How the Kyle & Jackie O show covered Manchester
As the Kyle & Jackie O show entered its final hour on Monday, producers scrambled for more information about an explosion inside Manchester Arena. Details were scarce.
Fast forward 24 hours, as the world began to process the sheer magnitude of what had unfolded after the curtain closed on Ariana Grande’s concert, radio newsrooms and producers continued working at full throttle.
“We were all shocked when news broke of this attack on Tuesday morning, and the show immediately shifted focus to Manchester to cover what was happening,” said KIIS FM’s head of content, Derek Bargwanna.
For Jackie O – mother to six-year-old daughter, Kitty – the grave reality that this could have happened during a planned attendance at the same concert in a different city, had well and truly sunk in.
“I can’t even watch the news at the moment. I knew we’d have to talk about it today,” she said to Kyle during Tuesday’s show. “[Kitty] adores her. We were going to go to Ariana Grande as her first concert.”
Some key radio programs chose to overlook the week’s biggest story and lead with regular programming. They missed the point, and an opportunity to connect with listeners.
Radio is, after all, a powerful means of pulling people and communities together in times of crises. And this was one of those times.
The Kyle & Jackie O show, as Bargwanna explained, moves in and out of a variety of different topics every minute that the show is on-air, always ready to shift gears in an instant.
“While we have things planned, it’s always moveable to reflect what our audience want to chat about at that moment,” he told Radio Today.
Deciding how to cover something so distressing can be a challenge. However, when a significant and devastating story breaks, often it’s a time to throw out regular programming and give a voice to the audience you serve.
“The heartbreaking events in Manchester was something a lot of our audience wanted to talk about so Kyle and Jackie made sure they could speak to as many people as possible and that did mean more callers than usual went to air,” Bargwanna said.
On Wednesday’s show, the Manchester coverage continued. Kyle & Jackie O aired an emotionally charged tribute to the 22 victims who lost their lives in the terror attack.
How did your show or station cover the Manchester attack? Let us know in the comments below.