By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Our Monday morning sales meetings would always follow with next day lead-by-example. Tuesday mornings were reserved for sales calls so I was focused on my first appointment. Typical bumper-to-bumper South Florida traffic meant listening to every competitor.
Lost in the fog of mental notes, my phone rang. The voice was our afternoon drive talk show, the great “Inquisitor General,” Jack Cole. “Steve, you’ve got to put me on the air immediately, we’ve been attacked!!”
What? All I could think of was, Jack had gone off the deep end. Maybe a promotional stunt? Lock himself in our studio, talking until paramedics would wheel him out? But there was something in Jack’s voice that sounded very different.
“Why do you need to be on the air immediately?” I slowly repeated.
Ever the “General,” Jack dictated for emphasis, “We’ve been attacked. Get to a TV fast. None of the radio stations are on it yet. I’m headed in. Call me back.”
Attacked? Why would an Emmy Award-winning journalist-turned-talk-show-host like Jack Cole even contemplate that type of humor? By 9:15 am I had my answer. Shock, horror, terror, fear, and again at 9:45, we were all witnessing the world changing before our collective eyes and ears.
Jack and two co-hosts that had never before worked ensemble – Joyce Kaufman (WFTL) and Tony Marino (now on WDBO, Orlando) – immediately went on the air. No show prep, no pre-planning. They would stay on the air as long as needed to help terrified listeners process the horrific events unfolding during that morning. We would go with blind trust and confidence. The mic, the phone lines, the decisions to carry news conferences, live sound, it was all in the hands of three passionate on-air talents who had never before done a full show together. They would collectively raise talk radio to a new level, as their voices would interpret the most horrific event in history to occur on American soil. We were watching and listening, scared, but in need of someone to explain what was happening and what it all meant. Throughout our country great talents set new standards for news and talk radio.
As we pause this Friday to honor and remember the 9/11 fallen, in this new world of Zoom meetings and online first, sellers must always remember the role of news/talk radio.
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com