Daily Archives: January 5, 2009

Play to Your Strength: Bay News 9 Makes Massive Investment in Radar

19-20090103-232641-pic-432925091_mi_embedded_prod_affiliate_69Tampa/St. Petersburg’s 24 hour cable news channel, Bay News 9, is making a major investment in its weather coverage, with the debut of the very Star Trek-sounding Klystron 9 system.  According to a story on Bradenton.com, the new radar, based on technology used in the space program and various military applications, employs a million watts of power.

“With Klystron, we have jumped the curve,” said Bob Baron, president and chief executive officer for Baron Services, the Alabama company that built and installed Bay News 9’s new system. “It has more power, more precision and more capability than any other commercial Doppler weather radar in the world.”

Bay News 9 declined to say how much the company spent on the Klystron, but did suggest the investment was intended to give the cable channel the edge over competitors during tropical weather.

In discussions on LinkedIn and Twitter, many have suggested that weather remains one of local TV’s most powerful weapons, and especially in markets like Tampa/St. Pete, viewership during serious storms can be reminiscent of the old pre-cable days. 

There’s no debating the migration of news consumers from mainstream TV to the internet for news, entertainment and social networking.  But when a potential hurricane or winter storm threatens, do people really run to the computer?  Or do they fall back into that age-old habit of sitting in front of the TV, with a trusted face and reassuring voice carefully going through radar loops and computer models?  I get most of my news off the web.  But in Miami, when there’s a storm, I’m as old-fashioned as they come, and I want to see someone familiar (sorry, this is where the cute weather girls come up short) give it to me straight. 

Thoughts?  Has anyone seen new media compete with local TV in times of severe weather?

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Back to Basics: 5 “Essential Skills” for Communicators

Communication Overtones wrote up this piece on five “essential skills” for marketing and public relations folks to survive the rough seas out there as we move into 2009.  The advice, though, seems equally relevant to journalists:  adapt, learn, listen, give back, and sharpen the fundamentals.

It’s worth a read.

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Reporters: In 2009, Adapt… or Die

Bethany Swain, Multiplatformer at CNN/CNN Photo

Bethany Swain, Multiplatformer at CNN/CNN Photo

Great piece from Poynter.org  today about the continuing spread of backpack/multiplatform/one-man-bands in journalism, this time at CNN, where photographers have shot, reported, and produced the half-hour documentary, “Guns in America.”

As fast as local tv news photogs are grabbing their cameras and heading off on their own, learning to track packages and bring it all back for air, reporters really need to be picking up cameras and learning how to shoot, edit on Avid, and think visually (which they should’ve been doing since day one, of course–whoops–sorry, was I preaching?).

This is happening.  It’s not a fluke.

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Are Digital Media Missing Their Chance to Slay TV?

Interesting post today at  TV Watch suggests that the recession (you remember, the one that’s forcing layoffs at networks, cable, and local stations from coast to coast?) may not be killing traditional media like TV, but actually, saving it.  Takeaway quote:

“In troubled times marketers retreat, goes the argument.  “Tried and true” is the phrase that comes up.  And that still means television–which is why the cable industry’s Canoe Ventures, with its efforts around set-top box information and addressable advertising, is still a big focus–and not the internet.”

That won’t come as any comfort to reporters, anchors, and local TV folks who’ve lost their jobs as those “tried and true” loving advertisers cut back on spending, forcing (or giving media companies the excuse to) slash employees and salaries.

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Fire "Ravages" WTVD Livetruck

A WTVD/Durham live truck caught fire over the weekend, “leaving a blown out window and blackened seats,” but no injuries to the crew, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

Fayetteville Fire investigators told the newspaper an electrical short may have been to blame.  Anybody heard of this happening before?  Anybody know who built the truck for TVD?

WVTD Livetruck Fire/FayObserver Photo

WVTD Livetruck Fire/FayObserver Photo

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Fire “Ravages” WTVD Livetruck

A WTVD/Durham live truck caught fire over the weekend, “leaving a blown out window and blackened seats,” but no injuries to the crew, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

Fayetteville Fire investigators told the newspaper an electrical short may have been to blame.  Anybody heard of this happening before?  Anybody know who built the truck for TVD?

WVTD Livetruck Fire/FayObserver Photo

WVTD Livetruck Fire/FayObserver Photo

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LA Says “Thanks for Having Us In” to Chatman

After 35 years at KNBC/LA, weekend anchor Furnell Chatman announced in a newsroom email, “I have decided to trade my weekend anchor chair and my weekday reporter’s microphone for a seat along the Louisiana bayou and a mint julep.”

LA Observed has reaction from KNBC News VP Bob Long:  “It’s very much like Chat to act quickly after private reflection.”

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