BLOCK ISLAND, RI — OOPS. One of your hosts said WHAT??? Managers: Gaffes are inevitable, especially in talk radio. When your station stumbles:
1) Act quickly. The sooner you confront a negative story, the sooner it will be over. Responding as quickly to negative stories as you do to positive ones enhances your credibility.
2) Be honest. Hiding embarrassing information or lying will do more damage than damage control. Never stonewall, and avoid “rolling disclosure.” As several U.S. presidents have learned (is learning), the cover-up can be worse than the crime.
3) Tell your side of the story. Use specifics, and detail what corrective action “has already been taken.” You’ll sound responsible and in-control.
4) Respond in kind. If the issue is emotional, don’t sound like a cold, unemotional Mr. Spock. “I have a teenage daughter myself, and I know how much our host’s comments must have hurt.”
Holland Cooke (hollandcooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet; he is the author of “Holland Cooke Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books; and he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America. Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at Talkers.com, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke