Category: Advice

How to Cover Breaking News at the Worst Possible Time

| May 13, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — Last night’s horrific derailment of an Amtrak Northeast Regional train just north of Philadelphia was an object lesson in why broadcasters MUST be prepared to spring into action at any moment.

The crash happened just before 9:30 pm – at a time when today, many radio stations simply have no news coverage or staffing.

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Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest

| April 29, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — It’s happened again…outrage unleashed on the streets of a major American city following a controversial police arrest and the death of the suspect.

This time it’s Baltimore — a city long polarized by economic disparities, troubled schools and strained relations between law enforcement and its citizens.

Civil unrest has rocked several neighborhoods, resulting in injury and destruction. The numbers tell the story: nearly 250 arrests as of this writing, almost 150 vehicles set on fire, numerous buildings looted and burned, nearly two dozen police officers hurt.

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What Radio Personalities Want and Need Most from a Coach

| March 25, 2015

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

mcmahonbillEAGLE, Idaho — It’s not easy being a radio personality. They work in relative isolation far from their listeners. They can’t see or hear them. Most radio studios don’t even have an outside window. The only immediate feedback personalities get on their performance is from those working with them in the studio. If they work alone, there is no feedback in the moment.

Oh, radio personalities get plenty of delayed reaction to their work, but it often does more harm than good. The phone lines light up or they don’t. Texts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails deliver all kinds of mixed messages. Some are glowing with praise and love. Others state clearly and unequivocally, “you suck!” After the show, the confusion continues. An enthusiastic PD might proclaim he loves a bit the personality hated, usually without offering specifics about what made it so good. Later, the GM weighs in saying, “I didn’t get that phone segment you did in the 8 o’clock hour and I don’t think it was relevant to our listeners.” Problem is the personality thinks it’s the best thing he did all morning and his followers on Twitter and Facebook seem to agree. This is the real world of a radio personality where everyone has an opinion on what they do and the opinions are anything but unanimous.

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Determining How Long It Will Take for a Radio Show to Succeed (and How Long to Give It)

| February 23, 2015

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

mcmahonbillEAGLE, Idaho — There are lots of variables to think about. Here are some questions to consider in order to come up with a realistic answer:

  • Let’s start with a reality check. How much time do you have to reach what ratings level? If you work for Bonneville or Hubbard you probably have more time than if you work for Cumulus or iHeartMedia? If you’re a GM or PD, it doesn’t really matter what you think is reasonable if your boss has other ideas. Find out what the bosses’ realities are. That’s your reality. If you don’t think the bosses’ ratings expectations are reasonable, better let him or her know up front. Matched expectations are good for job security.

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We’re All Born Creative

| February 18, 2015

By Bill McMahon
The Authenic Personality
CEO

mcmahonbillEAGLE, Idaho — From a very young age we all have a quiet little voice in our heads that comes from somewhere deep inside. It whispers unique and amazing thoughts and ideas to us. In the beginning, we all hear these ideas, get excited, and do something about them. Unfortunately, the bigger and more unusual the ideas, the more resistance we encounter when we try to bring them to life. Eventually, most of us stop listening to that quiet little voice, dismiss its thoughts and ideas, and just try to fit in because it’s too damn hard to do otherwise.

The most successful radio personalities and great artists of all kinds never stop listening to that quiet little voice in their heads no matter how tough it gets. I just watched an interview Charlie Rose did with James Taylor a couple of years ago. He talked about how hard it was for him early on in his life.

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Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right

| January 27, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — You’re already hearing it – the pundits pouncing all over broadcasters, their meteorologists, their promo people.

“It’s YOUR fault, you know.  YOUR fault a huge, powerful storm system hundreds of miles wide had the temerity to jog just 50 miles farther east, turning a forecast blizzard for many into a whimpering flurry.”

“Oh, and it’s YOUR fault, too – you emergency managers and business continuity pros – YOUR fault government and businesses took decisions that inconvenienced many and cost untold dollars in lost revenue or extra expense.”

Yeah, well – speaking as both a broadcaster and a certified emergency planning professional – to that I say simply and with strong resolve: “Good for us.”

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Reflections on the CES…

| January 15, 2015

Promotion Idea for Classic Rock Stations:
Give Away a Turntable, and Some Vinyl

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookeLAS VEGAS — As in past years, last week’s massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show was star-studded.  Someone from “The Biggest Loser” introduced Brookstone’s BodyForm Roller.  Dr. Phil spoke at the CES Health Summit.  And, of course, Ryan Seacrest was there.

More pertinent to radio: Familiar faces from the Syfy Channel’s “Ascension” and “Battlestar Galactica” were there for Elektrobit, a company that makes the innards of new-tech dashboards that listeners use to take-their-tunes to-go.  Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson signed autographs in the SMS Audio booth.  And possibly the most passionate celebrity appearing there was Neil Young.  He wasn’t just speaking.  He was speaking-OUT, about high-resolution music.  Young is irked about MP3 files, which he says aren’t the whole song.  It’s like Jay Leno’s gag about soup.  “It’s not a meal!  You’ve been cheated!”

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Je suis Charlie: “I am Charlie” –
and So are We All

| January 8, 2015

Protection against media terrorism, violence and hostility

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

pricehowardNEW YORK — The horrific terror attack on the satirical Parisian newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, has shaken the public at large, and the media most especially. The paper long has been in the crosshairs of extremists; its offices were firebombed in late 2011 after it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.  The BBC characterized the paper as “irreverent” in its coverage of current events and controversial issues – so irreverent, in fact, that its editor-in-chief was placed under police protection after receiving death threats.

Today, the police protection and physical security not withstanding, its offices were breached during an editorial meeting – and at least a dozen people, including the editor-in-chief and some of the paper’s most prominent cartoonists, were assassinated in a hail of automatic gunfire.

While there is no specific threat against any American media organizations, more than a few no doubt are reviewing their own security provisions and protocols right now. And with good reason. In recent years, a number of US media outlets have seen violence visited upon them:

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When the Crisis Is at Your Doorstep

| December 15, 2014

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — As I write this, Australian authorities are trying to end an hours-long hostage situation in the Lindt Chocolat Café at Martin Place, in the heart of Sydney’s central business district.

The area is home to government offices, shopping, financial institutions – and Sydney’s Channel 7, which is located virtually across the street from the scene.

Shortly after police responded, Channel 7 was ordered evacuated – its staff relocated to temporary facilities (see picture below left) — and police set up a monitoring point in its offices.

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Lessons Learned from Protests, Power Failures and Prolonged Snowfall

| December 3, 2014

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — Recent days have brought broadcasters across the country a trifecta of disasters.

In Ferguson, Missouri – where tensions between police and the public were inflamed after the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer  – the community’s public safety resources found themselves overwhelmed when anger turned to outrage and to violence.

In Western New York, the snow started and didn’t stop until parts of the region were buried under five or more feet.  Transportation in many areas was seriously disrupted; folks were trapped on deserted, snow-covered roads and waited hours for rescue.  Suddenly, a region famous for its sense of community felt very isolated.

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