Coming Up Tomorrow Morning… Suicide

Its a little disheartening to see that some radio stations have decided to use their social media accounts to turn their reports on the suicide of singer Mindy McCready into a way to tease their morning shows.

This is NOT the same as teasing who someone might be dating. Someone’s life should not be used to promote your station in the same way you tease your Secret Sound during Impossible Gossip Trivia at 7:20am. Think before you post.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.


  1. Lance – I don’t think these mentions of coverage are in bad taste at all. Considering that the story broke late in the weekend, it’s entirely appropriate for these stations to let their audience know that they know, that they are working on clarifying initial reports, that there will be more information as it comes in, and that station WXXX is the place to find it. I think it’s entirely appropriate to guide a grieving audience to a place where they can learn more about the tragedy, share their feelings and pay tribute as a community of fans. GIve these stations credit for being aware of this during the weekend and beginning to plan how to handle it. Let’s suppose that none of the stations had done anything until Monday…I’m sure you (or some other critic) would have applied the “hello?…is anyone home?” tag on them, and excoriated them for being lazy, automated or just inattentive to the death of major format artist. Tying these promos in with a client or a giveaway…yeah, that would be bad….but just letting people know where they can gather and mourn as a group of fans…not a bad thing.

    • Agreed. I don’t think it’s a “tease,” as such. If a news program said they would have more details or guests to discuss the Sandy Hook shooting in the days that followed, I might tune in if they let me know who was going to be a guest, if I wanted to hear what that person had to say. But I agree with Jay — people would likely be tuning in to that broadcast for the purpose of a retrospective, or to call in and talk with the hosts and reminisce or give their thoughts. Teases for the purpose of giving out information are quickly becoming useless, though, since most people can just go to their computer, tablet or phone and find out the latest update on the story.

  2. Oh please. This is exactly the same as a N/T promoting “we’ll have the latest on the attack in _______ where ______ were killed tomorrow on Newsradio _____. Stop making a story where there is not one.

  3. How is this different from news teases on TV?

  4. Yeah, I’m leaning with Jay and Dave and Zach on this one. Big story right in your format…you’d be nuts not to use social media to drive listeners to you to find out more. If there’s a problem here at all, it’s that the tweets had to drive listeners to “Monday morning” because, apparently, there wasn’t a live body on hand Sunday overnight to talk about the news on the air as it was breaking.

  5. Most news involves something happening that is a misfortune for somebody. Taking advantage of the misfortune of others is a primary basis for journalism. News and bad taste are inseparable.

    • Agree as to most news involving something that’s a misfortune for someone, BUT strongly disagree that news and bad taste are inseparable. Talking about unfortunate things doesn’t equal bad taste. It keeps the public informed. But I think there will always be debate over whether the style of the newscast is more exploitive than informative. Pressure for ratings, readers and viewers unfortunately impacts this. But, if people didn’t like it, they probably would tune out. For example, at the low end of the scale, I think TMZ’s reporting style is vile, crude, and unwatchable (although it obviously isn’t hard news) but someone out there is still watching, or it wouldn’t be on the air.

  6. Just adding that I’m sure some stations or jocks discussing this tragedy in the coming days will have guests on to talk about the problem of suicide or depression, and give listeners some resources. I think that’s also a positive thing.

  7. Phil: Most unfortunate things presented as news are somebody’s own misfortune and not anything “the public” needs to know. Most so-called “news” appeals only to prurient interest or schadenfreude.
    You call suicide a “tragedy” and a “problem.” Much of the world sees it as a valid, even honorable choice. We live in a pain oriented society that exalts suffering. The right to die is a basic human right and certainly nobody else’s business – least of all morning show hosts.

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