are still open.
Joe Breezy, WNFN: We’re giving away gift cards to local restaurants for take-out and giving away cash to help our community. Of course we’re trying to straddle the line between informative, entertaining and an escape at the same time. We’re in the business of “fun” so we can’t forget that!
Buster Satterfield, Q102: We’re doing “Teachers Love Philly” Philly needs its local teaching staff now more than ever! We are encouraging teachers to submit 1 minute videos (lesson plans or words of wisdom) through our website to help motivate parents that have had to become home teachers.
Mike “OD” O’Donnell, WKRZ: We’re communicating with people as often as we can via technology platforms. On my FM’s we’re running newsbreaks every hour and focusing on what’s going on locally in the counties around us. We’re importing our News stations pages on all our cluster websites. On our Facebook pages I created an initiative called Helping Hand which uses the power of all of our likes on all of our pages. People are sharing information, or if people want to volunteer to help others in need, and it’s been a great way for people to connect within our communities. On KRZ’s page we received 75,000 likes and FROGGY received over 50,000 to date.
Jagger, WKSS: We partner with our ABC affiliate and we give hourly Connecticut Coronavirus reports. So there’s always an updated news report on all of our stations in the cluster. This way our personalities don’t have to overload the senses with news all the time and we can take the listeners back into our world of music and providing an escape from the daily grind of this thing. We still talk about what’s happening on a more positive note and let the hourly reports handle the hardcore stuff. We also have our Community Access building Renee DiNino and she is our PSA Director for all our stations and she’s been doing a great job of providing content for all the stations on the websites and that’s where all our local touches are with local politicians and small business, etc.
Rick Cummings, Emmis Communications: We believe our local content and revenue people are best equipped to determine the needs of their audience and advertisers. So the content at Hot 97 for Ebro in the Morning (heavily occupied with information and discussion about COVID-19) is entirely different from WYXB in Indianapolis, where this weekend, Indy’s Christmas music station is dusting off the holiday music as a mood enhancer. Our branded podcast company, Sound that BRANDS, was among the first to produce and distribute a twice-daily Coronavirus 411 podcast update. Airing in some 65 different countries it consistently ranks high on news podcast rankings from Chartable and others. Several weeks ago, we teamed with Benztown, to produce a shorter ‘broadcast version’ of Coronavirus 411, again twice-daily that we offer up for free to every radio station in the United States.
Max Volume, KOZZ: By getting out as much useful information as possible. Every air shift. In my career, there have been many times that you have to transition from “entertainer” to news anchor.

Next Week's Question Of The Week:
With everyone sequestered at home these days, which celebrities from any of the entertainment, music and/or sports fields would you enjoy as neighbors?
e-Mail your responses to: or

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