How are you holding up? What about the air personalities at your radio or TV station? For the radio industry, voicetracking and home studio access is a solution for muting the further spread of the novel coronavirus that has impacted daily life for many across the globe.
For those in the local and national television industry actively participating in live programming, it is not that simple. What are over-the-air TV stations doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus not just among viewers, but inside the building?
As COVID-19 concerns continue to unfold, RBR+TVBR will be offering expanded coverage on its impact on the day-to-day activities of the television industry. This includes reports of how journalists are directly impacted, as are the stations they work for.
The Radio Television Digital News Association is on the frontlines. It is actively gathering resources and best practices from newsrooms across the country and sharing them.
A letter of support from the head of the RTDNA, distributed Monday by Executive Director and COO Dan Shelley, is now giving recognition to journalists behind the mic and in front of the camera for risking their own health for the benefit of audio and visual media consumers.
In his note to fellow journalists, Shelley notes that, despite incredible challenges, personal sacrifice and personal risks from the COVID-19 virus, “you are doing your jobs.”
He writes, “The communities where you live and work owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude. You are working hard every day to provide critical health and public safety information that your viewers, listeners and readers need. You are passing along crucial public health alerts and other official communication indispensable to the decisions people must make as this disease spreads across every continent.
“You are enabling preparedness rather than panic. You are combating mis- and disinformation with your constant efforts to seek and report the facts about an unprecedented situation. I also know that you are asking tough questions of our leaders to get the best version of the truth that is obtainable. Do not heed the words of anyone telling you anything different.
“I know the hours you are working are long. I know the conditions under which you are working are trying. I know that while you are working hard to meet the multiple deadlines you face every day, you are also worried even more about your family, your loved ones and your friends – not to mention your own health.
“Most of us got into journalism to serve the public. Now more than ever your public service is important. Stay motivated, stay safe and continue asking questions and reporting stories that will our communities get through this time of uncertainty.
“RTDNA will be working each day – from our own homes to model best practices – to support you in this effort. We are collecting tips and resources to help strengthen your reporting and your safety efforts. We have created a living Coronavirus and the Newsroom Guide to share best practices from newsrooms across the country. What you do for the public every single day is important. What you do for the public now is saving lives.”
This includes a live one-hour special airing at 10pm Eastern/Pacific on Telemundo stations, hosted by news anchors José Díaz-Balart and Julio Vaqueiro and Noticias Telemundo Senior Correspondent Vanessa Hauc.
Many companies in the radio and TV industry began implementing companywide coronavirus policies on Friday, with Beasley Media Group among the first to codify a policy that sees most full-time employees telecommuting until March 31, at the earliest. Work travel has been suspended.
Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley said, “The challenges we face are extraordinary, but the moment is not unique. At our core, our company exists to serve our employees, advertisers and our communities and keep them safe and informed during times exactly like this. Broadcasters are at our best during uncertain times. We will continue to strive to be at our very best in the coming days, weeks and months.”
Cumulus Media is among the first of the major radio broadcasting companies to have experienced a COVID-19 impact at a group of its local stations. In Atlanta, offices and studios are under quarantine. On Friday, The Bert Show host Bert Weiss confirmed that on Thursday an email was received noting of possible exposure to coronavirus in the Cumulus/Atlanta local station operations center. “To err on the side of caution we are all broadcasting from home until it’s safe to go back,” Weiss said.
On Tuesday at RBR.com: What Gray Television is doing to ensure the safety of its employees and viewers.