Posted by: tiffanylyons | January 12, 2008

“The Weatherman Who Cried Hurricane”

Today we went to Clear Channel Radio. After spending the morning with Dick Lewis, we had the opportunity to speak with two other Clear Channel employees, Ray Romero (talent) and Aimee Lavespere (sales), about their experience with the United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans (URB).

If you have ever heard the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” thats New Orleans when it comes to hurricanes. However, for some reason this time when Romero saw the media coverage and Lavespere was told to leave by her roommate’s father, they knew this was the “big one.”

One of the most compelling stories these broadcasters had to tell was what drove them to continue working, as they themselves had their own problems to face. According to them, their jobs kept them busy enough that they couldn’t contemplate on their loses or even cry with their families.

In many instances, radio stations had more information than government first responders, such as FEMA, whose tasks were to organize, evacuate and provide aid to victims. As a result, when FEMA representatives were calling the radio station with contradictory information, Ray found himself extremely frustrated. He was counting on these officials to provide the services that his friends, neighbors and City needed. But instead, Ray was providing information to the people that should have been providing information to him.

After speaking to Clear Channel VP, Dick Lewis, about the creation of the URB, we were interested in when Ray and Aimee thought their mission had been completed and they could return to their normal broadcasting. During the URB’s stint, there were two distinct parts. The first few days of radio broadcasting were all about recovery. The second phase was assessing the damage and then during the third phase everyone began asking why this had happened. The united broadcasters began to have differences as they reached out to their target markets. This was the beginning of the end for the URB. The consensus was that after providing enough coverage of the hurricane, it was time to get back to what they did: entertainment.

Watch Ray and Aimee share their URB experience.


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