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November 27, 2015 8:39 am  #1


Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

I understand the importance of breaking news. If I can be accused of anything while PD at CFRB is that I often pushed news staff to the brink of mutiny with my breaking news policy. I believe real breaking news makes the radio station sound exciting and keeps listeners tuned to the station because they never know what they will hear next.

But what I heard this morning in the 6am hour made me want to throw the radio across the bedroom. Only reason I didn't is because it's plugged into the wall outlet.

Breaking news sounder with the traffic reporter interrupting programming because of an accident in the north end of Toronto. Really? A traffic accident in the biggest city in the country is breaking news?  Yet in the next traffic report, that breaking news accident is the LAST item in the traffic report with a reference the area is blocked off.

Eventually the story is a body was found in the middle of the intersection. But no other information is available. So they go through the list of what they don't know. Was it a hit and run? They don't know.

This whole breaking news and traffic marketing campaign aimed at stealing away 680News listeners is creating a mockery of breaking news on Newstalk 1010. This has nothing to do with informing listeners of breaking news. It's all about supporting the breaking news and traffic campaign. It's almost as if there is a quota of breaking news on the station to reinforce the marketing campaign. 

Where is this coming from? Is Ma Bell responsible because it sure doesn't sound like the newsroom I know

Breaking news is like comedy. In the wrong hands it's a disaster.



 

 

November 27, 2015 9:39 am  #2


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

When companies fire broadcast journalists with experience because they are older, have higher salaries, are accruing pension benefits, more accrued vacation time, and higher health care costs, you end up with people of very little experience.   That is the blight on the media across the country, not just Toronto.

 

November 27, 2015 10:33 am  #3


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

kowchmedia wrote:

I understand the importance of breaking news. If I can be accused of anything while PD at CFRB is that I often pushed news staff to the brink of mutiny with my breaking news policy. I believe real breaking news makes the radio station sound exciting and keeps listeners tuned to the station because they never know what they will hear next.

But what I heard this morning in the 6am hour made me want to throw the radio across the bedroom. Only reason I didn't is because it's plugged into the wall outlet.

Breaking news sounder with the traffic reporter interrupting programming because of an accident in the north end of Toronto. Really? A traffic accident in the biggest city in the country is breaking news?  Yet in the next traffic report, that breaking news accident is the LAST item in the traffic report with a reference the area is blocked off.

Eventually the story is a body was found in the middle of the intersection. But no other information is available. So they go through the list of what they don't know. Was it a hit and run? They don't know.

This whole breaking news and traffic marketing campaign aimed at stealing away 680News listeners is creating a mockery of breaking news on Newstalk 1010. This has nothing to do with informing listeners of breaking news. It's all about supporting the breaking news and traffic campaign. It's almost as if there is a quota of breaking news on the station to reinforce the marketing campaign. 

Where is this coming from? Is Ma Bell responsible because it sure doesn't sound like the newsroom I know

Breaking news is like comedy. In the wrong hands it's a disaster.



 

When I worked overnights at The Canadian Press, I remember a story breaking around 3 a.m. about an earthquake in South America somewhere. It turned out to be nothing - no damage, no injuries. So I was surprised to hear about this very same earthquake as "breaking news" at 680 News around 7:20 a.m., long after the event. They never followed up on it and the story was forgotten. It was like they were "saving" old breaking news stories from the overnight period to roll out during morning drive for shock value.
 


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

November 27, 2015 11:05 am  #4


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

Having worked in TV news for a long time, this has long been one of my pet peeves.

I've watched this worrisome development take root like a computer virus - it just keeps spreading. I remember when Bell assumed control over CP24 and the "Toronto's Breaking News" moniker took over the branding. The problem was that there simply wasn't enough actual breaking news to reinforce the name, so they basically had to start expanding the meaning of the term.

