It was late Thursday night. Most radio news rooms across the nation were empty… well lets be honest they’ve been empty since sundown. Little did broadcasters know one of the biggest stories were about to hit.
Just before 12:30A MT, shooter James Holmes bought a ticket and mentally prepared his attack on the innocent movie theater. By 12:39AM MT, 911 was receiving calls and police were immediately on the scene.
Just a quick time out — imagine if police were staffed like most radio stations where you’re located. Imagine if they got to the scene when the morning team shows up — and they blamed a bad economy for their response rate. They wouldn’t be able to get away with that… I’m just saying, so why do we? In retrospect the police acted top notch and handled the situation perfectly. They should all be very proud for how fast and swift they handled this dangerous person.
Time in. Most radio personalities were shocked to find a breaking story developing from the overnight. Usually when you’re getting your first cup of coffee the only news is what happened during the ball game the night before.
It was 5:30AM EST when I got to my studio after reading about this story at my desk, coverage from CNN, Fox News and other major networks were on the scene and trying their best to cover this breaking news with limited resources. They all said the same thing over and over — a young white male broke it, he was in custody and they were looking for another shooter. But that was it. The news sources were getting their information first hand from people evacuated from the theater.
By about 7AM EST (5AM MT) I was tired of hearing the same coverage repeated from CNN. I decided to air check local radio stations internet streams in the Denver market and found out quickly there is still hope left for local news on radio. Not only where they breaking the story as it happened, they were the first to report and had much more details on what was going on than the major news networks. This is a good listen:
Just Push Play:
Download the audio here
I think these stations in Denver stepped up BIG. Their coverage was amazing and need to be recognized as a national leader for what they did — even though some are bigger than others they all had contributed in their own way. Compared to the national coverage I think radio knocked it out of the park here.