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9/11: New York Remembers

Remembering Victims of 9/11, 11 Years Later

We mark time as another year has elapsed since the 9/11 attacks. The 11th anniversary features the now-traditional, if not emotional, “reading of the names” of victim’s families at the World Trade Center. This is only the second time since 2001 that September 11 falls on a Tuesday.

If last year’s 10th anniversary was more solemn, today’s remembrance is more subdued. No public officials are participating. But, the TV stations are resuming coverage.

On Cable, NY1 and Verizon Fios 1 are going wall-to-wall. The other local channels provided the same feed–Channel 2/WCBS, Channel 4/WNBC, Channel 5/WNYW, Channel 7/WABC, Channel 9/WWOR, TV10 55/WLNY, and Channel 11/WPIX.

FishbowlNY is reposting links to our special 9/11 series that was published last year.

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9/11: New York Remembers Revisited

In case you missed any of our special feature 9/11: New York Remembers, today we’re observing the 10th anniversary of the tragic day linking back to the entire series.

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Stuck in Europe Following Honeymoon, WCBS Anchor Maurice DuBois Was ‘Desperate for any Shred of Information’ During 9/11

For several days, we’ve been offering you some insight as to how some well-known reporters and anchors covered the horrific day 10 years ago when our city, world, and life would change forever.

We conclude our special coverage–9/11: New York Remembers.

For WCBS-TV main anchor Maurice DuBois it was, perhaps, even more difficult. DuBois, at the time, a co-anchor on WNBC’s Today in New York, was returning from his honeymoon in Southern France on September 11.

“Not quite halfway through the flight the pilot gets on the public address and says, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is an unusual situation, but we’ve been advised that U.S. airspace is closed and we are returning to Paris.’”

DuBois recalls passengers letting out a gasp on the plane as they remained in the dark about the details stateside.

An hour after, as they were turned back for France, DuBois tells FishbowlNY, the pilot gave one final much grimmer update, telling passengers that there were “massive explosions in Lower Manhattan.”

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Longtime WCBS/Channel 2 Anchor Rolland Smith Covering 9/11 on WWOR ‘Most Profound’ Story of His Career

If you grew up in the 1970s in New York, Rolland Smith needs no introduction. After all, he was co-anchor of Channel 2 News for 16 years. But for the next generation, he co-anchored with Brenda Blackmon at WWOR/Channel 9.

That’s where you would find Smith on the horrific morning ten years ago.

Our special series 9/11: New York Remembers looks at how the veteran, Smith, covered the horrible events.

At that time, Smith and his wife rented a house in West New York, New Jersey. The evening anchor saw a problem across the Hudson River.

“I was standing on the balcony talking to her… and I watched the first [plane] go into the World Trade Center,” Smith tells FishbowlNY.

Smith was anticipating the severity, even before the second plane confirmed suspicions. 

“If this is what I think it is, I won’t be home for quite a while,” Smith alerted his wife.

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Former WNYW Anchor Jim Ryan Felt ‘Sick Feeling’ Covering Events of 9/11

Just as Mayor Giuliani provided a calming influence during the unthinkable events of 9/11, then-WNYW/Channel 5 Good Day New York anchor Jim Ryan had his patented easy-going demeanor to serve him well.

9/11: New York Remembers features interviews with several key members of WNYW’s frantic coverage. 

Good Day was in a commercial when the first plane slammed into the north tower at 8:46 a.m.

But by 8:48, WNYW cut away from a trailer for the movie Zoolander and went directly to political reporter Dick Oliver outside City Hall (watch the clip below). His location just blocks from the World Trade Center alerted viewers to the breaking news first, complete with an initial look at the smoldering north tower. 

“Come back to me, come back to me!” Ryan recalls Oliver saying off-air. “A plane just hit the World Trade Center!”

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Covering 9/11 ‘Heart Wrenching’ and a ‘Nightmare,’ for WPIX Morning Anchor Sukanya Krishnan

Sukayna Krishnan, who grew up on Staten Island, joined WPIX as morning anchor just a month before the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Today’s installment of 9/11: New York Remembers, Krishnan examines the trying situation she faced with lack of experience.  

Krishnan was only new to the station, not the market—having spent four years at WCBS/Channel 2.

On this particular late summer day, Krishnan, who had been working as a street reporter, got the fill-in assignment at the anchor desk, alongside veteran (former WNYW anchor) Lynne White.

“It was unbelievable,” Krishnan tells FishbowlNY. “It was just incredible what we were watching.”

Unlike today’s PIX Morning Show, on September 11, 2001, their broadcast was done by 8 a.m. So while every other morning program covered the first plane crash into the twin towers as part of the morning news show, Krishnan and White broke into regular programming.

After seeing the first images of a “small plane” becoming a flame thrower to the north tower, Krishnan’s mind immediately went to thoughts of a denoted truck bomb under the towers, eight years earlier.

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Recently Retired WABC/Channel 7 Sportscaster Scott Clark ‘Felt Very Strongly’ About Wearing Officers’ Badges After 9/11

Scott Clark was the longtime sports anchor at WABC/Channel 7 until leaving the station in January.

He’s covered many Yankee championship runs, Giants Super Bowl wins, and the Rangers elusive Stanley Cup victory during his 25 years at the station. 

Today in our special series—9/11: New York Remembers— Clark recalls those first hours and days following the destruction. He also talks about the aftermath and how he became symbol of hope.

But even though he wasn’t on the air during 9/11, it’s the horrific event that was first to cross the former sportscaster’s mind as a standout memory.

“Like every other New Yorker, that’s atop the list,” Clark tells FishbowlNY.

Clark was in Denver as the Giants opened the 2001 NFL season for the Monday nighter at the Broncos brand new stadium. The Giants were defending NFC Champs.

“I was at the airport when I saw the second plane hit the building as I was headed to my gate,” Clark recalls. “I just turned around; I didn’t even go to the gate.”

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Iconic WXTV/Channel 41 Anchor Rafael Pineda Says 9/11 Made ‘Impact on Me’

For more than 40 years, Rafael Pineda has been the popular evening anchor on Univision’s Channel 41/WXTV.

Pineda (pronounced Pin-yay-da) says he started at Spanish station WXTV in 1968, the year that the station signed on. He is the longest tenured anchor in New York City history (Chuck Scarborough is second, with WNBC since 1974). 

Just like his fellow evening cohorts at other stations (discussed in our opening installment), Pineda woke up to the dramatic first reports of a crisis at the World Trade Center.

“I was still asleep, but my wife was [up early] to take the kids to school,” Pineda says. “She was watching TV and all of a sudden she woke me up and said, ‘The plane crashed into one of the [twin] towers.’”

Pineda leapt out of bed and watched the news coverage, as the north tower smoldered.

The legendary TV news personality was in the majority believing that it was a freak accident. That is until 9:03 a.m.

“All of a sudden I witness when the second plane hit the other tower,” Pineda says. “I said to myself, ‘This is not a coincidence, we are under attack.’”

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Covering 9/11 for WBBR Was ‘Very Hard’ for Legendary Radio Anchor Mitch Lebe

Mitch Lebe is a veteran newsman with more than 50 years in New York radio.

He worked more than a decade at WYNY and sister station WNBC, followed by WCBS-AM throughout the 1990s.

In the new millennium, Lebe was prominently heard on Bloomberg Radio/WBBR.

On September 11, 2001, he was co-anchor of the afternoon shift.

Lebe spoke with FishbowlNY for our special series–9/11: New York Remembers.

“It was a day that we were starting a new jingle package,” Lebe says.

So that morning, Lebe, wanting to hear what to expect later, tuned to Bloomberg’s website for the streaming audio and the 9 a.m. jingles.

While waiting, he heard a traffic report at 8:55 a.m.

“I hear the helicopter [reporter] say, ‘There are flames coming out of the World Trade Center. We don’t know for sure, but we think a plane hit the building.’”

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Former Bloomberg Radio Morning Anchors Ben Farnsworth and Peter Schacknow Knew Something Was ‘Very, Very Wrong’ as They Covered 9/11

During an 11-year span in the 1970s and 1980s, Ben Farnsworth (left) was known to millions as the afternoon co-anchor at WCBS NewsRadio 88.

But it was at Bloomberg Radio/WBBR where Farnsworth informed listeners about the tragedy of 9/11.

FishbowlNY continues our exploration of the tenth anniversary with 9/11: New York Remembers.

“It was just amazing,” Farnsworth says. “It just kind of came out of the blue.”

The day was even more bittersweet for the veteran Farnsworth.

“The irony is that 9/11 is my birthday,” Farnsworth tells FishbowlNY.  “It certainly affects my life every year on my birthday.”

Farnsworth did morning drive with Peter Schacknow from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. The team was only in its second week together when the attacks shocked the city.

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