Wednesday, July 25, 2012


After nearly a week of soaking everything in, I thought I'd write about the shooting in Aurora and how I thought radio handled it.

Friday was a surreal day.  I live about 15 minutes from the theatre in Aurora.  While I work and live in Denver, Dial Global has nothing to do with Denver radio, we are only based there.  So I have the advantage of working in radio, but not being involved in Denver radio.  I get a really clear 30,000 foot view of the stations and the market.  I get to "listen" to the radio, not "monitor" it as I would if I worked in Denver radio.

In Denver, it was wall to wall coverage on TV and radio.  I first heard about the shooting from my clock radio as I always wake up to 850 KOA.  I listened to their coverage as the facts were just starting to roll in (it was about 5:30am, only a few hours after the shooting).  I then turned on the TV and flipped back and forth between local and national TV.  On my way into work I flipped around and listened to KEZW, KNUS, The Wolf, The Fox, KYGO, KBPI, and KOA. 

After comparing the radio coverage to the TV coverage, radio by far had the advantage over TV.  Here's why:
  • Radio was able to truly capture the emotion of the day with the listeners and personalities.  TV was all hard news with not much emotion (as the days went on, TV became more emotional with tributes to the victims.  Radio reacted a lot faster).

  • Typically, radio personalities are better at ad-libbing and knowing what to say and how to say it.  A lot of TV anchors and reporters have a tough time being natural and ad-libbing.  There was far more real, raw emotion (from both callers and personalities) on the radio. 

  • Radio was able to have far more "real people" on the air.  Not only giving reports, but telling their stories, sending out condolences and sharing.  Radio was truly a voice for Denver.

  • TV was too polished.  At times too slick.  Radio was more organic, genuine and real.  TV became "Hollywood" pretty quick.  Big graphics and sound effects.  Some TV stations/networks felt a little too produced to me.

  • I listen to a lot of talk radio, but the music stations were able to help the healing process with music and lyrics.  TV couldn't touch that.

  • TV news (both locally and nationally) were competing with each other to have the most updated information.  In doing that, they were too fast and there were mistakes.  ABC News had a couple of big ones.   Radio was more about reaction, sharing feelings and being the place to go to talk about what happened.
While at work, I continued to listen to local radio, watch a little TV and do my best to keep up to date.  I honestly feel the Denver radio stations were right on top of it (unfortunately, many had been through this before with Columbine and knew how to react).

Denver radio really played a part in the healing process that needed to start as soon as possible.

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