New York Stations Go Live for Shuttle Landing

By Andrew Gauthier 

As a jet carrying the space shuttle Enterprise touched down today at JFK airport around 11:21 a.m. ET, every major news station in New York was carrying live coverage of its arrival.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., WABC, WCBS, WNBC, and WNYW cut into their regularly scheduled programming to bring live coverage of the shuttle’s entry into New York City. On a windy day in which news helicopters were grounded, there was a noticeable split in how the stations covered the event: WABC and WCBS had multiple reporters in the field and the stations highlighted their team coverage, while WNBC and WNYW relied more heavily on the personalities in their respective studios.


WABC’s coverage was anchored by Lori Stokes and Ken Rosato, the station’s morning duo, along with meteorologist Bill Evans.  WABC had N.J. Burkett and meteorologist Amy Freeze stationed along the Manhattan riverside, while Anthony Johnson reported from the airport. At one point, Johnson interviewed New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who recounted the political fight involved with bringing the shuttle to the city.

WCBS had a similar setup, with morning anchors Mary Calvi and Rob Morrison carrying the broadcast from the studio and regularly checking in with meteorologist John Elliot, who was reporting from the west side of Manhattan, and Chris Wragge, who was positioned in front of the runway at JFK. Bill Horowitz, senior space consultant for CBS News, joined Calvi and Morrison in studio to provide expert analysis.

On WNYW, morning anchors Greg Kelly and Rosanna Kelly bantered their way through the broadcast from the station’s studio. After the shuttle had landed, the two took to WNYW’s Facebook page to look at photos of the flight that viewers had uploaded. The shot of Facebook that WNYW aired included the computer’s entire web browser, which had tabs open for a handful of YouTube videos, including a clip from the original Star Trek series.

WNBC anchors Shiba Russell and Tom Llamas, who appear together on the station’s recently launched 5 p.m. newscast, helmed the station’s shuttle coverage from 30 Rock. The pair briefly checked in with reporter Lori Bordonaro in the field, preferring to rely more on the in-studio analysis of NBC News chief science correspondent Robert Bazell.

As the plane touched down at JFK, WNBC was stuck in a super wide shot of the runway, missing out on some of the drama incited by its market rivals, who aired a closer view of the plane’s wheels touching the runway.

The NBC flagship made up for its lack of a money shot, though, by providing more live coverage of the event than its rivals. WABC, WCBS, and WNYW all cut back to regularly scheduled shortly after 11:30, while WNBC stuck with the event through to its noon newscast.