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What if You Are a Music Station?


Music intensive morning shows that often use bits and humor will be faced with how to address the Newtown tragedy this morning and in the weeks to come when funerals with tiny caskets become the focus of the story. Consultant Gary Berkowitz tells Radio Ink things should not be exactly as they were when you left the air on Friday. "Never appear to be taking advantage of the situation in any way."

Berkowitz says he did have stations reach out to him for suggestions on what to do today. "My suggestions were to acknowledge that a terrible tragedy occurred in Connecticut and we would pass on more information as it came in. Since this happened on Friday with wall to wall TV coverage all weekend, most people are very aware of everything by now. I would go back to regular programming, toning down the morning show just a bit. Simply let your listeners know that you are with them and feel the pain they are going through. Never report on rumors only facts and no matter what you do, nothing should be perceived as a tactic to get more listenership. Tremendous empathy must be used if you are in the community where it occurred. 

Moving forward, Berkowitz says, if you plan to help, try to quickly find out what the community where it occurred needs and attempt to help. "In the case of Newtown, I’m not sure there is much out of market stations can do to help other than to pass along condolences and the fact that you are thinking of them  in thoughts and prayers."

Gary Berkowitz can be reached at 248-737-3727 or

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