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Tracking Hurricane Sandy; Kaity Tong, David Ushery Shine

Forced to evacuated, I had plenty of time to monitor television coverage of Hurricane Sandy.

You probably woke up this morning to stations locked in ”wall-to-wall” mode, but that was not the case last night. Unlike last year’s Hurricane Irene (when I was holed up in a hotel), Sandy did not lead to an all-nighter by the area stations.

Here is how they took to the air this time.

Kaity Tong was a calming presence, anchoring a two-hour edition of the News at Ten on WPIX.  As was the case with Irene, WPIX’s coverage did not include Jodi Applegate.

Tong, as a solo anchor, was given an assist by reporter Dan Mannarino, who handled some phone interviews and other information for viewers. WPIX double-teamed the audience with veteran experience from Mr. G and Craig Allen.  WPIX was the only game in town until 11 p.m., as WNYW/Channel 5 was televising the final game of the World Series.

While the storm moved closer to New York, the other channels opted for prime-time network scheduling. At 11 p.m., WCBS/Channel 2 anchors Maurice DuBois and Kristine Johnson, first appearing at halftime of the New York Jets game, led the station’s one-hour special Sandy newscast. Thereafter, WCBS kept a crawl on the screen until the morning team resumed coverage at 4 a.m.

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WCBS Brings in “A” Team for Hurricane Sandy Coverage

Hurricane Sandy is churning in the Atlantic, and approaching New York. Preparations for the serious storm have caused the area TV stations to cover the impending destruction.

Most of the city stations took Mayor Bloomberg’s briefings live and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s comments. WCBS/Channel 2 left wall-to-wall mode at 1 p.m. to join the New York Jets game. However, sister station WLNY TV 10/55, anchored by Cindy Hsu, broke into the Munsters Marathon for the latest Christie press conference.

Channel 2, though, was first to bring in the main team. At halftime of the Jets game, viewers got another sense of the severity as Maurice DuBois and Kristine Johnson assumed the coverage with Lonnie Quinn tracking the potentially deadly storm.

“I’ll be with you all night, guys,” Quinn said.

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New York Reporters Hunker Down in New Orleans for Hurricane Isaac

Seven years ago today, after nearly being swallowed up by Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans area is being assaulted by Hurricane Isaac and New York reporters are on the scene.

WNBC/Channel 4 anchor Tom Llamas reported live from New Orleans during last night’s 11 p.m. newscast with Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell as the storm was about to make landfall.

WABC/Channel 7 had the only other local presence in the Big Easy. Reporter Jim Dolan also handled the impending fury at 11 p.m. with David Navarro (in for Bill Ritter at the Republican National Convention) and Sade Baderinwa at the anchor desk.

At WCBS/Channel 2, Drew Levinson reported live with Maurice DuBois and Kristine Johnson. Levinson, though, is a national correspondent for CBS Newspath, an affiliate news service.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene hitting our area.

Weekend Weathercaster Domenica Davis Out at WNBC; Steve Villaneuva Bolts WPIX to Fill Slot

Domenica Davis is being replaced at WNBC. FishbowlNY has learned that the weekend weather anchor has been bounced in favor of WPIX morning traffic reporter, Steve Villaneuva.

It’s a return to meteorology for the easy-going Villaneuva, who joined WPIX in January. Viewers will recall his work at WWOR/Channel 9 as meteorologist and sister station WNYW/Channel 5 from 2002 to 2006. He’s a New York native, having grown up in Flushing and was educated at Holy Cross High School and New York University.

We’re told that Villaneuva leaves his PIX full-time gig for a steady gig at 30 Rock. Along with the weekend work, Villaneuva will produce for main meteorologist Janice Huff. A WPIX spokesperson confirms the move to WNBC. His last day at Channel 11 is expected to be September 7.

As for Davis, the meteorologist arrived at WNBC in the summer of 2010. Before that, she was a forecaster on Fox News Channel starting in 2007.

A WNBC spokesperson did not comment.

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WCBS Weather Anchor John Elliott Takes Seat on The Talk

Channel 2 weathercaster John Elliott is visiting Los Angeles for today’s edition of The Talk.

The show, co-hosted by Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, and Aisha Tyler, is assembling some of the best CBS-owned news and weather anchors from around the country. The talent will join the roundtable as guest hosts in place of vacationing Julie Chen each day this week.

For Elliott, it’s a homecoming of sorts. Before joining WCBS, Elliott had two-year stint as the KCBS morning weather forecaster.

The Talk appearance also gives Elliott a chance to get his banter going in preparation for his work on WLNY’s new morning program, starting early next month.

The two-hour Live from the Couch is expected to give viewers a focus on entertainment and lifestyle stories.

