How Local Stations Will Cover the Big Winter Storm

By Kevin Eck Comment

wttg storm

A major, some say ‘crippling’ snow storm is expected to grind across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast today and tomorrow dumping snow and mayhem in its wake. TVSpy asked some of the local stations in the path of the storm how they planned to keep their viewers up to date and their people safe.

Here’s what we have so far. Send us your storm related videos, social media interactions and updates when you have them. tvspy@adweek.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Fox-owned WTTG:

Sue Palka – Weather Anchor, WTTG FOX 5 in DC.

It is absolutely ALL HANDS ON DECK here and the “round the clock” coverage has been underway online all week! I personally have brought a cot to the weather center just in case I don’t care to leave, but we have hotel rooms ready just up the street! I’ve been “pre-gaming” for this SuperBowl of Weather since late last week by making sure I take more supplements, stay hydrated and eat and sleep well. All staff are on deck and on board to cover this storm!

We hope viewers who lose power will continue to follow us with their mobile devices. We encourage them to keep their devices charged and have supplemental power for them. I know my own extended family in Pennsylvania has been watching our updates online on Facebook Mentions all week! We expect that through viewer pics and videos (as well as all the reporters we’ve mobilized) that we will be able to show what’s happening all across the region in real-time throughout the weekend.

If the storm deposits the kind of snow & wind that is predicted by our models, it will shut down the city into mid-week or beyond as it did in previous storms of this magnitude. We are relieved that it’s getting underway on a weekend and are encouraging everyone to be ready and hunkered down by noon on Friday. During big storms like this in our region, people get into trouble by trying to drive somewhere, or to shovel snow that’s too heavy for them. In the District, they are asking for volunteers to help shovel the elderly and infirmed.

Digital plays a huge role in all of this! I get a sense of what the viewers want to hear from me, and what their needs and fears are. I try very hard to respond personally or to at least incorporate the needed information into my social content. Last night when a coating of snow turned the commute into ice, it was our followers on social media who demonstrated first that it needed to be our lead story.

Paul McGonagle, Vice President and News director, WTTG

What will FOX 5 bring DC viewers they won’t see anywhere else?
FOX 5 is built on mobility. Our reporters and photographers won’t be tethered to a Satellite truck. We will be live where the story is and where it develops. No one is more interactive with their viewers than FOX 5 DC. Our trucks will be live with Mobil cameras as well, giving viewers a sense of what the conditions will be like on I-95, The Beltway, and side streets around DC, Virginia and Maryland. Viewers will be contributors as well, helping us tell the story with live skypes, and viewer video/pictures…

Is it ‘all hands on deck’ with people planning to sleep at the station?
It’s all hands on deck. We are working 12 on 12 off shifts. FOX 5 employees will be staying at nearby hotels.

How can viewers keep updated if their power goes out?
We will be streaming our continuing coverage of the Blizzard of 2016 24/7 on our FOX 5 DC Mobil APP. We will also be live on Facebook for the entire duration of the storm. Users will be able to interact with our reporters live in the field, meteorologists at FOX 5 by engaging in 2 way conversations

How is digital playing a role in preparing you and WTTG?
We have been hosting live Facebook Q and A’s where we answer individual questions about what will happen as the storm moves through their neighborhood this weekend. Every time a new model has come out, we have been live on Facebook explaining what it means. We have given viewers the chance to ask the meteorologists questions and allowed viewers to experience the storms as it has formed and developed. It’s unique to FOX 5 viewers and users. We also have been providing a clear timeline – giving viewers on all of our digital platforms specific examples of what they need to know in order to prepare for the storm and what they need to know during the storm. We are creating content that people can share with their family and friends to keep them safe.

How will the station keep its crews safe?
The safety of our crews is of the utmost importance and we have taken necessary steps to keep them as safe as possible as they cover this important event for our community

NBC-owned WRC:

What will WRC bring viewers they won’t see anywhere else?
NBC4 Washington / WRC reporters and crews will be spread out through the entire region and the station will broadcast throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday and provide viewers with expanded news and weather coverage. NBC4’s Storm Team 4×4, a vehicle that NBC4’s meteorologists use to track severe weather throughout the Washington metro area, will also be traveling through the Washington, D.C. metro area and will bring the latest road conditions. Additionally, NBC4 meteorologists will provide forecasts on the radio, every ten minutes, on WTOP, Washington’s all-news radio station.

Is it ‘all hands on deck’ with people planning to sleep at the station?
The station is ready to cover the severe weather storm that threatens to affect the region and the station has made the proper contingency plans to ensure the safety of its employees and ensure the station remains on the air, should the power go out.

How can viewers keep updated if their power goes out?
In addition to watching NBC4’s special storm coverage online at NBCWashington.com, viewers can also download NBC4’s free mobile app (here). The NBC4 app is free and available on iTunes and Google Play stores. NBC4’s app, which is powered by NBC4’s meteorologist, features a redesigned weather section and an improved weather radar and allows users to select the app’s weather section as their home screen. In addition to tracking storms, the app has a new severe weather notification system that includes personalized push alerts and in-app weather alerts for multiple locations, so viewers can stay ahead of weather events happening at their home, their workplace or their children’s school.

Any predictions for the market as far as the impact?
Feel free to check out this story Click Here, which includes NBC4’s Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer’s predictions for this winter. Also, NBC4’s new Consumer Investigative Reporter, Susan Hogan and Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss will help our communities and provide the information they need, should they be affected by power outages, transportation issues and other severe events caused by the storm.

NEW YORK
CBS-owned WCBS

WCBS and sister station WLNY will do live weather cut-ins during regularly scheduled programming, if necessary. In addition, both stations will provide comprehensive coverage during all of their regularly scheduled newscasts.

ABC-owned station WABC

WABC will bring viewers market-leading Eyewitness News coverage, and the market’s most-respected weather forecasting from AccuWeather

The news department and entire station are prepared to provide coverage on a continuous basis if necessary, but we usually use hotel rooms to sleep!

If power goes out, people can watch our programming by streaming us on charged cell phones or tablets

We do not anticipate any significant impact on the market.

Tribune-owned WPIX

Depending on the snow WPIX may have morning newscasts on Saturday and Sunday. The station will have constant updates blog/story/snow totals on the website and will have a strong social media presence on all platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat)

All the station’s coverage will also exist at PIX11.com/snow
To get the latest warnings: http://pix11.com/weather/warnings/
For live radar and maps: http://pix11.com/weather/maps-and-radar/
To get storm alerts in the PIX11 News App: PIX11.com/app

Will be using the hashtag #PIXSNOW to solicit viewer photos and videos. We will take full advantage of our live stream capabilities to share news conferences, remote shots and of course our live coverage on air.

Nick Gregory – chief meteorologist Fox-owned WNYW

What will WNYW bring New York viewers they won’t see anywhere else?
WNYW is the only television station in NYC with its own dual polarization Doppler radar, which is our Fox 5 Sky Guardian radar. By scanning not only horizontally but also vertically, it provides essentially a 3 dimensional scan to more accurately tell the difference between snow, sleet, and rain as it analyzes the size of the target. We are the only station that displays this in real time while other stations show images that can be more than 5 minutes old. This capability also allows us improve accuracy on where the heavier areas of precipitation may occur.

Is it ‘all hands on deck’ with people planning to sleep at the station?
In some storms we have gone with around the clock coverage. The game plan hasn’t been announced yet for this storm until we get a better handle on how badly we may be hit. Fortunately the station puts us up in a nearby hotel if needed.

How can viewers keep updated if their power goes out?
If their smart phone can still acquire a 3 or 4G signal, they can use the Fox 5 Weather App to keep up with storm information.

Any predictions for the market as far as the impact?
Well the good thing in relation to the market is this is happening mainly on a weekend, so I would think the impact would be minimal.

PHILADELPHIA

CBS-owned station KYW

KYW is bringing in meteorologist Kyla Grogan for extended coverage of the impending snow storm. Grogan recently covered meteorologist Katie Fehlinger‘s maternity leave. She used to work for The Weather Channel. She covered super storm Sandy and Atlanta’s debilitating snow storm winter 2014.

