September 11: Handling the Present and Remembering the Past

Posted on September 9, 2011


Everyone remembers where they were.

I was eating breakfast and getting ready for another day of programming KALC in Denver when my wife called down from upstairs, “A plane just hit the World Trade Center. It was just a little private plane but people probably died. You might want to call your morning show guys and make sure they don’t say anything stupid.”

The rest is well documented history.

It’s been ten years since that day and handling the anniversary on air can be tricky.

If you are wrestling with what to do here are some of the suggestions I made about dealing with situations like this in a post after the tragic stage collapse before the Sugarland show:

  • Be Sincere and Respectful: Don’t make jokes about what happened; it’s a good way to lose a job. Remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
  • Localize the Story: Focus on the ties your market has to the tragedy. It makes your discussion feel more relevant to your audience.
  • When In Doubt, Leave it Alone: If you really aren’t sure how to talk about a tragedy it’s better to err on the side of caution than to risk saying or doing something stupid or insensitive.

That’s the present. Now on to the past.

This video by Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo chronicles how broadcasters in New York dealt with the tragic events: