Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Channel 7 Reporter's Drone Use Being "Looked Into" by FAA

Well it seems the use of a drone to get overhead views of tornado damage over the weekend has come to the attention of the FAA.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports today KATV photographer Brian Emfinger's use of his own private drone to cover the aftermath of the storm is being investigated by the FAA.  

“It’s always in the back of my head, ‘How could I use the drone to get shots that other people don’t have?’” said Emfinger, who had been chasing the storm from the moment it touched down. “The thing about the aerial is, for people who have been impacted, it’s one thing to have ground shots but it really gives a sense of perspective about how bad it is. And if people know how bad it is, people can help.”

What does KATV news director Nick Gentry have to say:

“Brian went out to use it last night because we knew we needed some pictures to show the damage,” Gentry said. “It gave great perspective of how bad the damage was in Mayflower.”

The paper reports KLRT used drone services provided by Tim Trieschmann, owner of The Shot Above to get aerial footage of the devastation.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

KTHV Lone Little Rock Station Left in Wall-to-Wall Coverage

As of 1pm KTHV/Channel 11/Little Rock is the only Little Rock station still in wall-to-wall coverage.  KARK and KATV have both transitioned back into regular programming.  Channel 11 has anchors Denise Middleton and Alyse Eady at the anchor desk along with all the station's reporters, in addition to others from 11's sister stations. 

Just making an observation, Denise and Alyse seem to be handling the anchoring duties pretty well.  I have not seen Alyse miss a beat all morning. 

Sister Stations Assist With Coverage

Gannett has brought in sister stations to help with coverage.  Sebastian Robertson from WFAA/Dallas/Fort Worth has been brought in to help out KTHV with its wall-to-wall coverage of the aftermath of Sunday's tornadoes. UPDATE:  A reporter from Gannett's Atlanta, GA stations WXIA is also in the state assisting with coverage. A reporter from KHOU is also in town assisting. 

Just a little tidbit when I was looking on WFAA's webpage for info I found  a couple of former Little Rock and Shreveport reporters/anchors working for the Dallas station.  Former KATV'er Carla Wade and formerKSLA/KTBS/Shreveport sports anchor Ted Madden work for WFAA.

Viewers Upset Over Video of Reporter Returning Photo to Storm Victim

KARK/Channel 4/Little Rock seems to be catching some flack on its facebook page for a report it aired this morning while on the scene in the tornado ravaged area of Arkansas.  Earlier today KARK/KLRT reporter Susanne Brunner and her photographer came across a picture of what wound up being of the daughter of a Mayflower resident.  Brunner and the photographer returned the photo to the owner who was very grateful for the discovery.   
Watch the video below

LR Stations Provide Wall-to-Wall Storm News

Little Rock tv stations have been wall-to-wall tornado aftermath coverage this morning.  I am not sure if they all waited til their morning programs began at 430 this morning to begin the coverage of the devastation of yesterday's storms. 

 KTHV had evening anchor Dawn Scott up and at'em this morning in the storm damaged area along with other reporters from the station.  KATV had a number of their morning show people in the area as well, as did KARK.  As of 9am wall-to-wall coverage continues as more information becomes available concerning the overnight storms.

KATV Sues Another LR Network After Hiring Former Reporter

Little Rock is becoming quite the city with media lawsuits.  Arkansas reports KATV/Channel 7/Little Rock is sueing the Soul of the South Network for hiring former reporter Katherina Yancy. reports Yancy left her job at KATV April 1st.  The article says the station met with Soul of the South executives concerning their hiring of Yancy.  According to the lawsuit Soul of the South execs told KATV GM Mark Rose the reporter's return to KATV wasn't going to happen.   

Yancy was under contract with KATV through January 2015.  Seems KATV is anticipating her return as the station hasn't hired a reporter to replace her. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

And the Thunder Rolls.....

This isn't a night tv sales people like but wall-to-wall coverage was warranted.  All stations in Little Rock went, and currently are in wall-to-wall coverage what seems to be a massive tornado is moving from just north of the Little Rock are to the northeast.  

