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Atlanta

Atlanta Stations Ready for Ice Storm with Mix of Old and New Technology

ATL_WX_7Am

The story coming out of Atlanta after the snowstorm two weeks ago was all about the influx of people onto local roads trying to get home at the same time.

With an ice storm forecast for this week and Governor Nathan Deal declaring a state of emergency for more than 40 Georgia counties in anticipation of the storm, all the Atlanta stations TVSpy spoke with said the same thing: this storm is all about power. Predictions call for ice and wind to bring down power lines and cause major power outages.

Cox owned ABC affiliate WSB, FOX owned station WAGA and Meredith’s CBS affiliate WGCL told us they were in “all-hands on-deck mode” with crews spread out across the Atlanta metro area and staffers working 12-hour shifts to cover the event with wall-to-wall coverage. But what good is all that coverage if no one can see it?

As WSB news director Mike Dreaden told us, Atlanta viewers need to make sure the batteries in their laptops, mobile devices and radios are ready to go. Like WSB, all the stations we spoke to plan on relying on their radio partners and their live streaming ability to keep viewers up-to-date in case the power goes out.

WGCL VP and GM Trey Fabacher said his station is going old school and partnering with talk radio station WGST. The AM radio station has plans to simulcast the CBS affiliate’s continuing breaking news coverage. Read more

Former Atlanta Anchor Found Not Guilty of DUI

amanda davis wagaFormer WAGA anchor Amanda Davis has been found not guilty of two of three charges against her after a wrong way crash.

Davis was arrested in November 2012 and charged with DUI, failure to maintain a lane and reckless driving after driving northbound in a southbound lane of an Atlanta street.

According to Atlanta ABC station WSB, Davis was found not-guilty of DUI and reckless driving. She was sentenced to 20 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $200 fine after being found guilty of not maintaining her lane. “Davis told the judge she would have no problem with community service because she already does it.”

Davis retired from the Atlanta FOX owned station in April.

WSB News Director on Infamous 25-Box: ‘This Whole Thing is Kind of Funny’

WSB 24 boxTVNewsCheck talks to WSB news director Mike Dreaden about the Atlanta ABC affiliate’s infamous 25-box. Dreaden said he was surprised at the attention it got: “This whole thing is kind of funny,” he said.

For Dreaden, however, the attention given to graphic has been misplaced. The truly noteworthy thing about the news box is that it graphically demonstrated the ABC affiliate’s technical and logistical prowess, he says. “I was proud of it because it showed the scope of our coverage.”

The WSB graphic, which first appeared on the station’s 4 p.m. newscast Jan. 29, was actually produced before the show. “Not everyone was actually live at the moment we went to air with the news box,” Dreaden says. “We do not have the ability to do 25 live shots simultaneously.”

But the station had 25 reporters in the field ready to go live at any moment, Dreaden says. WSB used the news box to establish its presence in the field then switched to graphics with bullet points and text highlighting closings and other important storm news before anchors starting throwing the coverage to any one of the 25 reporters for a live update.

Brenda Wood’s Commentary on Coke Ad Sparks Debate

wxia america the beautiful

WXIA anchor Brenda Wood‘s commentary about the Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad has sparked controversy in the company’s hometown and beyond. On Monday, the Atlanta anchor discussed the commercial as part of her regular “Last Word” segment, calling the outrage over the ad — which features  “America the Beautiful” sung in seven different languages  — “outrageous itself.”

“The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn’t say ‘Give me your English-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses.’ It says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, Tempest-tossed,’” Wood said. “…What makes America different than everyone else is that we are a melting pot. We are not homogenous. It is our diversity that built this country. How dare there be indignation over the very thing that makes us great? And why not honor the beauty of that in song?”

The video of Wood’s commentary has been viewed more than 200,000 times and has elicited a strong response from viewers, with thousands of people posting opinions on WXIA’s Facebook page. Wood has been both praised for “speaking the truth” and panned as “another liberal, sensational journalist.” Several commenters have suggested newscasters “should report the NEWS and keep their opinions to themselves.” Read more

From a 14-Box to a 25-Box

With Atlanta still in crisis mode after yesterday’s winter storm, ABC affiliate WSB has added even more reporters to its coverage. At the top of the 4 p.m. newscast today, WSB debuted a 25-box. Most impressively, the station was able to get all 25 reporters on the screen at once:

WSB 24 box

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 11 reporters more than WSB had yesterday and 15 more than CNBC’s infamous ‘decabox.’

