After the devastating attacks on London this week, I think it’s time to discuss an Emergency Plan.
I was on duty producing the on-air show when the news hit that a potential (at the time it was potential) terrorist attack had just happened at Westminster. I’ve been the on-duty producer during a lot of the recent attacks like this. There are a few things I’ve noticed that happen when an attack or scenario like Westminster occurs.
The sales staff seem to get in a flap with the panic/adrenaline that suddenly hits the office. You’d be surprised how many suddenly become trained journalists or producers. It’s important to keep a level and clear head. Just because they say something has happened because they’ve read it online, doesn’t mean you act on these changes.
The news comes in waves, fast. Grab a life jacket because the waves vary and they don’t stop for you. It’s up to you how you keep up-to-date with it all. I’m a fan of switching the office TV to one news source, and having the other on my computer screen live.
It takes one person working on the team to stay calm and let the adrenaline rush pass to make the whole operation a lot smoother. It’s totally normal to have a bit of buzz rushing through your body. It’s big breaking news, you’ve got a live show on-air, and you’ve got to act now. I’m personally not much of an adrenaline junkie, so when it hits me I do tend to get shaky for no reason. Pulling together with the rest of the on-air and production team makes a whole load of difference.
It came to my attention after the incident had calmed and the public services got down to the investigation work that we didn’t have an Emergency Plan. But I though, do we need one?
I imagine it changes from station to station, programme controller to programme controller. A station like LBC I’d have thought has many scenario plans in place, whereas Magic may have a far more case-by-case approach.
Personally down at Radio Essex, I believe we take a similar ‘as it happens’ approach. As a music station, it’s very much important to stick to that and break big news (that was also almost on our doorstep!).
If you’re interested, we added half-hour bulletins to the Drivetime show focusing just on the Westminster attack and throwing forward to the main TOH bulletin.
Let me know if you have a plan in place, or what you think would be an appropriate response to attacks and news like this.