Meanwhile, in the ArkLaTex both Channel's 3..6...and 12 went into LIVE coverage when a tornado developed in the Mount Pleasant, Texas area.  Once again I relied mainly on online coverage. 

I found again KTAL/Channel 6 offered the best coverage online with Chief Met Todd Warren live on the web with radar describing what's happening and answering questions from online viewers.  I switched over to KSLA's online coverage..once again found found the chief met providing what seemed a behind the scenes look.  At one point it was quite amusing as he was wanting to go LIVE on TV to give a Tornado warning but couldn't find the cameraman, producer or anybody to put him on the air.  The weekend met came back in and said they were all outside smoking.

Update:   Been wqtching the Little Rock stations for the last few hours.  On KARK I found it seem like the weather folks competing for time on the air.  Of course I think they are simulcasting with KLRT and utilizing its weather mets also.  KATV had all the weather crew in to help with coverage.  Along with the mets it was showing storms reports of the devastation in NE Arkansas/the Mayflower area.  KTHV had Ed Buckner and Sarah Fortner covering the storms.  KTHV had the radar up on the screen the entire time tracking the storms.   

I nearly forgot to mention The Weather Channel was tracking the storms as well.  TWC had Jim Cantore in Norman, Oklahoma at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center and he was communicating with tornado chasers chasing the storms moving across northeast Arkansas.  Yea, you read correctly, The Weather Channel was covering weather!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Northwest Arkansas Anchor Announces Departure

KFTA/Fox 24/Fayetteville News Edge anchor Brad Reed is leaving the station after 5 years.  Fox 24 made the announcement Thursday.  Reed has been the sole anchor and executive producer of the newscast since its inception.

"For the last five years I have had the privilege of working as a news anchor for Fox 24.  The job allowed me to meet and interview some of the most interesting people in Northwest Arkansas, and serve dozens of non-profit organizations in the community that are near and dear to my heart.  I've worked with some of the most talented people in TV news, and will cherish the relationships I have been able to develop through this job.  Thank you for inviting me into your homes each night, and for trusting me to do the job I have loved so much,” Reed said following Thursday's announcement. 

Reed's last day on air will be Wednesday, May 14th.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ah yea, that wonderful time we call sweeps is upon us.  I read somewhere the other day where facebook is putting a stop to the giveaways for commercial businesses that reach a certain amount of followers.  From what I read all the Little Rock stations are not at that level.   What will be some of the crazy contests/stories will we see this sweeps period...hmmmm......

Thursday, April 24, 2014

KARK/KLRT Has New Reporter in the Field

This from the tip box:

Hilary Hunt has joined KARK channel 4 and KLRT channel 16 in Little Rock as a reporter. She previously worked for KNOE channel 8 in Monroe, LA.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NWA Station Names Sports Director

Mitch Roberts is joining KHBS/KHOG/Fayetteville-Fort Smith as sports director.  Roberts is no stranger to viewers in northwest Arkansas as he most recently was news anchor/reporter for KFSM/Channel 5.  

“Mitch brings a terrific combination of experience and Arkansas-Oklahoma sports knowledge to our newsroom,” said 40/29 News Director, Greg Shepperd. “I know Mitch will provide excellent leadership when it comes to covering the Razorbacks and our diverse sports market.” 

Roberts' first day at 40/29 will be May 5th.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Drones the Future of Gathering TV News Video?

Who needs a news chopper any more when you have drones!  Arkansas has an interesting article on how Little Rock TV stations have been taking advantage of a Little Rock business and using drones to get ariel video when needed. The article says  The Shot Above of Little Rock has shot video for KARK/KLRT, and KTHV.  Most recently The Shot Above shot video for KARK when the Majestic Hotel was burning in Hot Springs.  Just what do the news directors of the stations say about this technology.

“We’re not utilizing drones,” said Michael Caplan, general manager of KTHV.  Caplan said one reason the station isn’t using Trieschmann or other drone operators for breaking news is because of uncertain regulation surrounding the tech.