Fox-owned WTXF

Meteorologist Kathy Orr

What will FOX 29 bring Philadelphia viewers they won’t see anywhere else?
“The ‘Good Day Philadelphia’ team of Mike Jerrick, Alex Holley, Sue Serio, Bob Kelly, and Steve Keeley are joined by me, meteorologist Kathy Orr, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Our powerhouse weekday team joins ‘Good Day Philadelphia Weekend’ anchors Karen Hepp and Bill Anderson who will report from the field. Live coverage blanketing the entire region including the Jersey shore where there is potential for flooding. Our coverage on Fox 29 is only part of it. The entire Fox 29 News Department will blanket social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) with live updates constantly. Our multiplatform approach will give viewers a chance to watch us online, engage with us on social (and get instant reaction), and even be a part of the coverage by contributing their own reports for On Air and Social Media. Yes, our viewers will help us cover the storm.”

Is it ‘all hands on deck’ with people planning to sleep at the station?
“Yes, much of the weekday crew is coming in to work the entire weekend. Folks are working 12 hour shifts, with local hotel rooms being used from Friday night through Sunday. No sleeping at the station this time. Though I have before!”

How can viewers keep updated if their power goes out?
“Please keep those phones charged safely, and watch us online 24/7. You can also stay on top of our coverage constantly on social media with interactive reports on Facebook. If your power goes out, please use our website Fox29.com and our News and Weather Apps to keep you updated. We will broadcast live on all our online platforms and will be in constant contact with our viewers on all our Social Media pages.”

Any predictions for the market as far as the impact?
As of late Thursday afternoon, this is what it looks like: Snow begins Friday from South to North, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The heaviest storms will be overnight into Saturday. Lehigh Valley will get 6-12 inches. I-95 and the Northwest Suburbs in PA, South New Jersey and Northern Delaware 12-18 inches. We are currently in a Blizzard Watch. We expect visibility to be reduced to ¼ mile or less on Saturday. Stay safe all.

From NBC-owned WCAU-WWSI:

What will WCAU and WWSI bring viewers they won’t see anywhere else?
NBC10 Philadelphia / WCAU and Telemundo62 / WWSI are the only stations that will provide comprehensive and continuous storm coverage to our English and Spanish-speaking audiences all across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. We have also dedicated resources for the stations to cover expected flooding and damage along the Jersey Shore and we will provide county-by-county conditions to our viewers all throughout the storm. We’ve also deployed StormForce10 and NewsForce10, two specialty equipment vehicles that will take viewers into the heart of the storm. Spanish-speaking communities in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Southern New Jersey and Delaware will receive local neighborhood weather forecasts from Telemundo62, which has the market’s only Spanish-speaking Weather Anchor.

Is it ‘all hands on deck’ with people planning to sleep at the station?
Weather is what we do. We’ve been tracking the storm and preparing for its potential impact on our area and have deployed our teams to ensure our communities are receiving the local reports they need and want. We are as concerned about our viewers as much as we are about our teams in the field. We have detailed plans to keep our teams safe and warm all throughout the storm and have provided them extra clothing and hand warmers, for example. We will be aggressive about serving our communities with the information they need while keeping the safety of our employees a number one priority.

How can viewers stay updated if the power goes out?
Viewers can watch all of our newscasts and weather updates LIVE from their mobile devices and through our digital platforms. We encourage our viewers to download our free NBC10 and Telemundo62 apps (here and here) so they can use our live weather radars, get snow totals and receive other storm-related information. NBC10 and Telemundo62 have also teamed up with Comcast, our parent company for “Plug-in, Power-up” – a free community service that allows viewers to stop by participating Comcast Xfinity stores to charge their mobile devices for free. Viewers can log onto NBC10.com and Telemundo62.com to find their nearest “Plug-In, Power-Up” stations. On social, NBC10’s First Alert weather updates can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #nbc10snow. Spanish-speaking viewers can also follow Telemundo62’s weather updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #T62Nieve and #T62equipo.

Our radio partners, BENFM and MOREFM, will also provide listeners with our weather updates. And as the official weather partner for Philly.com, viewers will be able to check out our weather forecasts on Philly.com’s website here.

Any predictions for the market as far as the impact?
This storm has the potential to rank as one of the top five worst storms in Philadelphia’s history. The amount of snow our viewers will see may vary dramatically and depending on where they live. Both of our stations will continue to provide updates on the storm’s impact as it develops. Count on it.

WSB in Atlanta has a 15 box ready to go.

Send us your storm related videos, social media interactions and updates when you have them: tvspy@adweek.com

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