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Re: attacks on Afghanistan have begun

On Sunday, October 7, 2001, at 10:08  PM, Dan Billings wrote:

> It's not like today's attacks were a surprise.

I think that's the key sentence when it comes to breaking format for war 
news.  Other than report on explosions, there wasn't a lot of live news 
to report.  The TV networks gave us the usual lineup of expert opinions, 
repeated blurry videotapes, and creative speculation.

Of course this is a big story, but there's a huge difference in what the 
"homeland" audience needed to hear.  On September 11, everyone was 
stunned, afraid for the Americans in the attack zones, unsure of what 
was to come next, and in desperate need of instantaneous information.  
Today, everyone wanted to hear that the attacks had started, and then 
for many people there was no immediate need for wall-to-wall information.

Listeners to a music station don't expect or want continuous news 
coverage in most situations.  I think today's news is more like the Gulf 
War attacks, when many people wanted to be updated and reassured, but 
not to lose the music completely.  What they really need is to trust 
their radio station to give them important breaking news when it's 

It's ironic that these attacks happened right after two of Los Angeles' 
biggest stations (Clear Channel's KOST and KBIG) decided to voice-track 
many of their airshifts.  Their audiences won't have the reassurance 
that a live human being is there to keep them informed when it's 
necessary.  Of course Clear Channel and others have inflicted this 
situation on many stations across the country, but on major stations in 
the number 2 market, that's pathetic.