Suddenly, EVERYTHING became breaking news, from the smallest fender bender to a slight new fact emerging on an existing story. I've been told of the meeting where executives told the staff about the change. One of the producers came out of the gathering, went to his post live producing the on-air content, turned to one of his colleagues and asked in a loud voice, "Do we have breaking news? Do we?" Clearly they were told to push it as much as possible. I believe they've pulled back on this a bit, but all the news stations are subject to this idiocy.

The worst has to be CNN, which constantly has a screaming "Breaking News" key on its lower screen, regardless of whether something has happened or not - or more often, occurred ten hours ago. I used to turn up the radio when I heard the The 680 News "breaking news" sounder. I don't anymore. They simply overused it and I don't trust them to be accurate using those words.

Ironically, insteading of spreading the brand, all these outlets have actually weakened it, as viewers/listeners caught on to the scam. It's a lot like the boy who cried wolf. Eventually, you just don't believe him anymore.

 

November 27, 2015 1:17 pm  #5


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

ONEIL wrote:

680 News is terrible for over using the Breaking News sounder.  It's gotten to the point it has no "special" meaning.

In an odd twist ...9/11 the biggest news story since the Kennedy assignation was first mentioned on CFTR (still music at that point) by Bob Saint on air...not the newsroom.

When the Tornado hit Barrie years ago I was on air and broke the story first while the newsroom...only one person...sourced the details.  With Daryl in the plane and our newscaster I believe the station won an award for it's coverage.  All without a special "breaking News" sounder.

CFTR was all news when 9-11 happened. They switched from music to news in 1993.


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

November 27, 2015 1:26 pm  #6


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

Same thing is going to happen with the Bell radio stations as it has with Rogers...breaking or lead news will be anything that Bell has a vested corporate interest in...you see it already with their large marketing or philanthropic campaigns leading their TV newscasts (e.g. Bell Let's Talk campaign - a worthwhile program to bring awareness to mental illness but it is not a lead or breaking news story)...similar to 680 stopping everything to announce a minor Blue Jays trade or leading the news with "Hey, it's 2 weeks to spring training!"...such blatant corporate shill is not news, it's pathetic propaganda...I remember a former PD coming in to chat with me about what my topics were for my show that day...he "suggested" that I talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs because Corus (640) was negotiating for the radio broadcasting rights at the time...I understood it was where the station was bringing in the most ad dollars but it was a shot against my creativity and what I believed my listeners were accustomed to from my show...I wanted to puke.

Last edited by Johnny B (November 27, 2015 1:38 pm)

 

November 27, 2015 5:54 pm  #7


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

Hey ONeil!  I was there during 9/11 and it was definitely all-news. All of the morning show people stayed on air until about 3 pm doing nothing but 9/11 coverage. I see Dale already corrected it but that day lives in my psyche. Felt I needed to say something! 

 

November 27, 2015 8:07 pm  #8


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

Yeppers.  I remember it was about a month after the attacks, and I was driving westbound along Rymal Rd on Hamilton Mountain.  It was the first time I remember hearing a news story on 680 News other than something related to September 11th.  It was actually odd to hear about something else.
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

November 28, 2015 1:36 am  #9


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

680 went all news June 7, 1993, with Dick Smyth as the anchor...

http://formatchange.com/cftr-flips-from-top-40-to-news/

Last edited by Radiowiz (November 28, 2015 1:41 am)


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

November 28, 2015 7:04 am  #10


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

And preceded by the "CFTR Story" which was non-stop music all weekend.  I wonder how they automated that, because that would otherwise have meant a god-awful amount of open-reel tape for music.  Or did they just have a board-op run it?
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

November 28, 2015 1:26 pm  #11


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

I'm old too, but Bob was at Standard by 2001.

ONEIL wrote:

I trust all your comments.  I am certain I heard Bob Saint.  After I left CFTR I didn't listen that much but it makes sense as I use to listen to 680 for traffic.  My mind is clearly getting old.

The Tornado recollection is true.  

 


Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.
 