 In a manned helicopter, “sometimes the quality of video and perspective isn’t all that great. It can be almost distracting; depending on the setup, the camera might shake and the video would not necessarily be that clean,”KARK news director Austin Kellerman said.Kellerman said that KARK’s use of freelancers like Trieschmann helps the station avoid potentially losing an investment in its own drones — which can cost up to $100,000 or more — in case regulations are too strict.

KATV seems to have on staff their very own photographer who uses his own aircraft for news shots.  

Read the entire article HERE.

Channel 11 Brings New Sports Anchor on Board

Well this answers a few questions.....TV Spy reports KTHV/Channel 11/Little Rock has hired Mary Dunleavy as sports anchor.  Dunleavy comes to Little Rock from NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA.  Channel 11 news director Dave Parker tells TV Spy one of her first assignments will be covering Razorback's spring practice this week.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

KTHV, Gannett Sued for Discrimination

KTHV Sports anchor Mark Edwards has sued the station and its parent company for discrimination.  In a nutshell Edwards states KTHV and Gannett Corp. stood in his way of getting employment elsewhere and not promoting him further up the ladder at Channel 11.  A full brief of the lawsuit can be found HERE.  It is rumored Edwards is  no longer at Channel 11 as his bio is no longer on the station's website.  Edwards is seeking class certification, restitution, and compensatory and punitive damages for Civil Rights Act violations, loss of prospective earnings and a court order "to enjoin the discriminatory practices."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

KARK Celebrates 60 Years of Broadcasting

KARK/Channel 4/Little Rock is celebrating 60 years of broadcasting.  The station first went on the air at 6:00PM on Thursday, April 15, 1954.  Of course many changes have occurred in broadcasting since then.  KARK has set a special anniversary section on its website with memories throughout the years.

Viewers Pissed at NWA Station Over Weather Coverage..Or Lack Thereof...

Seems KFSM/Channel 5/Fort Smith is catching some heat from viewers over the lack of severe weather coverage Sunday night.  Chief Meteorologist Garrett Lewis' facebook page is filled with upset viewers on how severe weather wasn't broadcast Sunday evening.  In one post Lewis explained it this way:

It's difficult to understand but sometimes Tornado Warnings are issued for QLCS pockets of rotation. (Rotation that lasts 1 scan on a line of storms and then disappears; although the warning continues for as much as an hour).

If there's an actual tornado risk... We're on the air: Period. If it's mid-level rotation that is not capable of a tornado... we'll be on KXNW or running crawls.

Hopefully NOAA/NWS will come up with a way to handle storms which show small rotation on 1 scan and then disappear.

In my opinion the increase in the false-alarm-rate is not helpful to anyone.

No tornado occurred tonight and there never was a significant risk of one occurring.

BUT a tornado did touch down in Peter Pender in Franklin County.  Every station has to deal with this sort of thing.  Viewers in the place where the bad weather isn't moving through get mad because they wanna see their programs..then where the weather is moving through those viewers want to see the weather.  Us viewers in the Little Rock and Shreveport markets have to deal with the same thing.  But you know what the first priority of a tv station isn't to provide entertainment, it is to keep viewers informed of potential life and death situations like severe storms.  Just part of having an fcc license.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Clean Sweep for KATV

KATV/Channel 7/Little Rock swept the February Nielsen's book.  Arkansas reports KATV was the clear leader in each newscast hour.  KATV General Manager Mark Rose told "That it was “remarkable” that KATV continued to pull ahead in that time slot with a 9.9 rating, despite competing with the Olympics. Since the February ratings period, however, KATV has lost one of its 6 and 10 p.m. anchors, Christina Munoz, to a public relations job at the University of Central Arkansas."

You will find all the numbers HERE.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Former Sheveport Reporter Keeping the Dust Stirred Up

One of Shreveport's premiere publications is reporting former KTBS/Channel 3/Shreveport reporter Chris Redford is sueing the station.  If you remember Redford was fired in November 2012 for making comments on social media sites in reponse to viewers comments about KTBS and/or its employees.  One has to wonder how long the nonsense of this will go on. 

