Gremlins Plague WLS Broadcast Again

By Kevin Eck 

With the Chicago teacher’s strike at the forefront of local news, technical glitches hampered WLS‘ newscast for the second time in weeks, reports Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.

As local stations competed Sunday night with live coverage of press conferences at the outset of the Chicago teachers strike, ABC 7 was hampered by severe signal problems.

The glitches even prompted weekend anchor Ravi Baichwal to tweet out an apology to viewers:




Feder reported the ABC O&O’s worst transmission breakup happened during Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s briefing a few blocks from WLS studios.

A few weeks ago Time Out Chicago reported the station’s Tuesday night 10 p.m. broadcast was bedeviled by technical difficulties blamed on new automation software to write and produce the newscast.  Feder wrote at the time:

Calling it “a perfect storm,” news anchor Ron Magers likened the meltdown to the climax of 2001: A Space Odyssey, joking: “I believe the proper explanation would be that we asked HAL to open the pod bay doors and HAL said, ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that.’

This time the station told Feder the snafu was blamed on too many stations in one location using the same new technology to send a video signal.

“Last night with everyone using the bandwidth at the same time from the same location, the quality of the signal was affected for some of the stations.”

TVSpy attempted to contact both the news director and director of engineering at WLS, but we have not heard back.  We will update as soon as we hear anything.

>Update: Kal Hassan, WLS vice president and director of engineering assured TVSpy the glitches were normal for the circumstances, saying in part, “There is no systemic problem at abc7”  He went on to say, “At abc7 we deploy the latest technology for news gathering and usually kick ass! We were the first to go HD. First with a HD copter. First with a HD set and we deploy 10 satellite/microwave trucks. We have not cut any corners!”