Boston Radio Provides Information, Comfort Following Marathon Tragedy

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(from Billboard.biz, April 16, 2013) Following the tragic explosions during the 117th running of the Boston marathon, live and local radio stations reinforce its value as a provider of information. Local radios informed listeners of the most up to date details and of places to gather to share the sadness that overwhelmed the city. News and talk radio stations like CBS radio WBZ-AM and WRKO unsurprisingly provided updates and streamed callers with thoughts on the subject. Music stations faced a greater break in their normal flow of fun and upbeat songs. Regardless, radio stepped up its responsibility to public service.

After the initial impact of the tragedy set in, one caller thanked a local station for discussing Patriot’s Day. Patriot’s Day is an annual holiday for Massachusetts’s citizens only, which is celebrated by the running of the annual marathon, a mid-morning Boston Red Sox game, and a day off work and school. The annual day of celebration has now turned to a day solemn.

CBS radio adult 40 WBMX was one of the first FM stations to report the explosion. “The morning team of Karson, Kennedy, and Salt brought a variety of perspectives when they took to the air at 5:45 in the morning,” says APD/MD Mike Mullaney. Kennedy was running in the race, Salt was celebrating his first-ever Boston Marathon Day, and Karson was at the finish line 15 minutes prior to the explosion. The trio reported that their sister TV station was speaking to runners who were at the site of the explosion and a child psychologist who was to report on how to explain the tragedy to children.

Station WAAF is continuing the reporting by providing updates from local politicians and reporters. They are also incorporating various sweepers and audio cards that are saluting heroes. The messages include key phone numbers and information from authorities. WAAF has also begun using social media as another form of public service. Radio is ultimately helping all affected to deal with the horrible event and most are going beyond the obligation of provide public service announcements.