When I was managing KIRO Radio in Seattle, I had a very funny routine with our afternoon news anchor, Heather Bosch.
Heather is a pro’s pro who was in her second stint at KIRO after spending 5 years in New York at CBS News. She knows her craft and knows it well.
Anyway, the routine would happen during a breaking news situation. I would be in my office, get word of a story, and then sprint to the newsroom to alert the team. Usually before I could even make it to the editor’s desk, Heather would wave me off.
“We’re on it, chief,” she would say (usually while feverishly typing).
I would then give her a thumbs up before retreating into my office.
What I learned from Heather and the great news team at KIRO was- less is more when it comes to management in situations like this. At times, this was a tough pill for me to swallow. Ask anyone that’s worked with me and they’ll tell you that I’m very hands on. When breaking news happens, I like writing stories, editing audio, doing interviews, posting on social media, etc. I like being “in the trenches” with the team.
However, doing that often only causes disruption. Step one in “keeping calm in a crisis” is KEEPING CALM. If the PD is running around with their hair on fire, they’re doing their entire staff a disservice. Odds are, they will follow their lead for better or worse. If you’ve done your job as a PD or News Director, you’ve hired a staff of talented, anchors, editors, producers, hosts, reporters, and digital specialists. You’ve established procedures for how to handle breaking news from step “A” to step “Z”. Let your people do their jobs and be thinking of ways to support their efforts strategically, not tactically.
Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know Ken Charles, who currently serves as the Program Director of All-News KNX-AM in Los Angeles. Ken and I have had the chance to discuss and exchange ideas on radio, news and the media and I’ve found him to be one of the more insightful programming minds in the format. I wanted to get his perspective for the finale of my three-part series for BNM.
RM- What are the best things a PD of an all-news or news-talk station can do in a breaking news situation?
KC- Big breaking stories are an evolution. Often you really don’t know what you have, especially in a social media world, until you get eyes on the incident. So, advice number one is – trust your people and stay out of their way. Your reporters are on the scene and can see things you cannot back at the station. Your editors/producers are in contact with your reporters and also making calls, scanning social media etc. to find out exactly what is going on. Let them do it, let them work the story. As a manager my role is to let them be in the now while I am looking a few hours or even a few days ahead to make sure we are properly staffed, we don’t burn out our team and we can maintain our coverage for hours, days or even longer. I have seen too many situations where a station didn’t look ahead and got caught out of position and without proper coverage as the story continued beyond the first few hours. Think of the PD role as the Head Coach, the ND’s role is the offensive coordinator and the anchors, reporters are your players on the field. Lastly, most of the preparation for breaking news occurred the last 87 times you covered breaking news. While every story is different with unique components you learn something new every time and that makes your coverage a little better the next time. We have an amazing team of professionals who have covered way too many earthquakes, wildfires, “trials of the century” police situations, protests, school shootings, terror incidents etc. etc. etc. All of those events have prepared us for the last 8 months and through the 2020 election and into the next big breaking story.
I remember covering a hurricane that was racing up the East Coast. While my reporter was on the beach in North Carolina as the storm roared overhead, the competition had their reporter stuck in Charleston hundreds of miles from the actual story. My reporter was feeding live shot and you could hear the wind while the other guys were reporting it was 86 and sunny. Being prepared, learning from previous events, and allowing our team to report the now while my role was looking ahead allowed us to completely own the story.
RM- What do you convey to your hosts, producers, editors, reporters, and hosts in situations like that?
KC- Be factual, get the information on quickly but also remember a little empathy is important. Stories affect real people, and those real people are our neighbors, friends and in some cases coworkers.
RM- Can you recall 1-2 anecdotal examples of how your station handled a breaking news story or crisis? What did you do?
KC- Over the last few months, in addition to COVID we’ve had protests in the streets, the 2020 election, the President getting COVID, wildfires and on and on and on and on..what haven’t we done? I have an incredible staff of talented professionals, I have a news director who is great partner in making sure we execute the plan and don’t miss a thing, we have 2 dedicated women keeping our digital and social presence moving at the same speed as the on air product and together they all make sure we cover the story, hopefully make an impact on people’s lives and help either get them through the story and keep them informed throughout the story. What do I do? Trust them and stay out of the way.
RM- What are the best traits a young pro looking to get in this field should have that would best prepare them for a crisis?
KC- Being fearless and inquisitive and remembering that the story is not happening at the command center, it is happening in a neighborhood, building or sadly a school. Go where the story is not where the PIOs tell you to go. Talk to real people, not just officials. Officials aren’t the story, people are.
RM- 2020 has been (to say the least) a unique year for the news media. How do you keep your team balanced amongst the chaos?
KC- It has just been crazy. For the team still in the building the goal is to try to be as normal as possible despite masks, plexiglass and gallons of hand sanitizer and remember to laugh and try to still have some fun. For the team who is not coming into the building it is to keep constant communication, make sure they have the things they need to do their jobs and for every one constantly remember that safety is the most important thing.
Ryan Hedrick serves as the Assistant Program Director and Co-Host of the Morning News Express at WFMD. Prior to WFMD, he hosted an afternoon program at News Talk 103.7 FM in Chambersburg, PA. He has worked at Sirius XM in Washington D.C., WBEN in Buffalo, NY, and for stations in Baltimore, MD. He has also worked at WIBW-AM in Topeka KS, earning the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) award for Major Market enterprise reporting in 2016. To connect with Ryan, find him on Twitter @SureToCover.
HLN Sees Uptick In Viewers Comes Before End of ‘Morning Express’
HLN sees an uptick over the holiday weekend with a marathon of the Emmy award-winning political drama “The West Wing” that originally aired on NBC.
Almost all the news outlets suffered brief declines during the Thanksgiving week (for the week ending Nov. 27). The lone cable news channel to see an uptick was HLN, which aired a holiday weekend marathon of the Emmy award-winning political drama “The West Wing” that originally aired on NBC from 1999 thru 2006.
But the positive news at HLN was short-lived as its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery began a new round of layoffs for the news division on Dec. 1. Among those let go, HLN’s long-running program “Morning Express with Robin Meade” ended after a 17-year run. For Nov. 21-25, it averaged 147,000 viewers, including 30,000 in the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research — a relatively normal amount for the now-defunct morning news show.
WBD’s downsizing also comes at a time CNN had posted its lowest-rated primetime adults 25-54 demo in over 30 years as well as its lowest-rated total day 25-54 demo since May 2014.
In the daytime, ABC’s “The View” continued to reign as its No. 1 talk show averaging 2.373 million viewers from Nov. 21-23. Its Thanksgiving Eve telecast (Wednesday Nov. 23) drew 2.591 million viewers — the most-watched edition of “The View” since Mar. 31, 2022. Their guests on Nov. 23 featured actor Kumail Nanjiani (“Welcome to Chippendales”) and legendary R&B singer Patti LaBelle (“A New Orleans Noel”).
ABC’s “GMA3: What You Need to Know”
topped CBS’ “The Talk.” and the recently-installed “NBC News Daily” (which replaced “Days of Our Lives”) for the 11th consecutive week.
“GMA3” improved on the previous week in total viewers (+2 percent – 1.615 million for Nov. 21-23 vs. 1.580 million for Nov. 14-18), drawing its largest overall audience in 4 weeks (since the week of Oct. 24, 2022) and it’s second largest of the season. Of course, the program’s recent bump in ratings may be attributed to associated tabloid fodder (link: https://pagesix.com/2022/12/01/amy-robach-and-t-j-holmes-not-ashamed-of-their-romance/ )
“The Talk” averaged 1.512 million viewers (from Nov. 21-23); “NBC News Daily” 1.2 million (Nov. 21-22).
