*It’s a good thing that our colleague Lance Venta over at RadioInsight put up an early roundup Monday evening of what he was hearing and seeing from Boston’s radio and TV stations, just a few hours after a pair of bombings rocked the Back Bay on perhaps the biggest news day the city has seen in generations. Not only were we on the road, but we were – and are – more than a little shellshocked by what happened in the city we once called home and still care about passionately.
But history must be chronicled, and the excellent work so many Boston broadcasters have done in the last day and a half deserves to be noted and honored. So from 400 miles down the road, here’s what we’ve been able to piece together about how the city’s radio and TV stations responded to the bombings:
On TV, all four of the city’s commercial newsrooms immediately swung into action with wall-to-wall coverage, much of it seen nationwide thanks to simulcasts on cable news channels and on the network TV coverage that also kicked into gear shortly after the attacks. (Fox-owned WFXT, in particular, provided coverage that was seen on sister Fox O&Os and Fox News Channel; we also saw NBC affiliate WHDH’s coverage on MSNBC and CNN.) The nonstop coverage continued into prime time, blowing out network programming on most Boston stations (though CBS-owned WBZ-TV moved the CBS prime-time lineup to sister station WSBK, channel 38, for the evening.)
At least some of the TV coverage also ended up on the radio: WCVB (Channel 5) audio was heard at times on WXKS (Bloomberg Radio 1200), while WBZ-TV (Channel 4) audio was heard intermittently on WBZ (1030).
On the radio side, it was WBZ leading the way both locally and nationally. The all-news station quickly began simulcasting on all four of its CBS Radio FM sisters (WBZ-FM, WZLX, WODS and WBMX) – and its coverage became the mainstay of CBS Radio News’ ongoing coverage, which was in turn picked up by news and talk stations around the country. (We heard it here in western New York on Rochester’s WHAM and Buffalo’s WBEN; WBZ coverage was also carried at length by New York City sister WCBS and other big all-newsers around the country.)
The WBZ afternoon news team, anchored by Anthony Silva and Diane Stern, stayed on duty until midnight Monday, augmented by interview segments with WBZ’s usual evening talk host Dan Rea as well as some eyewitness accounts phoned in by WBZ-FM morning co-host Rich Shertenlieb, who lives within sight of the bombings and had to evacuate his apartment.
Over at Entercom, coverage from the WRKO (680) news team and talk hosts Howie Carr and Jeff Kuhner was simulcast on WEEI-FM (93.7) and the WEEI sports network across New England. (Radio Ink reports morning man Greg Hill from sister station WAAF was hosting an event a few blocks from the bombing; he’s OK, and he ended up donating money raised from the event to benefit the victims of the attack.)
Without a news-talk station in the cluster since the flip of the former WTKK (96.9) earlier this year, Greater Media’s FM cluster provided updates on the situation during cut-ins to their regular music formats.
Over on public radio, WBUR-FM (90.9) went wall-to-wall until 7 PM, with its coverage being offered to NPR stations around the country for several hours. Rhode Island NPR simulcast WBUR in the hours after the attacks, and we’re told WBUR’s coverage also aired on New York’s WNYC-FM (93.9). At 7, WBUR produced a special edition of its “On Point” show that was also offered nationwide via NPR, and “Radio Boston” coverage continued into the night afterward. Crosstown WGBH (89.7) mixed NPR national coverage with local reporting, including updated editions of “The World,” the news hour it produces in conjunction with the BBC.
And we’re indebted to one of Lance’s Radio Insight readers for noting that WNTN (1550) in Newton, almost within sight of the marathon course, provided “real and calm” coverage with host John Frassica that extended past the daytimer’s usual early-evening signoff time.
*Did you hear something we didn’t? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll provide an updated rundown of coverage and the aftermath of the bombing in Monday’s NERW.