PHOTO INDEX: WARM NEWS DIRECTOR JERRY HELLER. (FROM PHOTO PROVIDED BY KEVIN JORDAN).
Recently I was doing some TV coverage for a local TV station and I was struck by the fact that the media pretty much traveled in a pack. It got me thinking about how WARM news was covered back in their halcyon days. I was told by a news reporter that Jerry Heller the News Director at WARM urged his reporters to get exclusive sound from the subject of a news story. Let me explain: let’s say there was a government official talking about a budget cut. At a news conference with a whole room of reporters, everyone covering it there got the same sound. What Heller wanted, even demanded, was that his reporter linger behind and ask their own question to either get a different take of what was said, an entirely different perspective than what was portrayed or just a different way of saying what the subject said to the others. WARM sometimes required its reporters to phone in sound. This was done by going to a land line, unscrewing the mouthpiece and hooking up two circuits to the inside of the phone. You transmitted your sound that way through the phone lines. That way, the story was on the Mighty 590 even before the reporter got back to the newsroom. WARM Radio was always rated number 1 in news. It was because reporters were encouraged to work just a bit harder and get all of the story. WARM was for sure “First News First” but it also did its best to get the most exclusive sound they could. The WARM News Department operated on the age old broadcast principle, “what came out of that speaker was the most important thing you did”.