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Meteorologist Ethan Huston Joins WGAL

Ethan HustonMeteorologist Ethan Huston has joined WGAL, the NBC affiliate in Lancaster, Pa. It is a move within Hearst for Huston, who previously worked at WAPT in Jackson, Miss.

“Ethan brings a great deal of experience to the News 8 Storm Team, and we are thrilled to have him as a contributor to our around-the-clock weather  coverage,” WGAL news director Dan O’Donnell said in a statement. “His addition solidifies the team of meteorologists dedicated to providing forecasts aimed at keeping our viewers across the Susquehanna Valley informed of weather conditions that affect them.”

Huston will appear on the noon newscast Monday through Wednesday and the weekend evening newscasts.

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WHTM Removes Posts Skewering Weather Critics, Apologizes On-Air

thackara_apologyWHTM, the Harrisburg ABC affiliate that recently ran a couple of segments skewering citizen meteorologists and social media weather critics has decided it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

This morning, meteorologist Brett Thackara apologized. He said some viewers told him he came off as arrogant and a bully by airing his “Social Mediarologists” segments where he made fun of viewers who criticized his forecasting. Thackara told viewers, “I just wanted to take this time to say ‘I apologize for those comments.’”

The segments were also pulled off the station’s facebook page. A WHTM spokesperson told TVSpy, “Our station exists to serve our viewers and our news team goes above and beyond the call of duty every day fulfilling that obligation. So when a handful of viewers took offense to a recent post, we decided to just “Let it Go.” Read more

Harrisburg Meteorologist Slams Social Media Weather Doubters

brett thackaraWHTM‘s Brett Thackara sounds like a man who has had enough of forecast doubters and do-it-yourself meteorologists on social media.

The meteorologist for the Harrisburg, PA, ABC affiliate introduced a new segment to his show called “Social Mediarologists.” There are two parts. The station took the facebook posts down since we originally posted this story.

One example? In part one, Thackara skewered a commenter named Jeremy who wrote, “Why do you people always have these predictions so low??” Thackara responded, “If by ‘you people’ you mean us meteorologists, it’s because we have degrees and went to school for four years and paid a lot of money to understand how the atmosphere works.”

Read more

After Roof Collapse, WGAL Creates Makeshift Newsroom

wgal_roof collapseIn the aftermath of the roof collapse at WGAL last week, employees at the NBC affiliate were forced to come up with creative ways to keep the station on the air. Poynter has a fascinating look at how WGAL stayed up and running after the incident. “What we did was employ our breaking news plan,” news director Dan O’Donnell said:

O’Donnell was standing on the snow-covered station lawn when he said something out loud about needing to move the newsroom somewhere else quickly. An assistant fire chief heard him and suggested the station try the nearby city government building. Within an hour, newscast producers moved tables in the government office building to construct a make-shift newsroom. But there was still a big problem. No matter what, there still was no way to broadcast the news. “We used our website and Facebook to report,” O’Donnell said.

Once the newsroom was running, the WGAL team started producing streaming content for their website. But it took a lot of innovation. Reporters wanted to file stories, but there was no way to play the stories on the web stream. So they held up their iPads with whatever video they had captured and narrated and showed it on the tablet screen. A photojournalist focused on a screen while a meteorologist narrated information from the radar track.

Then there was the issue of the Olympics.  Read more

Roof Collapse Forces Building Evacuation at WGAL

wgal_roof collapseLancaster, PA, NBC affiliate WGAL has just reported a portion of the Lancaster studio roof collapsed this afternoon.

The station said the collapse forced the evacuation of the building.

>UPDATE:

Around 3:20 p.m. employees in the newsroom heard what was described as a “thunderous boom.” A portion of the roof in an adjacent studio that is no longer in use had collapsed.

Staff called the fire department who responded and inspected the damage. Around 4 p.m., fire officials ordered about 100 people to evacuate.

Further inspection revealed that a concrete support beam and slab had shifted and dropped. As a result the entire roof of the building had been compromised.

