Preparing for war
KFBK and KSTE
Make certain that we are monitoring CNN and ABC's Sat Que. Sat Que must be turned up loud. We can not just rely on someone occasionally checking the wires. Do NOT turn down the volume on ABC Sat Que. Ross, please consider setting the volume high and removing the volume knob, otherwise someone will turn it down and you'll miss an important bulletin.
Board ops: The second you get a notification that war has begun make sure you are prepared to hit news bulletin sounder and get the information on IMMEDIATELY. As soon as it is offered, cut to network updates or long-form coverage immediately. Then call and page Ken and Cristi.
If War breaks out after 10AM M-F please make sure that we call Joe and Jack to come in and take KSTE into long-form as well.
Our Coverage will be called America's War with Iraq In writing copy please call our coverage, 'LIVE In-Depth Team Coverage of America's War with Iraq.'
After a major terror attack or after the war begins take all presidential addresses and public appearances.
Branding liners have been produced and are in the system. Michael please issue a memo making it clear where board ops will find this important imaging. Mike also make certain that our cross promos on the FMs all address Live in-depth team coverage of the War with Iraq on Newstalk 1530 KFBK
Editors, producers get to work on a 'war list' immediately. Make sure it includes local experts, sources, military types, other CC newsrooms around the country, network contacts etc. Cristi please coordinate this and make certain it is posted everywhere.
As soon as something happens, notify everyone! Cristi will make sure a complete staff phone list is posted in the newsroom, the studios. Take one home; leave one in your car. You may be asked to help with staff notification.
As it becomes evident something is approaching, the entire news staff will be placed on standby, even when you're not working. In your off hours listen to KFBK, KGO, and KCBS, watch CNN, MSNBC. Not only will this help keep you posted on war and possible attacks you will find some terrific story ideas. News immersion. Watch, listen, read!
Make sure pagers, tape decks, mini discs all have fresh batteries. Carry spare batteries. Reporters should carry cell phones at all times. Remember¡K.we ARE or about to be at WAR.
CNN-TV audio feed will undoublty be our first on air coverage. Make certain that you know how to bring CNN up on the boards of both KFBK and KSTE. They were first by a mile in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War and again on September 11th. Despite all the news sources out there they are the best in spot situations and could be first again.
When the war begins take What CNN and ABC offer. Go to long form as soon as they offer it. Turn it up and let it go.
While I fully expect to be executive producing our coverage you may find yourself in charge of this breaker for some time prior to Cristi or I getting to the station. Anchors only, unless you think you can do a better job by jumping in and out of network long-form with local windows, stay with it. You can still start branding our coverage immediately with the bumpers already standing by in the system. Just force them over the network. Network coverage sounds good and will contain the information the listener most wants to hear. And the network has national resources that simply cannot be duplicated on a local level. Getting to network coverage quickly and staying with it for a time also allows our newsroom to mobilize forces to gather angles pertaining to our region.
While the network is on make sure our team of reporters, editors, anchors and talk hosts are working local angles, local people involved, local experts for commentary, federal buildings on alert, watch local gas prices etc.
Then when appropriate we'll find ways to work local into the national programming. ABC has a tight long-form wheel but there are optional cutaways at :19:55, :30:25, :49:50 and :58:50 around status reports.
Remember, don't do local just to do local. This is an international/national story and the nets do a great job. You will know when it is right and you have the right stories to use. If you are going to make a mistake, do too much network. Especially early. THIS IS WAR. We will only get hurt by not giving people enough information at a time like this not by giving them too much.
If long form coverage is not warranted by the situation, then carry ABC status. Anchor those in studio plus other locally produced coverage. Start with four per hour minimum. Always err on the side of overkill. Actually, there is no such thing as overkill in a situation like this. Ideally, long form coverage is the way to go using a combination of local anchors/hosts and network updates and cutaways.
The initial hours of coverage are critical. People who have never listened to our stations will be tuning in out of curiosity, desperation, panic and a hunger for information. RIGHT NOW, convert them to P-1's, or at least make them a future cumer. We must make sure we meet their expectations, otherwise they're gone forever and they ain't coming back.
Don't forget KGBY, KHYL and KSTE. They'll need help and information as well. They will help with KFBK cross-promotion also.
Monitor TV networks and local stations for contacts and leads. If they have good ideas, turn them around and quickly make them our own.
Don't forget, when appropriate use language like 'a Newstalk 1530 KFBK exclusive' 'a story you are only hearing on KFBK' or 'a story you heard first on KFBK'. Make sure we own being FIRST.
Ross, if possible, can we have a short wave radio wired up in the newsroom so that we can capture audio. Obtain a copy of the latest edition of Monitoring Times magazine, which lists all of the International English language broadcast stations. If we don't have one in the family I would recommend pricing the Sony ICF-2010 (or its equivalent) for a good, moderately priced, portable short-wave radio with an antenna on the roof.
Don't forget about the time difference between here and the Middle East/Iraq. They are eight to ten hours AHEAD of Eastern Standard Time. In other words, when it's 12 Noon on the West Coast, its 11pm in Baghdad.
