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So I got some feedback about my comments on social media from last night (10/12) concerning other radio stations in Western Oklahoma job performance when it comes to Severe Weather. Funny thing is it wasn’t just from other jocks, but from regional / locally-known artists as well criticizing my “professionalism” for calling out some of the other stations markets. Allow me to make my points and you (whoever) can either agree to disagree or just disappear from my friends list as it makes no difference to sway my mind about the argument. Your loyalty will only get you so far until the listener turns off the radio or changes the station if you song comes on.
First and foremost, who is going to remember what artist or song was playing when the EAS tones come over the radio or the LIVE jock comes on and says “The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning for…”? Are they going to be listening more to the LIVE jock announcing the details (where, when will it be over their specific location, will it be over their destination if they are driving home, work, or to the grocery store, or how much time will they have to get to their tornado shelter?) or do you honestly believe the listener will be complaining that the jock rudely interrupted your song that was playing during that time? If you think the latter, you better get your head checked and maybe that particular listener.
Second, radio stations are supposed to serve the communities for which they are licensed in. One way to serve the community includes keeping them up-to-date on harmful situations that may or may not be caused by Mother Nature. If a radio station has no jock during a serious (and potentially deadly situation), that is going to hurt the credibility of that station and may not save the lives it could have potentially. Radio stations should be helping their community by broadcasting the information that is NEEDED (a.k.a. weather hazards, local area disasters, topical community situations, ect…) because it is a condition of their license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, no matter if they are a Low-Power FM, Non-Profit, or Profit station. Your spins are thrown out the window at that point and no one in radio thinks twice about that.
Third, if a station claims to help the community, it should be LIVE, even during severe weather situations. I’ve done it so many times, even while the funnel cloud when directly over the station. Any good jock worth their salt usually preps ahead of their show. That prep should include watching the weather, days ahead if possible. Just let it stay in the back of their minds as to be prepared for what might be coming. Wouldn’t you do it if you plan on touring? Same concept. The jocks in western Oklahoma had several days in advance to prepare for the possibilities and if they didn’t, that is on them and they should own up to it on-air by apologizing for keeping their listeners un-informed on the hazardous situation possibly coming into their coverage area.
Fourth, in this day and age, technology is everywhere. Smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, tablets, apps, ect… It’s all around us. However, not everyone can be around a TV set or the internet to watch someone else from another market over a hundred miles away to tell them what a Severe Storm is going to do. It’s the main thing I can’t stand about Fayetteville, Arkansas TV stations because they don’t report accurately for Southeastern Oklahoma. That’s why radio is such an important tool and resource for the average listener who is sitting in their storm shelter or driving around in their vehicles. Those folks most likely are listening to the radio for vital information during that time. With that being said, most radio stations have what is called “Remote Capabilities” allowing them to call into the station board or internet connected transceiver (I have a Telos Z/IP one for my personal use along with LUCY app) to broadcast LIVE from a remote location for business or safety reasons (it was heavily used in a lot of markets this past year in the name of COVID-19). So, not a single station can tell me they didn’t have anyone available or able to handle such an important event. If they did not go on the air ahead of time and during the events as they unfolded, they did NOT do their job, it was poor planning on the station managers (or owners) part and it was bad planning on the Jocks part. Plain and simple.
Now, as for the artists (promoters, vendors, & personnel) who were butt-hurt for my harsh suggestions for the stations who were NOT covering the tornadic situation in western Oklahoma, you are only complaining because they might be playing your music. I’m going to tell you something that none of those stations are going to tell you: The only thing any FCC Licensed station has to do is protect the license at all costs. That’s it, plain and simple. Your music is at the bottom of the list and a benefit to you if they actually play it. That is the God’s honest truth. Yes, it can be a partnership, working hand-in-hand with each other, but you know as well as I do that when the song is over, so is the handshake until your song plays again. In between those songs, might be a while if another tornadic storm pops back up. Any station that doesn’t go wall-to-wall during a tornado warning doesn’t care for its listeners. I’m not so sure that would be a station that if I were an artists would want to have my music played on. The listeners are what makes the station. The listeners support the advertisers who then buy advertising on the station that they know the listeners are tuned in on. Your music is a tool to pass the time, not a necessity if the community sees fit. The community must be served well for the station to be successful. I have nothing against your music, but if I have a choice to play your song or warn people about a destructive force heading their way, you better believe I am going to break into that song and crack the mic open for the duration of the warning. If I get any flack for it, the next button I push for that song will be the “Delete” key.