Five Fox News Channel daytime programs also accomplished besting “The Talk” and “NBC News Daily” during this week, based on total viewers (with three of them also topping “GMA3”):
“America’s Newsroom” (9-11 AM/ET; 1.804 million)
“Outnumbered” (11 AM/ET; 1.764 million)
“The Faulkner Focus” (12 PM/ET; 1.667 million)
“America Reports” (1-3 PM/ET; 1.519 million)
“The Story” (3 PM/ET; 1.514 million)
Cable news averages for November 21-27, 2022:
Total Day (Nov. 21-27 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.225 million viewers; 160,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.556 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.428 million viewers; 83,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.174 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.118 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.098 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.094 million viewers; 9,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.085 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (Nov. 21-26 @ 8-11 p.m.; Nov. 27 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.664 million viewers; 189,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.791 million viewers; 74,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.433 million viewers; 88,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.238 million viewers; 51,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.208 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.118 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.091 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.068 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.064 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.484 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.451 million viewers
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.131 million viewers
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.091 million viewers
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.063 million viewers
6. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.040 million viewers
7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.900 million viewers
8. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.834 million viewers
9. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.788 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.745 million viewers
22. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.951 million viewers
148. Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.769 million viewers
339. The West Wing “Hartsfield’s Landing” (HLN, Sat. 11/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.372 million viewers
348. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 11/21/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.360 million viewers
420. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 813” (CNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.275 million viewers
643. Highway Thru Hell “(716) The General” (TWC, Sun. 11/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.151 million viewers
671. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Fri. 11/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.141 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.444 million adults 25-54
2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54
3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.417 million adults 25-54
4. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.391 million adults 25-54
5. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.385 million adults 25-54
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.358 million adults 25-54
7. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.352 million adults 25-54
8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.347 million adults 25-54
9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.340 million adults 25-54
10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.335 million adults 25-54
67. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.180 million adults 25-54
68. Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN, Tue. 11/22/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.178 million adults 25-54
201. How It Really Happened “Yosemite Mur:Evil Side Pt2” (HLN, Mon. 11/21/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.099 million adults 25-54
230. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1213” (CNBC, Tue. 11/22/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.088 million adults 25-54
477. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Wed. 11/23/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.046 million adults 25-54
555. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 11/21/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54
603. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Mon. 11/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.033 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
Douglas Pucci is a Bronx native and NYU graduate analyzing news television ratings for Barrett News Media. He did an internship at VH1’s “Pop Up Video” in 1997. After college, Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He has worked alongside media industry observer Marc Berman for over a decade reporting on all things television, first at Cross MediaWorks from 2011-15 then at Programming Insider since 2016. Pucci also contributed to the sports website Awful Announcing. Read more: https://programminginsider.com/author/douglas/
Andrea Kaye Learned Tough As Nails Attitude From Her Marine Corp Parents
“My fantasies didn’t involve radio as a kid, but they did involve my voice. And they did involve using that voice in some way to influence.”
Her mother called her ‘dynamite in a dress.’ Andrea Kaye had an explosive energy and temperament. Her mother may have been right about her daughter’s intensity, but she was wrong about the dress.
“She thought I was going to be like my older sister, in a dress, playing with dolls. I was a tom-boy as a kid,” Kaye continued. “I was riding a bike with no shoes, riding like a crazy kid, and scraped off all my toenails. Our neighbors, ‘the Reen sisters’, comforted me while Mama wrapped my feet in bandages.
“We called them the Reen sisters because all four of them had ‘Reen’ at the end of their names; Doreen, Maureen, etc. Another time I jumped off an air conditioning unit and almost bit my tongue in half. To this day, my family still laughs about that stuff.”
Her tomboy ways kept her a regular fixture at the Camp LeJeune emergency room. But even when she wasn’t getting into scrapes while playing, she got into scrapes and arguments over politics.
Also as a kid, Kaye would have intense conversations with her Uncle Jake, a Colonel at Fort Benning. “All the adults in the room would ask why he was arguing with a child,” Kaye explained. “My Uncle said, ‘Because she’s making a darn good point.’ He made me feel respected. He never treated me like a child.”
Both parents were in the Marine Corps. Kaye never seemed to shy away from being called a ‘military-brat.’ The kid was tough as nails. She brings some of that toughness to The Andrea Kaye Show, which broadcasts on Monday-Friday from 6:00-8:00 PM on The Answer San Diego.
