How Boston Radio Handled Today’s Bombing Coverage

Boston Marathon Bomb Explosion Radio Coverage WBZ WBUR WGBH WEEIThe radio industry’s response to today’s explosions at the Boston Marathon has been very varied.

Shortly after news broke, CBS’ entire cluster began simulcasting the coverage of either News 1030 WBZ or sister WBZ-TV 4. Entercom’s 93.7 WEEI-FM broke in with local coverage following its post-game coverage of the Boston Red Sox game before temporarily simulcasting sister Talk 680 WRKO and then returning to local programming. The remainder of the commercial music stations mostly continued with their normal programming, although the stations that are staffed including Clear Channel’s “Kiss 108” WXKS and “Jam’n 94.5” and Greater Media’s “Country 102.5” WKLB and “Hot 96.9” WBQT were breaking in with updates between songs.

Of the two NPR affiliates, Boston University’s 90.9 WBUR went to wall-to-wall coverage around 3:30. When we last able to check 89.7 WGBH they were continuing with their normal national programming, however their webstream has been unresponsive for over an hour now. Its sister 99.5 WCRB continued with their regular Classical music programming.

Reader Jeremy Andrews chimes in with the following note:

Listening to John Frassica’s coverage on 1550 WNTN Newton, MA. One guy, old studio, some PSAs and whatever information he has. It’s real and calm. None of that over the top hyper stuff. Let’s just say WNTN has been a brokered Ethnic station for the past 2 decades. It’s rare that they do news coverage like this. Normally they sign off when the last show is finished, which would have been at 4:30 Eastern (It’s now 5:20).

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  1. MattParker says

    I say it’s a questionable decision for CBS to go wall to wall on all their Boston stations. One thing to feed updates from ‘BZ with reminders that they have continuous coverage. But why take away the option of regular programming from people who don’t want to stay glued to (often repetitious and tedious) continuing coverage? Why not give listeners a choice? Listeners ultimately do have a choice: To not listen or to listen to somebody else’s station.
    Another example of broadcasting’s we know what’s best for you mindset.

    1. Lance Venta says

      There were only three stations producing 24/7 coverage of the event, WBUR, WRKO, and WBZ. Mobile phone signals were down. There were tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in the city of Boston sitting in their cars, offices, or the streets trying to get whatever information they could.

      It ended up that there were plenty of options for those that wanted regular coverage. I’m willing to bet when the ratings come out that the few stations that were producing the news coverage were the ones that everyone was listening to.

  2. raccoonradio says

    WEEI simulcast WRKO from late afternoon up till midnight, actually. For the most part they had a sports flash (about the bombing etc) and host Mike Adams at top of hour but otherwise it was Howie Carr, Jeff Kuhner, and Avi Nelson. At midnight the 4 CBS FMs in town went back to music though 1030 did continue bombing talk etc WEEI has a 9 station network throughout New England which carried the RKO simulcast; some Howie Carr affiliates like WHYN carried Kuhner, etc.

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