A live play-by-play broadcast of an unfolding crime in Panama City, FL was captured by a personality from iHeartMedia’s country WPAP (92.5), ultimately leading to the arrest of the alleged perpetrators. The story plays like an episode of a TV show on Investigation Discovery, with the station’s morning man, Dr. Shane Collins, and his report central to an arrest.
Collins heard that three suspects were in possession of an AK-47 rifle—with shots fired—and he ran to the station Sunday to broadcast live across all five iHeart stations in the market. He produced a 10-minute synopsis of the events, which can be heard on the station’s website. It begins with a report from the Panama City sheriff, who offered details to listeners that three suspects had robbed a nearby Naval base of the rifle and shot someone, who was en route to a hospital. The sheriff then warned, “Do not approach. Call 911 immediately.”
Remaining calm and understated, Collins asked for more details about the car and the suspects’ appearance, as well as the potential whereabouts of the alleged getaway car—a gray GMC Terrain, with an Alabama tag. Eventually, the broadcast led to a response from listeners—including “Valerie,” who saw the suspects being apprehended at a McDonald’s.
“I want you to calm down. Everything is OK,” Collins offered to the agitated young lady, who said she was “stuck” in the drive-thru lane. “I’m right here with you. Just listen to your radio,” he added. Collins continued to interview Valerie about what was unfolding—where cops were taking down “at least” three men, in handcuffs.
The sheriff later returned on-air to WPAP and the other iHeart stations, and told an even more amazing story of a man who was listening to the radio station, “and got the vehicle description and the tags and was out here with his family and saw it turning into the Walmart.” That guy, “Jamie,” gave the police the information they needed to then track the vehicle to McDonald’s.
The Bay County sheriff said over the air, “This was a very dangerous situation. It goes to show that a good partnership between law enforcement, the media and the public pays off in these situations. I appreciate you for coming in and getting us out on the air. It would have been a lot more difficult to solve without getting that information to people out in their cars. It was very helpful.”