September 13, 2001

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Thursday, September 13, 2001        Edition: #2131
“Human bombs cannot be defeated, not even by nuclear bombs.” — Dr Ramadan Shalah, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

From sampling oodles of radio stations on RealAudio over the past 2 days, it’s safe to say the current crisis has caught many unprepared for handling an emergency situation. Do we drop format and stick with news? Do we open up phone lines to create a forum for listeners? Who should be on-air? What can and can’t be said? What are the needs and wants of our listeners? Left to the individual broadcaster, dealing with this type of situation can be awkward at best. This is a good opportunity to draw up plans to be filed away for the next emergency situation, plans that can be scaled according to the gravity of events much the way the military has various levels of readiness. They might include detailed procedures for handling –
• A localized emergency such as a major fire, explosion, rail or aircraft accident, etc.
• A regional weather emergency that causes traffic problems, road, airport and school closings.
• The death of a public figure. What will you do when the next Elvis, John Lennon, or Diana dies?
• A national crisis such as assassination, hostage-taking, major economic collapse.
• A crisis of international significance as we’ve experienced over the past 2 days. Taken to the extreme, what would your station do if war was declared?
Your plans might include –
• A detailed outline of personnel needed, position by position, and their specific duties and responsibilities during the event.
• A set of guidelines as to what goes on-the-air. At what point does the music stop? What should be the tone and content of your programming? Does your station join a network for the duration of the event?
• Services your station can provide listeners during the crisis. Can you make use of recording lines, your Website, station vehicles, etc.
In times of crisis people turn to media for accurate information, for comfort and companionship. It’s a key opportunity to develop listener loyalty through your professionalism. The easy way out is to ignore all this, thinking the odds are you’ll never have to deal with it again. But if you don’t have a plan, someday, because of some unforseen situation, you’re going to get caught with your pants down . . . again.

Coverage of a major crisis can make or break news anchor careers (Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” was created during the 1979-80 Iran hostage crisis, the 1991 Gulf War made media stars of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and, for awhile, Canadian ‘Scud Stud’ Arthur Kent) . . . Over the past 48 hours, CBS’ Dan Rather has looked shockingly tired and old (he’s 70 next month) . . . There’s talk NBC’s Tom Brokaw will retire from anchor duties when his contract is up in MAY . . . Paula Zahn is spearheading the CNN coverage of the disaster in NYC, a dramatic turn-around considering she was fired by Fox News Channel just ONE WEEK AGO . . . In Canada, this crisis has been a baptism of fire for Global-TV national news anchor Kevin Newman, barely a week on the job . . . SUNDAY’S “Primetime Emmy Awards” show has been postponed for the first time in its 53-year history, now scheduled for Sunday the 23rd  . . . The Tim Allen comedy movie “Big Trouble” set to open NEXT FRIDAY will be put on hold (maybe for good) because it contains a scene involving a bomb on a plane . . . A “Spider-Man” trailer that features a scene at the World Trade Center has been yanked from theaters.

And here’s some softball filler for when you need it . . .
Each of the tiny bumps on your tongue contains 250 taste buds. As well as taste buds for ‘sweet’, ‘salty’, ‘sour’ and ‘bitter’, “Washington Post” reports that scientists now think we may have a taste bud for ‘fat’. This may explain why fat substitutes don’t seem to provide the same satisfaction as the real thing.

75% of overweight respondents to a new poll by the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance say they’ve heard derogatory remarks made about them by co-workers; and half have heard remarks made out loud by supervisors.

A new survey finds that most of us (51%) think ‘hugging and kissing’ is the best way to tell someone you love them. The 2nd-favorite way of showing affection — ‘smiling’, followed by ‘holding hands’, and ‘giving a gift’.

A new telephone poll finds that a shocking 51% of college students surveyed admit to drinking until they pass out at least once a month. (The other 49% didn’t answer the phone.)