The Talk airs from 2 to 3 p.m. every weekday on WCBS.

WCBS Takes Mobile Unit to Next Level with Weather Lab

WCBS/Channel 2 has enhanced storm coverage with Mobile 2, the state-of-the-art vehicle that allows live video throughout the streets of the tri-state. WCBS began adding Mobile 2 to its fleet in the winter of 2010. But the van is a regular contributor to the station’s newscasts, to get the story perspective directly from the road.

Channel 2 is, once again, at the forefront of technology. It’s rolling out the Mobile Weather Lab, a weather center on wheels. It made its debut Thursday as weathercaster Lonnie Quinn reported live from the Bronx High School of Science.

The Weather Lab, housed in a Chevy Suburban, begins the Mobile 2 technology, which makes it possible to broadcast live in HD quality while the van is in motion. But this sports utility vehicle is much more. It includes high definition satellite capability and an on-board weather station that measures temperature, wind speed and direction, dew point readings, and humidity wherever the vehicle is.

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Longtime AccuWeather/WINS Weather Forecaster Jim Kosek Heads to Salt Lake City

Regular listeners to 1010 WINS know meteorologist Jim Kosek. For more than 15 years, Kosek has been one of the weekday forecasters on WINS. His reports originated at AccuWeather in State College, Pennsylvania. As is the case at Total Traffic (formerly Shadow Traffic), meteorologists have several stations to file reports for during a shift.

Heard mostly on afternoons and evenings, Kosek’s over-the-top personality is a stark opposite to the usual all-news fare heard on WINS. Kosek has gained a cult following of sorts online for his one-part wild delivery, one-part accurate forecasting. 

After more than 20 years at AccuWeather, Kosek left snowy Western PA for snowy Utah. He’s been named the chief meteorologist at the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, where he started last week. After so many years at one shop, Kosek says it was time to branch out.

“You’re spread so thin at AccuWeather,” Kosek tells FishbowlNY.

He maintained a presence on a handful of radio stations, but would monitor for severe weather and in turn additional reports. Kosek kept busy with plenty of on-camera prognosticating for the AccuWeather website. He did specialty forecasts for up to 20 cities.

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Meteorologist Nick Gregory ‘Fortunate’ to Celebrate 25 Years at WNYW

The Reagan Revolution still had two more years, Platoon was Oscar’s choice for Best Picture, and the New York Mets staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in World Series history.

Also in 1986, meteorologist Nick Gregory arrived at WNYW/Channel 5.

“It was so exciting for me because I grew up in [New Rochelle] New York,” Gregory tells FishbowlNY. “From childhood really, and into my teens, I was also thinking that maybe one day I could do this.”

On December 26, Gregory commemorates his 25th anniversary at the station. A quarter-century earlier, it began with the answer to the trivia question—who were the anchors on his first night?  Barbara Laskin and Steve Powers.

“I just had this rush of excitement and adrenaline and saying, ‘I’m actually back home in New York, on New York television, living the dream,” Gregory recalls.

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WCBS 880 Anchor Wayne Cabot Among Those Without Power From Freak October Snowstorm

Wayne Cabot sporting "protest" beard/Courtesy Wayne Cabot Facebook page

Call it “Close Encounters of the Scruffy Kind!”

The rare October snowstorm that blanketed many neighborhoods north and west of New York City has still left many homes and businesses without power.

One of those people with no electricity since the Nor’easter hit last Saturday is longtime WCBS 880 afternoon anchor Wayne Cabot.

Before too long, the lifelong Hunterdon County resident decided to hold a whimsical “beard protest” as a way of drawing attention to his plight.

“As the days went on, I kept seeing my beard get longer,” Cabot tells FishbowlNY. “After five, six days, I was like, ‘The heck with this, I might as well keep this beard going until the power comes back on.’”

As of this writing, it is day seven and still no electricity at the Cabot household.

“My whole street is out,” Cabot says. “Our town is slowly coming back.”

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October Storm Viewed as ‘Once-In-A-Lifetime Event’ By WABC Meteorologist Bill Evans

Dealing with snowstorms is nothing new to New Yorkers. Those weather systems can be destructive and deadly. But until now, they were never in October. Saturday’s storm produced record-setting numbers that WABC/Channel 7 morning meteorologist Bill Evans finds mind-boggling.

“It was very historical for everyone really,” Evans tells FishbowlNY.

The path of the Nor’ easter blanketed north and west of New York City with upwards of a foot of snow. Central Park eclipsed its previous all-time October high of eight-tenths of an inch with 2.9 inches of snow.

“That’s a tremendous amount of snow when you consider that usually mid-December is when we should start with accumulating snows,” Evans says. “We just don’t see that. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

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