ArkLaTex Stations Take to the Web for Wall-to-Wall Weather Coverage

With bad weather moving through the ArkLaTex last night, tv viewers had no choice but to tune to online coverage.  Two of the 3 major TV stations in the ArkLaTex offered online viewing as part of the coverage.  

KTAL/Channel 6/Shreveport broadcasted weather coverage continuous until all storms moved out of the area.  Chief Met Todd Warren was on the stations online streaming channel.  His coverage consisted of showing the area radar along with answering questions from folks around the area in the chat room. 

Over on Chief Met Steve Parr and...can't remember the other met's name offered up the severe weather blog.  What I can't understand about their online coverage was instead of making the radar the star of the screen the cameras were focused on the two mets just chatting with viewers..and at one point taking a phone call from a viewer asking a question about why another station was saying something different from them.  I found this coverage a little odd.

As for KTBS/Channel 3/Shreveport all I could find for them on the net was depending heavily on social media for getting out the warnings. 

So I guess a lot of stations have turned to the web to broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of severe weather instead of taking the chance of making viewers mad that aren't interested in it.  This is ok as long as everybody as an internet connection. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

KARK Show Host From the Early Days Passes Away

Source: KARK A show host who did both radio and television in KARK's early days has passed away.

Mack L. Carger, known on the air as “Smilin’ Mack,” died Friday, March 29. He was 94 and had just celebrated his 77th wedding anniversary the day before.

Carger, of Cabot, was also a professional entertainer on stage.

After spending time in the military in World War Two, Carger hosted the Barnyard Frolics music show on KARK radio before the station ventured into television.

Former KARK Reporter Passes Away

Source: KARK  The KARK family is mourning the loss of a reporter who graced our screen in the 70's and 80's.
Gene worked for KARK twice. He first joined the station in 1971 as a reporter and Night Editor/Producer. In 1977, Gene left the station to join the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office as Public Information Officer and Patrol Sergeant. During that time, Gene also flew on the traffic watch for Little Rock radio station KAAY.

Gene returned to KARK as the station's police reporter in 1981, where he remained until 1988. 

It was during this time that Gene started Gene Stewart Video. The business was a TV news clipping, media tracking and video production service in Little Rock providing copies of local newscasts, which Gene was still running at the time of his death. He was also working on plans for an internet radio station.

When contacted a few years ago about working at the station, Gene told us that KARK was "still in his heart and soul" and that it was a great place to work. Gene also recalled staffers saying "showtime" when it was time for a newscast to begin, and he said seeing KARK videos from that time period always brought back that excitement.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

An ArkLaTex Legend Passes Away

Source: KSLA KSLA News 12 has confirmed that legendary KSLA-TV weatherman and announcer Al Bolton has passed away. 

Bolton joined KSLA just one month after the station went on the air in 1954. "I just had a great desire to get into broadcasting, particularly television." He stayed for more than 36 years.  "I asked to do the weather, and they say, ‘You can have it," Bolton recalled during an interview marking KSLA's 50th anniversary in 2004.

Bolton may have had low-tech tools, but his forecasts were highly respected.  Besides being the station meteorologist for many years, Bolton also hosted Al's Corral, a western-themed children's show.

After his time at KSLA, Bolton went on to do weather for local radio station KRMD, wrote for a local seniors publication and served as emcee for the Shreveport Metropolitan Band for many years more. 

Son Ryan Bolton confirms his father took a fall recently and never quite recovered. He died Wednesday morning.

Visitation and funeral arrangements are pending. He was 88.

ALSO Bolton later hosted a weekly segment, "The ArkLaTex Gardener" for Shreveport station KTBS.

KATV Hires New MMJ

Hiring a new MMJ didn't take long...KATV/Channel 7/Little Rock has hired Jordan Bontke.  Bontke comes to Little Rock from KCEN, the NBC affiliate serving theWaco, Temple, Killeen, and Bryan, Texas area.  Bontke will first appear on air on KATV April 7th. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Another Reporter Leaving KATV

The bleeding continues at KATV/Channel 7/Little Rock.  We hear multi-media journalist Katharina Yancy is leaving KATV.  A tipster tells us Yancy is leaving for the new Soul of the South Network as a multi media journalist.