Make sure a list of all Satellite channel assignments along with instructions on how to access them is posted in pit and both control rooms. Plus all network news numbers need to be all over your news and control rooms.
Make sure everyone is accessing WireReady checking the Clear Channel Wire Service for updates, information, ideas, news copy, etc.
ALWAYS roll on every on air interview, including during the network coverage. You never know when they will have something for other dayparts and for your newscasts. Remember the War Room with Mark Williams needs a ton of stuff.
Fold audio back into newscasts, talk shows, promos and sweepers
Talk shows, find the right time to work local callers into the coverage. People will be angry, frightened¡Kthe emotion of America IS part of the story. Use it!
INTERVIEW AND NEWS POSSIBILITIES:
Local and State Universities for a published guide of
'Spokespersons and Experts.'
Local Congressmen (know key committees involved)
Local Senators (same)
Chemical/Biological warfare experts
High ranking local military or ex-military officials
Military History professors
Local Mosque spokesperson
Political Science professor
Government & Politics professor
International affairs experts and/or professor
Hazardous materials expert / Local Haz-Mat Director
Middle Eastern Studies professor
Veterans of Desert Storm or the recent Afghanistan Conflict
Local families with loved ones currently in the Middle East
Local families of business types working in the Middle East
Local Companies with business ties to the Middle East (oil etc.)
Arab League Rep
Jewish Community Center Rep
Local airports and airlines
Military recruiting offices
Hotels ¡V stranded travelers?
National Guard/State Police (Are they on alert?)
Local emergency management officials or agencies
What about public access to Federal and State buildings?
Local schools ¡V business as usual?
Psychologists for effects on children
Is there a foreign consulate nearby (Israel has one in Houston)
Keep focused on the wires whatever for story angles occurring in CC markets
If a local TV station sends someone to the area find a way to use them, radio exclusive
Dispatch reporters to area military bases. Talk to anyone you can. Most officers can't and won't speak directly about any ongoing actions in the Middle East. However, they will usually speak in hypothetically and quote standard procedure, etc. Look for protestors outside the bases as well.
An 'A' team(s) will be identified and on hot standby at all times. I'll try to schedule talent intelligently and strategically. Since initial reports and coverages will probably be network, we'll save morning drive team for morning drive.
Start booking guests immediately¡K.regardless of the time. DO NOT worry about waking up people¡K.there's a war going on! Plus we can stash the tape for later use if these folks can't be on call for later. Even guests of national stature won't hang up on you during a time like this. You can't afford not to do it. It is in these first few minutes or hours we'll either win or lose the image.
Exploit our web site. Provide updates, informal flash polling, email reaction. Put links on your site to good links. If you have web questions contact Andy Friedman. He is the Senior Content Manager for News/Talk with Clear Channel Interactive. He can be reached at (847) 784-7017 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Make your coverage a truly interactive experience for the listeners. The Internet is also an obvious valuable resource for information, guests to interview, weather in Iraq, etc.
Talk shows are also a very important piece to the coverage puzzle. After the long form coverage dies down talk shows should live it and breathe it 24 hours a day. YOU CANNOT OVERKILL this story. It's like disc jockeys playing records. When the jock gets tired of it, the public is just getting warmed up. Stay focused and on Topic 'A'. Fresh angles, relentless promoting and pre-promoting. Talk shows are very important for the public just to vent at first.
Don't get hung up on being 'local.' Just be the BEST. Doesn't matter where the talk show originates from, as long as it is the best available. Remember after 9-11 Clear Channel provided some around the clock talk programming focused on the news for stations without local hosts. These were great programs and better than taped syndicate fare. Especially in a time of War. I am sure our company will look to do this again. Keep your eye on your e-mail for updates and I will keep you posted on what I find out. But let's plan on not running Best ofs during the first few days of the conflict.
Remember to ask me if regular programming should continue to run on weekends and if we have specialty shows that can't or won't talk about the war¡K.we will probably blow them off. Even Dr. Laura. Remember, no fishing shows, gardening shows. We are AT WAR.
In the opening minutes of coverage blow off commercials. Contact me immediately.
Be sure to discrep all commercials that are missed. We'll have a plan for making spots good.
If there is imminent danger, under the FCC rules, AM stations may remain at full power through the night as long as they are in a non-commercial mode. This would be under the most extreme circumstances. For instance, the New York AM's did this the first couple of nights after the World Trade Center bombing. Ross, keep this in mind for KSTE.
Remember, normal weather, traffic, news beds may not be appropriate in wall to wall coverage. Please ask before proceeding on auto-pilot
As Rivercats season approaches we need to make sure we are aware of our contractual obligations with regard to interruptions for news of this magnitude.
We'll be proactive. Let's set a meeting with Rivercats now and make them aware of War or Terror attack plans? We MUST find a way interrupt for bulletins.
Everyone should know studio ISDN numbers. Everyone should be fully trained on ISDN. Make sure every shift has someone trained on how to use the ISDN any time day or night. This will come in handy for several reasons.
We may be feeding content to our new station in San Francisco Talk 910 KNEW. Their ISDN numbers will be on phone list. Please note they are included on notification list.