• ‘Decircumcision’ — A surgical practice now fashionable among NYC gays that involves . . . well, you get it.
• ‘Celly’ — Brits and Aussies have a habit of giving things a pet name by tagging a ‘y’ on the end (ie: ‘footy’ for football). This UK slang word for ‘cell phone’ is now creeping into hip hop jargon.
• ‘Text Kissing’ — The sappy habit of typing in ‘X’s and ‘O’s to your sweetie via text messaging.
• ‘Cellhibitionists’ — Mobile phone users who think that by loudly and blatantly brandishing their phones in public they somehow enhance their importance or sexiness.


1938 [63] Judith Martin, Washington DC, etiquette columnist (“Miss Manners”)

1944 [57] Jacqueline Bisset, Weybridge ENG, movie actress (“Rich & Famous”, “The Deep”)

1968 [33] Brad Johnson, Marietta GA, NFL QB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

1968 [33] Bernie Williams, San Juan PR, MLB outfielder (NY Yankees)

1971 [30] Stella McCartney, UK, fashion designer (Chloé)/Paul & Linda McCartney’s daughter

1977 [24] Fiona Apple (McAfee), NYC, rock singer (“Criminal”)

TODAY (being the 13th) is “Defy Superstition Day”, a day to debunk old superstitions.

TODAY is “Positive Thinking Day”, thanks to some keener somewhere. (I dunno, I really don’t see the point in this.)

THIS WEEKEND the 28th annual “Bald is Beautiful Convention” is scheduled for Morehead City NC, where they have ‘more head and less hair’.
PHONER: 252-726-1855 (John W Capps III)

THIS WEEK is “International Housekeepers Week”, honoring the efforts of all household staff. Be sure to give your servants an extra day off.

1997 [04] Best-selling single recording of all-time is released (Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997”)

2000 [01] 1st of 2-night special Canadian edition of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” on CTV hosted by Pamela Wallin (about $60,000 given away after Canadians spend well over a million bucks on $2-phone calls attempting to qualify)

1907 [94] ‘Interprovincial Rugby Football Union’ (‘Big Four’) forms with Hamilton Tigers, Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders and Montréal Foot Ball Club

1990 [11] TV drama “Law & Order” debuts  NOTE: Show creator Dick Wolf is now developing a 5-hour miniseries called  “Terror” that will include the “Law & Order” cast plus the casts of its 2 spin-offs, “Special Victims Unit” and “Criminal Intent”.

1993 [08] 1st episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” on NBC-TV

1996 [05] Toronto Blue Jay Charlie O’Brien becomes 1st catcher to wear a hockey goalie mask in MLB game

1996 [05] USA defeats Canada 5-2 in sudden-death final of 1st (and last?) “World Cup of Hockey”

1922 [79] Highest outdoor temperature ever recorded (136 degrees F in Azizia, Libya)

[Fri] Cream-Filled Donut Day
[Sun] 2001 Terry Fox Run (
[Sun] Prime-Time Emmy Awards postponed
[Sun] National Working Parents Day
[Sun] National Singles Week begins
National Mind Mapping For Project Management Week
Rub a Bald Head Month


• Whyzit we call Members of Parliament ‘Right Honourable’ when many are neither?
• Whyzit you hear the phone ring when you call the Psychic Hotline?
• Whyzit the weaker our arguments, the stronger the words we have to use?
• Whyzit in movies they never show hordes of people standing outside their building having a smoke?
• Whyzit to get a loan you must first prove you don’t need it?
• Whyzit we think the traffic light will change quicker if we talk to it?
• Whyzit there’s never been a ‘sit-down comedian’?

• What do you call a group of kittens? [A ‘kindle’.]
• What do you call pregnant goldfish? [A ‘twit’.]
• What is a group of geese called? [On the ground it’s a ‘gaggle’, but if they’re flying it’s a ‘skein’.]

Laughter lube’s life’s engine.

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