 

November 28, 2015 1:29 pm  #12


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

My peeve is 'breaking news' within a newscast.  It's the ultimate navel gazing.  Not everyone is a 24/7 news junkie, therefore 'everything' is breaking news to most viewers / listeners during a newscast.  Newscast starts, and the first item is a 'breaking news' story.  Really?  So what's the rest of your cast?

To me it just comes across as 'holy shit, here's news we didn't know about, so make it breaking' rather than report it at the top of a newscast as another story.    "This is currently underway" should be what a large chunk of your news is, if possible, rather than here's what happened 12 hours ago.

 


Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.
 
 

November 29, 2015 12:36 am  #13


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

No apology necessary at all. The day remains a blur to me. Much to the shock of friends I've said before I wish I could experience the day again.

For me it's still not "real" after all these years. It was an event I was directing producing or researching at various times during the day and it happened through a firewall of monitors and news copy. I never slowed down long enough while it was taking place to comprehend what had and was happening.

ONEIL wrote:

Once again I apologize for such a erroneous post.  After reading how incorrect I was, I spent a long time trying to figure out how I could have matched two separate events into one memory.  I have no answer for that.
9/11 as mentioned was a horrid day and I most likely first heard of it on 680 News.  My best guess;  I know I heard about the Shuttle breaking up on re-entry during Bobs show.  The two somehow merged.
Not something I've had happen before.  Perhaps my age is really catching up to me.

Again apologies.


Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.
 
 

November 29, 2015 4:17 pm  #14


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

I think it's being overused to the point where soon the announcement will have little impact on listeners. They've almost come to expect that at least a couple times during the morning run they will be hit with "breaking news". Unless it's a story of major significance, just report it and save the hoopla for the really big ones.

 

November 29, 2015 8:38 pm  #15


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

kevjo wrote:

I think it's being overused to the point where soon the announcement will have little impact on listeners. They've almost come to expect that at least a couple times during the morning run they will be hit with "breaking news". Unless it's a story of major significance, just report it and save the hoopla for the really big ones.

The solution will most likely be to change the news sounder to draw fresh new attention to something they strongly believe is a superior breaking news story.
(Superior to most or all of their usual run of the mill breaking news...)

Last edited by Radiowiz (November 29, 2015 8:39 pm)


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

November 30, 2015 2:57 pm  #16


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

For your consideration - 'What If" research was conducted with heavy users of Newstalk 1010, and those users suggested that BREAKING NEWS was very important to them.   In that case, highlighting it makes sense to insure you are pleasing your high-use consumers.   The cost for doing it - free.    I would be willing to bet that a Newstalk audience is rarely offended by BREAKING NEWS.    And yes, what you consider is BREAKING may be different than me - however - you may like one song, and I may hate it.   All seems to be standard programming procedure to me.   

 

November 30, 2015 3:02 pm  #17


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

Probably the same research that showed how much listeners liked winning prizes but hated on-air contests .  Yes, I'm jaded as hell, but In many, MANY years of watching focus groups, at this point I'd feel pretty comfortable hosting a group to get the results I need to move forward with my agenda when programming a station.

I'm guessing the question 'is breaking news important to you'  to a news or news/talk audioence would, ofcourse, get an overwhelming yes.  And that's the trick question.  I'd bet everything that "is a duck blocking traffic at Finch and Weston Road breaking news" wouldn't score very high.

We're soon going to segue from 'breaking news' to 'storm watch' coverage which has nothing to do with watching for storms and everything to do with sales department inventory.  We can only thank Christ that till this point, Breaking News isn't sponsored.  

ig.


RadioQuiz wrote:

For your consideration - 'What If" research was conducted with heavy users of Newstalk 1010, and those users suggested that BREAKING NEWS was very important to them.   In that case, highlighting it makes sense to insure you are pleasing your high-use consumers.   The cost for doing it - free.    I would be willing to bet that a Newstalk audience is rarely offended by BREAKING NEWS.    And yes, what you consider is BREAKING may be different than me - however - you may like one song, and I may hate it.   All seems to be standard programming procedure to me.   

