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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.”

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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.

WHTM Adds Locally Produced Lifestyle Show

WHTM, the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg, Pa., has announced the premiere of a locally produced lifestyle program, “Good Day PA!,” this Fall.

“Good Day PA! will feature the people, places, food and events that make our community a great place to live,” WHTM general manager Joe Lewin said in a statement. “At abc27 we have always strived to focus on the news, sports and events that are central to our lives.”

“Good Day PA!” will air at 12:30 p.m. beginning September 9. It will be produced and hosted by Amy Kehm (pictured), who worked as a weekend anchor at WHTM from 2006 to 2011. In the interim, Kehm worked at WBFF in Baltimore and WCIV in Charleston, S.C.

Harrisburg Reporter Attacked During Early Morning Run

Kirk Clyatt, WHP meteorologist and reporter, was attacked while out for a late night/early morning run in Harrisburg, PA, over the weekend.

“It’s one of those things you really can’t believe is happening when it’s happening,” Clyatt told WHP anchor Chris Papst in an on set interview during the CBS affiliate’s 11:00pm news Sunday night. “Even after the fact it’s hard to believe. I don’t know if I have had so many cuts and bruises or endured anything like happened last night.”

Clyatt said he was finishing up a long run after work Sunday morning when he was approached by a group of five young men and one woman who initially passed him then doubled back. Clyatt said the woman then hit him with a very heavy purse he said may have had a brick inside. Read more

WHP News Director David Baer Arrested in Prostitution Sting, Former Reporter Says

WHP news director David Baer was arrested for allegedly soliciting prostitution, former WHP reporter Kirk Wilson confirms to the Patriot News.

Baer, 63, was one of three arrested in a prostitution sting in Swatara Township, Penn., Thursday night. Two women were also arrested on prostitution charges in an “ongoing investigation” led by Swatara Township police and agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Human Trafficking Taskforce, according to the Patriot News.

Wilson, who resigned from the Harrisburg CBS affiliate in May after a contentious meeting with station management, is the first to publicly identify the man involved in the prostitution sting as the station’s news director.

WHP has reported briefly on the arrests but made no mention of Baer’s employment with the station. He has held the news director position since April; as of Sunday afternoon, he remains listed on WHP’s website as the station’s news director.

WHP general manager Arthur Hasson has not responded to TVSpy’s request for comment.

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