WGAL also said the 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00 p.m. news will still air and crews are setting up a makeshift set in front of the building.

Justin Betti Joins WGAL From WJRT

Justin BettiJustin Betti has joined WGAL, the NBC affiliate in Lancaster, Pa., as a sports anchor and reporter. Betti, a Pennsylvania native, will anchor weekend sportscasts and report during the week.

“Justin’s diverse experience makes him a great fit for this position that requires both sports and news reporting skills. In his first week at WGAL he’s already made contributions to our broadcasts by reporting on the winter snowstorms as well as his anchoring of our weekend evening sportscasts at 6PM, 10PM and 11PM,” WGAL general manager John Humphries said in a statement.

Betti comes to Lancaster from Flint, Mich., where he was a sports and news reporter at ABC affiliate WJRT.

WHTM Promotes Executive Producer to Assistant News Director

whtm_logoWHTM has announced executive producer Laura Schmidt has been promoted to assistant news director.

Schmidt started at the Harrisburg, PA, ABC station as a weekend producer in 2005. She moved her way up to producing the station’s 7:00 p.m. news, then to assignment editor. She was producer of the 5:00 p.m. news before being named EP.

She started her career as a producer at WCTI in New Bern, NC.

Weather Anchor Doug Allen Leaving WGAL

allen_daily recordDoug Allen, longtime weather anchor for WGAL is leaving the station, according to the York Daily Record.

The Daily Record reports the Lancaster, PA, NBC affiliate announced the move saying, “After 28 years at WGAL, Doug Allen will be leaving broadcasting behind to start his own business in the boating industry.”

Allen started at WGAL in 1985 as co-host of PM Magazine. He transitioned to the weather department in 1989.

“People talk about ‘living the dream,” Allen said. “And for a broadcaster such as myself, my time at Channel 8 has been just that. Very few people in this industry ever get the chance to enjoy a career so rewarding and long as mine has been with WGAL.’

image – York Daily Record

Pennsylvania Governor Sorry He Used Bad Gay Marriage Analogy in WHP Interview


When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was on Harrisburg, PA, CBS affiliate WHP, he was asked in a taped segment on this morning’s 5:00 a.m. news about a comment one of his legal staff had made about gay marriage.

“There was a controversial remark made by a member of your legal team.” said anchor Sherry Christian. “Comparing gay marriage to the union of twelve-year-olds saying both are illegal.”

Corbett then confirmed with Christian that he called that remark inappropriate. “It was an inappropriate analogy,” said the Governor. “I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don’t you?”

To which anchor replied, “I don’t know. I’m going to leave the comments to you and your team.”

Later this morning the Governor issued this statement,

“During a recent interview, I was asked to comment on the ruling by Judge Pellegrini that the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts did not have the power to decide the constitutionality of state laws. My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize. I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license. As an example, I cited siblings as one such category, which is clearly defined in state law. My intent was to provide an example of these categories. The constitutional question is now before a federal court and that is the venue in which same-sex couples wishing to legally marry have standing to intervene and be heard. Same-sex marriage is an important issue and the question of its legal status is one that will be heard and decided upon its merits, with respect and compassion shown to all sides.”

[buzzfeed]

After Arrest in Prostitution Sting, David Baer Out at WHP

TVSpy has confirmed David Baer is no longer working at Harrisburg, PA, CBS affiliate WHP. The Sentinel reports the news director was apparently fired after his arrest for allegedly soliciting prostitution in June.

The Sentinel said Baer has been charged with patronizing prostitutes and is awaiting a preliminary hearing in August. He was one of three people arrested in a prostitution sting at a local hotel in in June.

Baer was hired as news director in April. Before coming to WHP, he worked at WXXA in Albany, NY. He has also worked in Springfield, MA, Indianapolis, IN, Raleigh, NC, Providence, RI, Portland, ME, and Buffalo, NY.

We have reached out to WHP general manager Arthur Hasson for comment. We will update when we hear back.

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