Breaking News


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Breaking news tests the efficiency, professionalism, creativity and the preparedness of a radio station when the unexpected happens. This is fly by the seat of your pants radio. It takes a plan to pull it off successfully.

The time to think about what will your newsroom and radio station do (no matter the format: music, news or talk) should not be left until breaking news happens. To help, we have created this six page package of tips and examples of what to do and not to do during breaking news coverage. We suggest you bookmark these six page links below:

  1. How Toronto radio covered the crash landing of an Air France Airbus at Pearson
  2. How an Elliot  Lake, Ontario radio station won a big time news award
  3. How 9/11 attacks changed my way of producing breaking news coverage
  4. The 10 things you must do on the radio when  breaking news happens
  5. How to turn radio listeners into citizen journalists during breaking news events
  6. What the Boston Marathon Bombing taught me about breaking news coverage

“Steve! When you and I were working together at CFRB and treacherous weather broke, the audience knew all they’d have to do was come to us for exciting first-hand accounts and relevant, to-the-point news, woven respectfully and creatively into whatever we had planned that day. Your leadership and insight at work. Plus, it appealed to my Headline News attention span. Thanks for that!” – Lynne Russell, former CFRB talk show host and first female anchor at CNN Headline News

kowchmedia exclusive Case Study #1:

Minute to minute play-by-play of Toronto radio’s coverage of the 2005 Air France crash landing at Toronto’s Pearson Airport

Breaking News photo of Air France plane crash at Pearson Airport in TorontoOn August 2, 2005,  an Air France Airbus A340-300 with 309 people on board crash landed at Toronto’s Pearson Airport during a severe thunder storm.  Click here to follow the play by play of the first hour of breaking news coverage by CFRB, 680NEWS, CBC Radio One and AM640. Learn what radio did right and did wrong.

kowchmedia exclusive Case Study #2:

Lessons to be learned from Moose 94.1FM in Elliot Lake, Ontario when it comes to breaking news coverage of a mall collapse with a staff of three

Breaking News photo of Elliot lake mall collapseWhen the roof-deck garage of the Algo Centre Mall caved in, all three employees of Moose 94.1FM put their lives on hold to be there for the community and keep them informed. Click here to find out how MOOSE 94.1 FM won the Central Canada RTDNA Byron MacGregor Award for best newscast in a small market.


kowchmedia exclusive Case Study #3:

How 9/11 terrorist attacks changed my way of producing breaking news coverage

September 11 Breaking News photo Events happened so quickly in the time span of one hour and 42 minutes on 9/11. It was difficult for staff to wrap their heads around what was happening.  I had no choice but to re-evaluate how I was producing the broadcast to help staff deal with the nightmarish attacks on America. The only way to get through this was to focus staff on answering one question that I now ask every time I produce breaking news coverage. Click here to learn what that question is and why it should be asked during your breaking news coverage.

kowchmedia exclusive breaking news coverage tips:

kowchmedia breaking news coverage plans: 10 things you must do on the radio when breaking news happens

kowchmedia Breaking News Coach Steve KowchSteve Kowch has produced award winning coverage of news events from the 911 terrorist attacks in New York City to natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, snowmageddon storms and man made tragedies like mass murders, multiple-fatality accidents, fires or explosions. Click here for his tips on what to do on the radio during breaking news coverage.

kowchmedia exclusive tips on turning listeners into citizen journalists:

How to turn radio listeners into citizen journalists during breaking news coverage 

At radio stations, phones can be used for more than just contests. During major disasters the phone becomes a lifeline between the radio station and the community it serves. Click here to find out how music, news and talk radio stations can turn listeners into citizen journalists to provide eye witness accounts from the scene of a breaking news event.

Now is the time to draw up breaking news coverage plans for your radio station. kowchmedia can help with those plans and coach your staff. Call Steve for a free consultation at 647 521-6397 or email