Oklahoma City radio is providing information to a community devastated by yesterday's massive tornado, which struck an area just outside the city. At least 24 people were killed, including nine children, at Plaza Towers Elementary School in the town of Moore, according to reports.
In times of such tragedy, as evidenced following Hurricane Sandy last year and the bombings at the Boston Marathon last month, playing music takes a backseat, or disappears temporarily, as radio makes community service its main focus.
"We actually have a couple employees who live in Moore and, thankfully, they are well," says Mike McCoy, program director of the market's Clear Channel-owned Mainstream Top 40 chart panelist KJYO. "The station and our cluster are collecting items needed for the Salvation Army, like water bottles, work gloves, baby formula, diapers and sunscreen.
"But, even more importantly, we're asking people to make $10 donations by texting 'storm' to 80888."
McCoy adds that instead of its usual format, KJYO is simulcasting sister station NewsTalk 1000 KTOK.
Kevin Christopher, co-operations director of Tyler Media, which includes Country Airplay reporter KJKE and Adult Contemporary panelist KMGL, similarly says that the cluster was in "wall-to-wall coverage with our TV partner, KWTV, from 2:30 p.m. yesterday to 9 a.m. today. Since, we've gone back to some of our regular programming, with periodic updates on the rescue efforts.
"We've also been doing fundraising efforts with the Red Cross and KWTV this morning, raising money and items," Christopher says. "We've helped raise more than $120,000 so far, with more to go."
"Seeing so many people come together this morning was an amazing sight, but not at all surprising," KMGL midday personality Jessi Stone posted on the station's Facebook page of the fundraising efforts.
"Oklahomans have hearts of gold. From the kiddos that pulled out their piggy banks, to men and women that said they didn't have much, but wanted to give all they had, love was shown in a big way."