 


Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.
 
 

December 1, 2015 1:45 pm  #18


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

ig wrote:

 We're soon going to segue from 'breaking news' to 'storm watch' coverage which has nothing to do with watching for storms and everything to do with sales department inventory.  We can only thank Christ that till this point, Breaking News isn't sponsored.  

I don't have a problem with breaking news being sponsored. It depends how the liner is worded and delivered and where during breaking news. It would have to be subtle with no bells and whistles. But I always thought sales should try to sign a prestigious national sponsor to pay the station a retainer of big bucks. In return, a good percentage of that revenue should go to pay the expenses of sending a team to major events like the recent Paris terrorist attacks. We could run breaking news promos with a sales tag for the client (much like we did with storm watch promos that aired ROS during the winter) ... When Gary Slaight owned the company, he created a budget to offset the cost of  sending Taylor Parnaby and others to cover major breaking news events in Canada, the US and Europe. 

In terms of Storm Watch, Iain has a point. I'd always get angry phone calls from sales people when a snowflake fell and we didn't launch Storm Watch. Their clients would complain it's snowing and why wasn't their commercial being aired. This is where programming has to stand firm with the news department and only call Storm Watch when it is warranted. We had a criteria of how many schools closed (not counting the small schools), how bad was traffic and how many boards cancelled bus service. Big storms were a no brainer. But in the GTA where weather conditions varied from one community to another it was a more difficult call.That is why we created promos with a sponsor's tag to say when there is a big storm listen to the station. At least this way the client got air time during the winter with or without Storm Watch.

Sometimes we forget (on purpose) that radio survives through advertising and become holier than thou about what we should or should not sponsor. CBC Radio doesn't have that problem because they are funded by tax payers.

It's not a question of whether or not it's right to sponsor breaking news coverage. It's about how the sponsorship is created and when it is delivered on air during breaking news coverage.

In discussions with the news department, we figured out how to sponsor newscasts. We allowed the name of the client but no tags to be read by the anchor.

If breaking news is important to a station like Newstalk 1010 or 680News, than we need to think outside the box to come up with a way of monetizing the coverage without pissing off listeners (and staff). I remember when we first permitted a spot break in ongoing breaking news stories. We were worried listeners might complain. But they didn't say boo. They're used to commercials and trust me in breaking news coverage a commercial break lets everyone catch their breath and figure out what to do next. So if there was a breaking news sponsor, they would get the first spot in the beak. They would also get a mention in any promos created to promote our breaking news coverage in the 24-48 hours after the event.

But it all starts with coming to terms about sponsoring breaking news. Storm Watch is a breaking news event. It's sponsored. Done right, breaking news coverage of the Paris attacks could have also been sponsored with the right set of guidelines.

     Thread Starter
 

December 1, 2015 1:56 pm  #19


Re: Enough with the non breaking news breaking news on Newstalk 1010

The problem becomes when programming is pressured to create an excuse for breaking news or storm watches because that's when the money rolls in.    

Many moons ago in another market I tried to get rid of traffic reports because IMHO that market's news station had them locked up, and at best, the station I was working with, was re-broadcasting the news stations reports 4 or 5 minutes later.  Why bother.  Listeners knew where to go.  They sure as hell didn't need that rebroadcast 4 times an hour.  If they were stuck in traffic, they were acutely aware of it after the first report.  The sales department went nuts.  It wasn't about serving the listener, it was about selling traffic tags. Period.

Like snow plowing, a season 'flat rate' is a good option, but invoicing on an 'event' basis is fraught with trouble.  Even the seasonal rate has issues, if it's a mild winter, the client gets no real bang for their investment.

kowchmedia wrote:

But it all starts with coming to terms about sponsoring breaking news. Storm Watch is a breaking news event. It's sponsored. Done right, breaking news coverage of the Paris attacks could have also been sponsored with the right set of guidelines.

 


Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.