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  1. #1

    Default 9News unplugged, post-lightning strike newscast

    From The Denver Post:

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    Credit is due "9News unplugged," the July 10 newscast by KUSA-Channel 9 that went off almost as usual despite the station being struck by lightning.

    “It was all hands on deck,” according to news director Christy Moreno. The strike happened during 9:20 commercial break. “All you would have seen at home was a glitch” when lightning hit the tower. In the newsroom, monitors were flashing on and off randomly. “The switcher went out.”

    Everyone in the control room realized it immediately, they couldn’t control anything. When it was clear no one was hurt, engineering, the IT staff, many whom of came back from home, newsroom managers, everybody started planning” how to get the newscast on the air.

    “You use every resource, get really creative,” Moreno said. “Engineers are miracle workers.”
    Immediately, anchors Adele Arakawa and Kyle Clark and their producers discussed what could be conveyed on iPad, using one microphone, one camera. Despite alarms going off and the fire department probing the building, “it was incredible teamwork.”

    Like other stations, KUSA has a backup generator but the switcher is the control panel for the entire show. “Every bit of audio, video, graphics, everything comes through that. They were able to get just enough working, we got Danielle (Grant) back on 9:30, with (weather) maps and one microphone.”

    Using one low-tech fixed camera in the newsroom, “by the time 10 p.m. came, they made some magic happen.”

    “There’s not a good lightning plan,” Moreno said. “We have emergency plans in place, there are ways to work around, we could have used microwave if hadn’t been lightning*”

    The Twitter commentary was lively: “A very different 9News at 10,” Moreno tweeted in the midst of the chaos.

    Former staffer Will Ripley, now with CNN, chimed in: “I remember when the audio board caught fire a few years ago. 10p ratings were still great!”

    Friday’s 10 p.m. numbers were slightly below average but at least the show got on the air.

    KCNC-Channel 4 news director Tim Wieland tweeted on Monday: “If we get lightning storms tonight, I’m putting @jimbcbs4 on the CBS4 rooftop with a golf club.”



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