Her mother grew up on a dairy farm in a little town near the Mississippi and Louisiana border. Not far from where Kaye went to high school, Slidell High. “Mama knew what hard work was,” Kaye explained.
Her mother worked extremely hard each day, especially after her mother Mary Lee got burned in a house fire. She had to help raise her younger sister while running the farm. “Compared to what she had to do on the farm, the Marine Corps was a vacation,” Kaye explained. “Mama has a tee-shirt that reads, ‘Not as Mean, not as Lean, but still a Marine’. Could be why she beat four cancers in three years. Not what you would call a ‘fluffy’ life.”
Kaye’s grandmother on her father’s side, worked in a textile mill in Opelika, Alabama. This was the same mill in which they filmed Norma Rae, starring Sally Field.
“With nothing but sixth grade education there weren’t many options,” Kaye said.
The work took a toll. Her grandmother lost most of her hearing and got black lung. Her dad grew up on a dirt floor and dreamed of a better life with travels to foreign lands and was thrilled to join the military as a way out. He believed in the American Dream and instilled that inspiration in Kaye.
“We’d drive around and he would show us the neighborhoods we could live in if we got an education and worked hard.”
They had a lot of love while growing up in the family, but Kaye wouldn’t call it an emotionally nurturing childhood. Marines who were battle weary and from tough and impoverished childhoods aren’t necessarily the types to coddle.
But they were the types to play lots of board games and cards, like gin rummy. Rides at amusement parks across the country were a family staple.
“We’d watch lots of movies and TV, especially musicals,” Kaye said. “Who knew two Marines could love The Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof so much?”
One time her mother bribed Kaye’s brother and his friends with cookies and cake if they would watch her perform songs from The Sound of Music.
“Mary Lee was my mother’s mom. She had to be tough because her husband died while my mom was in the womb,” Kaye said. “She didn’t have time to be nurturing with four kids and a dairy farm to run.”
She said Mary Lee would babysit often.
“She didn’t believe in sugar-coating for kids,” Kaye said. “One of my sisters asked her what a dead person looked like?”
Mary Lee packed the kids into the car and took them to a viewing with a dead man in a coffin and said, ‘This is what a dead person looks like.’
“You asked her a question and you got an answer,” Kaye said. “Mama was the same.”
That didn’t mean her parents didn’t love them, Kaye explained.
“They didn’t believe like today’s parents that everyone should get a trophy and everyone had to be happy every day. We were raised with the pragmatic truths of life. They were all about supporting what we wanted to do. There were no barriers to those dreams. That was instilled in my sister, brother and me.”
Kaye was born at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps base, living in the base housing Tarawa Terrace, also known as “Terrible Terrace”. They moved around a bit but settled in the New Orleans area.
“I loved everything about the military,” Kaye said. “I loved the bases, uniforms, marching, the regiment, the chain of command. I loved the military bearing and authoritative presence they had at all ranks. I was mesmerized by it all. Daddy was a Vietnam vet and when he was deployed, multiple times.
“Me and my siblings and Mama went back to the dairy farm with grandma,” Kayes said. “My father never talked about his time in the service. We had no idea what he did. My sister, Donna, who we just called Sister, asked Daddy once what he did for a living. He said, I shoot the bull all day. So when she was asked once what her dad did, she told them, “He shoots bulls.”
The mystery of the military was part of the allure. Kaye was so enamored with the military, she gave some thought to how great it would be if she could attend West Point after the family had visited. Her mother and father brought the military with them when they took a break from the base.
“Even though I love the military, I had a love and hate relationship with regiment when Dad and Mom took us on a vacation,” Kaye said. “We had to get up at 4:00am. It wasn’t like my father was harsh like the pilot Bull Meecham in The Great Santini. Still, we had a very specific way of doing things. I learned to fold clothes according to regulation”
Kaye was always interested in going to college, imagining where she might enroll. She ended up choosing Louisiana State University to study political science.
“LSU was an amazing experience,” she said. “Louisiana is like being in another country. The language, food, culture. LSU is the perfect educational community of the unique culture. I embraced every aspect possible. I joined a sorority and lived in the house. Spent Saturday nights in the famous Tiger Stadium called Death Valley, and ate my weight in crawfish. I wanted the big university experience, and I got it.”