Atlanta Stations Balance State of the Union and Weather Coverage

Atlanta stations balanced two major stories — the President’s fifth State of the Union address and a winter storm blanketing the Deep South — during primetime Tuesday night.

CBS affiliate WGCL stayed in local coverage until immediately before the President was announced, opting out of Scott Pelley‘s national broadcast until 9:14 p.m. The station kept up a lower-third with school closings and other weather-related information during the speech. Scott Light and Stephany Fisher took over with storm coverage at the conclusion of the CBS special report around 10:45 p.m.

NBC affiliate WXIA took Brian Williams‘ national coverage on its main channel beginning at 9pmET. The station kept up a banner informing viewers that storm coverage continued on its subchannel. WXIA went back to local coverage at 10:50 p.m., with Brenda Wood and Jeff Hullinger anchoring.

Fox owned WAGA broadcast Shepard Smith‘s report beginning at 9pmET. Cynne Simpson and Russ Spencer took over with local coverage at the conclusion of Smith’s national broadcast at 10:44 p.m.

ABC affiliate WSB also took ABC’s national coverage with Diane Sawyer and and George Stephanopoulos beginning at 9pmET. Justin Farmer and Jovita Moore took over at 10:42 p.m., immediately after the conclusion of the GOP response.

Atlanta Station Finds 14 Ways to Talk About Snow

Viewers of Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB can’t say the station wasn’t ready for the snow fall in the South.

WSB told viewers at the top of its 5:00 p.m. news they were covering the storm with “Our reporters in place well ahead of the storm.”

The above tweet from media blogger Matthew Keys shows 14 reporters standing by to hit the story from at least 14 angles.

Mike Francis Out at Atlanta NBC Affiliate

francis_wxiaMike Francis, chief meteorologist for Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA, is no longer with the station.

When viewers asked about Francis on the station facebook page, WXIA responded to more than one posting, “Thanks for writing. Mike Francis is no longer at 11Alive. Veteran meteorologist Chris Holcomb 11Alive will be taking over the weeknight weather duties. We’re currently doing a nationwide search for a world class meteorologist to join Chris, Chesley McNeil 11Alive and Allison Chinchar 11Alive to ensure you’ll always have the weather information you need to keep you informed and safe.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution media reporter Rodney Ho, who first reported the news said, “When I reached him by phone today, Francis said, “Everything is fine. My wife is calling me. I need to call you back.” (He didn’t call me back.)”

Francis has worked at WXIA since July 2011. Before coming to Atlanta, Francis worked at KARK in Little Rock, AR. He has also worked at KSWO in Lawton, OK.

WAGA Executive Producer Saves Family From Burning Home

houseonfire_WagaAmy Oates, executive producer for Atlanta FOX owned station WAGA, has quite the morning commute tale to tell.

She said she was on her way to work at 5:00 a.m. when, “I noticed the back of this house was on fire and I had to react.”

“I stopped, called 911, then thought I have to go get this family out,” said Oates. She said another driver soon stopped to help out and the two ran towards the burning house.

She told WAGA, “Both of us started banging on the doors and windows, it felt like it took forever.” She said a man answered the door and the family of three, along with Oates and the driver who stopped to help, rushed to safety.

“We could hear constant explosions as we ran from the home,” said Oates, who said she offered her car as shelter for the family until emergency crews arrived.

WAGA said fire officials haven’t commented on the cause of the fire. Oates said she thought the home was a “total loss.”

Atlanta Man Makes Grand Entrance into WAGA Live Shot

The internet is talking about what happened during a live report on Atlanta FOX owned station WAGA‘s Noon news yesterday.

WAGA employees will be relieved to know no one did anything wrong, unless being fabulous is a crime.

A Reddit user noticed that at the tail end of a live report about a convenience store that was hit by a smash and grab robbery, a man stood in the doorway behind reporter Aungelique Proctor and waited until he knew he was on live before making his big entrance. Check out the video at around 2:09.

Click here to see the .gif.

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