DFW TV, radio go wall-to-wall with shooting coverage

The scene at a 7-Eleven in downtown Dallas after the attacks
The scene at a 7-Eleven in downtown Dallas after the attacks

Dallas TV stations, as well as many radio stations, provided continuous coverage of the shootings that killed five Dallas police officers and injured seven after a Black Lives Matter march Thursday night.

Many of the stations went live moments after the shootings began and stayed on the air until 8 or 9 a.m. Friday, returning for additional coverage throughout the day.

The rally took place a few blocks from two TV newsrooms, those of WFAA/Channel 8 and KDFW/Channel 4, and multiple reporters were already covering the march. According to radio/music-industry website AllAccess.com, Grand Prairie-based radio station KKDA/104.5 FM “K104” and its sister station, KRNB/105.7 FM, were also there with their street vans.

Reporters such as Channel 8’s Marie Saavedra captured video footage of the scene as the shootings began and posted clips on social media.

Some reporters, such as Channel 8’s Rebecca Lopez, who has covered Dallas police for more than a decade and knew some of the officers, were visibly shaken by the shootings. .

Cable networks such as Fox News and MSNBC used footage from Fox 4 and NBC 5 as the story unfolded. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and NBC’s Brian Williams separately spoke with NBC 5’s Scott Friedman to try to get additional perspective as facts trickled out. The best information often came from Dallas police themselves, with official statements and tweets updating the number of officers killed and wounded.

However, when the DPD posted a photo of protester Mark Hughes, who was carrying a rifle, on Twitter and declared him one of the suspected shooters, many people took to social media to correct the mistake. Several videos and photos showed Hughes was on the street when the shots were fired. Hughes, the brother of protest organizer Cory Hughes, soon turned himself in to Dallas police and several stations posted user-submitted video of Hughes handing his rifle over to a police officer.

Perhaps the most tense coverage came about 2 a.m. as police cornered a suspect in the parking garage of El Centro College while some students and faculty were still trapped inside classrooms. There were several reports that the suspect committed suicide, but Dallas police Chief David Brown later confirmed at a news conference that officers had deployed a robot bomb that killed the man. He was later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite.

Reporters and videographers also captured the moving scene at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, where officers gathered outside the emergency room and saluted as the bodies of the dead were driven away.

Other reports originated from a 7-Eleven across the street from the Fox 4 studios on Griffin Street, where the store reportedly closed early because of some thefts. A line of police officers blocked people in the parking lot, many of whom were stranded downtown and waiting for transportation home.

Carolyn Mungo, Channel 8’s news director, says the station went with continuous coverage from 9 p.m. Thursday through 8 a.m. Friday, when it broke for the nationally televised Good Morning America. At 9 a.m., the station’s Good Morning Texas returned to shooting-related coverage, including co-host Jane McGarry interviewing former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. (WFAA is a content partner of the Star-Telegram’s.)

KTVT/Channel 11 also went with continuous overnight coverage, breaking at 8 a.m. for CBS This Morning. Both Good Morning America and CBS This Morning usually begin at 7 a.m.

Fox 4, which is the only local station to regularly air local programming from 7 to 9 a.m., stayed with coverage throughout its Good Day program but broke at 9 a.m. for the national Live With Kelly.

DFW Spanish-language TV stations KUVN/Channel 23 (Univision) and KXTX/Channel 39 (Telemundo) also provided continuous overnight coverage.

Lori Conrad, communications director for Dallas’ CBS TV and radio stations, says that KRLD/1080 AM broadcast from the scene. Sports station KRLD/105.3 FM “The Fan,” like KRLD owned by CBS Radio, dropped regular programming to simulcast KRLD-AM from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. News-talk WBAP/820 AM was following the march during the 8 p.m.-midnight Chris Krok Show and had reporters on the scene, operations manager Tyler Cox says.

“As soon as the shooting began, we moved into continuous wall-to-wall coverage, eliminating all commercials from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.,” Cox said via email. The station immediately began a simulcast with KLIF/570 AM, like WBAP owned by Cumulus Media.

“Our crew stayed on the story all night, and as of noon [Friday] most were still at it,” Cox says. The station also provided updates to Cumulus’ Dallas country stations KSCS/96.3 FM and KPLX/99.5 FM “The Wolf,” as well as to sports-talk KTCK/1310 AM/96.7 FM “The Ticket,” whose hosts also talked about the shootings.

George “Geo” Cook, director of operations for Service Broadcasting, which owns hip-hop/R&B station K104 and R&B station KRNB, told AllAccess that members of the K104 Street Team witnessed the chaos.

“We are glad for their safety,” Cook told the website. “Our prayers and deepest condolences go out the families of the officers who were killed or injured while putting themselves in harm’s way to protect our citizens.”

Russ Martin, host of the afternoon Russ Martin Show on KEGL/97.1 FM “The Eagle,” founded the RMS Listeners Foundation to support the families of police officers and firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty.

“I’m watching the breaking news on the Dallas Police Officer shootings,” Martin posted on Facebook. “This may clean out the RMS Foundation, but WE WILL NOT let these families down … not on my watch.”

Morning shows on music-radio stations also talked about the shooting. KLUV/98.7 FM’s Jody Dean and the Morning Team had comedian and Office star Craig Robinson, who is appearing at the Addison Improv this weekend, in the studio for an interview, and Robinson talked about being scheduled to perform a day after the shootings.

“It’s delicate, but people are coming to the show to be relieved and to be healed, and that’s what I’m bringing,” Robinson said.