She’d thought about becoming a lawyer, perhaps a Supreme Court justice.
“I became obsessed with politics during my teen years,” Kaye explained. “I studied political science at LSU, admitted as a 17 year-old. I also gave some thought to becoming an attorney. In my family there was a constant theme of justice, of right and wrong. I have always been fascinated by true-crime.”
Kaye said her parents were always concerned about justice, committed to their beliefs of right and wrong. Always looking to improve her circumstances, instead of working her normal summer job at Fasulo Drugs in Slidell, she got a job in the French Quarter selling timeshares.
“I was able to make more money in six or eight weeks over the summer than I’d make all year working at the drugstore,” Kaye explained.
It was then Kay recognized she had an aptitude for sales. During her third year at LSU, she decided to switch her major to business. “I’m glad I did. There’s such an intersection between politics and business. I already loved politics and needed to learn more about business.”
She visited La Jolla, California after she graduated from LSU. It was a quick vacation but she fell in love with the area, and state. After graduation she started her first corporate job with No Nonsense panty hose.
“I was going around to K-Marts and other retail stores around Louisiana,” Kaye said. “I traveled around the state. It was a great first out of college job, but not a life choice. I earned my bones at No Nonsense. It was a grind.”
She couldn’t shake her love for La Jolla and San Diego, so she quit her job at No Nonsense and moved to San Diego, where she was hired by Xerox.
“Xerox sent me to Las Vegas, a branch of the San Diego office,” she said. “You have no idea how hot it is to be in a suit in Las Vegas when the temperature is 115-degrees. Still, I’d take it over the Florida heat and the mosquitos in New Orleans.”
After a year in Vegas, Xerox relocated her to San Diego. Xerox is where she made her bones, working in one of the toughest industries, and for a legendarily tough company.
Kaye said she may live in California, but her soul is on the New Orleans Bayou.
“I love, love, love Louisiana,” she said. “Down to the core of my being. One of the reasons I left was because after the oil industry crashed, so did the economy. There was a not so funny billboard outside Lafayette that said, ‘Last one to leave, turn out the lights’. The economy had completely tanked.”
At the time she left for California, Kaye said she didn’t understand her soul connection with New Orleans. “I didn’t know how much I’d miss it. I try to get back at least once or twice a year and still have family and friends there.”
The transition from sales to media wasn’t all that difficult for Kaye. She said every company she worked for required her to do some kind of media work.
“When I was with No Nonsense, I would join radio stations on the air when they were doing promotions from a parking lot. They’d talk to anyone. I would say, ‘I’m Andrea from No Nonsense. Come and check us out.’ It wasn’t difficult for me. I just wormed my way in and identified myself and the product on the air.”
She has ‘acted’ in corporate industrial videos and some infomercials. Again, this came naturally. She ended up getting an agent.
“It’s different in New York and L.A.,” Kaye said. “In those cities you can get an agent for particular things. An agent for acting, and agent for modeling. In San Diego, they only had agents that were a one-stop-shop. You were required to do any medium the agent put you up for. You’d be called upon to audition for commercials on TV, or a model in print ads, even some acting gigs.”
Kaye appeared in one movie, Lore Deadly Obsession. The film was about real-life serial killer and cannibal Richard Chase, who killed six women and drank their blood in the late 70s. He was dubbed ‘The Vampire Killer.’
“That was the first time they used the term ‘serial killer,” she explained.
Kaye is married but never had children. “It just wasn’t my dream,” she said. “I never had the fantasy of staying home and starting a family. That was Sister’s dream, and she fulfilled it. So did my brother. My fantasies were about living a life that was different. Bigger and brighter than my folks and their folks before them. Just as each generation behind me lived a bigger and brighter life than those before.
“My fantasies didn’t involve radio as a kid, but they did involve my voice. And they did involve using that voice in some way to influence.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has also served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his book: On Story Parkway: Remembering Milwaukee County Stadium, available on Amazon, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should the Media Support Police?
BNM’s Rick Schultz writes Never has the danger to police officers been greater, and never has the thin blue line been under such attack, so where is the media?
Never has the danger to police officers been greater, and never has the thin blue line been under such attack.
So where is the media?
This past weekend, Fox News @Night hosted a discussion about public support for the police and, in doing so, highlighted a group dedicated to wounded officers and their families.
Retired Las Vegas Police Detective Lt. Randy Sutton of TheWoundedBlue.com joined host Trace Gallagher to discuss the current state of affairs from law enforcement’s perspective.
“Well, when it comes to America’s crime crisis, something appears to be missing in society and in mainstream media, covering and honoring law enforcement officers who are wounded or killed in the line of duty,” Gallagher began. “I want to know why it is that mainstream media, and that society, feels like, you know what, the war on police is not worth covering?”
“This news network is pretty much the only one that’s giving the truth out about the war on cops. Last year, 207 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Almost sixty thousand were physically assaulted in the line of duty, Trace,” Sutton responded. “They’ve been shot, they’ve been stabbed, they’ve been beaten. And yet, you don’t even see it in the newspapers. It’s barely covered because it’s not politically expedient for the political Left and for the mainstream media to even cover.”
Gallagher then drew attention to a graphic showing a mid-October statement from the National Fraternal Order of Police, @GLFOP, which read…
The spewing of anti-police rhetoric by some political and media figures as well as the failed policies of rogue prosecutors and judges, are placing our officers in greater danger. This culture of lawlessness must stop!
“A lot of people don’t know when officers get injured, not only is the officer affected. But the family and a lot of things change,” said Marcus Mason, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy, who was injured in the line of duty. “I spent about a month in the hospital, so my family had to drive to and from home, daycare, dropping off children, and doing different things to get people to work to get people to come see me and things like that. A lot of financial things are a burden put on your family. And so, The Wounded Blue was there to help my family in making those things easier. Whether it’s paying for gas or the increase in groceries and things like that, and making things easier for my family to be able to come and spend time with me.”
TheWoundedBlue.com’s mission, as stated on the website, is to improve the lives of injured and disabled law enforcement officers. They place a strong focus on de-stigmatizing mental health within the law enforcement community, in addition to providing peer support and community outreach. Their emergency phone number – (702) 290-5611 – provides “immediate trust, validation, and confidentiality, which breaks down barriers when a person is in a vulnerable state.”
Vickie Speed, whose brother-in-law was “executed in the line of duty,” joined the panel to share part of her sister’s recovery story after the violent episode.
“We got involved with Randy because he actually stepped in to help her with PTSD and trauma and I saw what he did,” she said, noting that she also lost her husband to cancer. “Just losing my husband alone, I just had a real passion to give back and not just help widows, but I’ve actually run into law enforcement that’s now retired, that’s reaching out.”
Gallagher pointed out that while the group’s mission is crucial to families recovering from such tragedies, the real shame is that Wounded Blue is needed in the first place.
“My peer team, amazing people,” Sutton said. “All of my peer team are officers who have been shot, stabbed, beaten, run over. And you know what, but I fully believe this, that the American people believe in their police and want to help. They want to have an avenue to help. And now we’re giving them that avenue by supporting these wounded officers, by going to TheWoundedBlue.org and giving what they can, can make a difference. In fact, they might even save a life.”
The question posed by Gallagher, although never definitively answered, is whether the mainstream corporate media will ever reflect the widely-held sentiment of most Americans. The feeling is that law enforcement should be applauded and supported, especially on the heels of a violent attack.
Rick Schultz is a former Sports Director for WFUV Radio at Fordham University. He has coached and mentored hundreds of Sports Broadcasting students at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Marist College and privately. His media career experiences include working for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Army Sports at West Point, The Norwich Navigators, 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie, NY, Time Warner Cable TV, Scorephone NY, Metro Networks, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Cumulus Media, Pamal Broadcasting and WATR. He has also authored a number of books including “A Renegade Championship Summer” and “Untold Tales From The Bush Leagues”. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @RickSchultzNY.