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Seattle-Tacoma

Gary Pfitzner and Bill Strothman Identified as KOMO Chopper Crash Victims

bill strothman komoSeattle ABC affiliate KOMO has identified the two victims of this morning’s helicopter crash as Gary Pfitzner, the chopper’s pilot, and Bill Strothman (pictured), a former KOMO photographer.

The names were announced by an emotional Dan Lewis and Molly Shen as part of KOMO’s continuing coverage of the crash this afternoon.

Strothman and Pfitzner were employed by the helicopter leasing company that operates KOMO’s chopper. During Strothman’s career at KOMO, he won 13 Emmy Awards. His son, Dan, currently works as a photographer at KOMO, the station said today.

“He was a guy who really knew how his pictures could tell a million words. He focused so much on just getting the right shots, the right video, putting it in the right place in the story,” Lewis said of Strothman on KOMO today.

Shen remembered Pfitzner’s love for his job.  “He always also had a smile on his face,” Shen said. “…He loved what he did, loved to be able to fly and be up there above the city and see things from a perspective that most of us don’t get to see.”

“Such a horrible loss. We’re gonna miss you guys,” Lewis said. “Thanks so much for all that you gave to us and to the families.”

Watch Lewis and Shen talk about Pfitzner and Strothman after the jump. Read more

2 Dead After KOMO Helicopter Crashes in Seattle

The KOMO news helicopter has crashed near Fisher Plaza in Seattle. Kelly Koopmans, a reporter and anchor at the ABC affiliate, is tweeting from the scene:

Koopmans said the chopper crashed into at least two cars on the ground.

>More: Watch’s KOMO’s live report on the chopper crash here.

>More: The Associated Press says casualties have been reported in the crash:

The station says the copter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street.

The copter and cars exploded in flames and casualties were reported. People in the area reported seeing a huge cloud of smoke as firefighters and police responded.

>More: The Seattle Fire Department reported via Twitter two people were killed in the crash. Seattle NBC affiliate KING, which operates the chopper in a joint partnership with KOMO, is reporting a third person is in critical condition.

>More: Video from the aftermath of the crash is after the jump. Read more

Seattle Reporter Unaware He’s Live, Says Nothing Offensive

yawzinski_kcpq_baseballTom Yazwinski, reporter for Seattle FOX affiliate KCPQ, ably demonstrated the importance of talking about safe subjects like baseball instead of politics or religion while one is at work.

When anchors Bill Wixey and Kaci Atchison tossed to Yazwinski for his live tease on the station’s morning news, Yazwinski said, “I’d be happy man,” as if talking to someone off camera. “Rangers, to me, are a sinking ship.”

TVSpy guesses he only offended Seattle’s Texas Rangers fans. Watch the video after the jump. Read more

Rob Munoz to Join Seattle’s KIRO

rob_munoz_WFTSRob Munoz is leaving Tampa’s WFTS for Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO.

Munoz started at WFTS last year as a reporter.

He began his career at KXXV in Waco, TX, and has also worked at KSNV in Las Vegas.

Morning traffic reporter Meredyth Censullo tweeted out her best wishes to Munoz. You can see it after the jump. Read more

Travis Mayfield Joins KCPQ

travis mayfieldTravis Mayfield has joined Seattle Fox affiliate KCPQ as the director of audience engagement. In his new role, he will oversee the station’s social media and digital strategy.

Mayfield joins KCPQ after 7 years at Fisher Communications, the former parent company of Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO. He worked as a television and radio reporter and was eventually promoted to community network manager, executive producer and director of digital social strategy for the Fisher Interactive Network.

Before Fisher, Mayfield worked at stations in Yakima and Spokane. He began his career at NBC’s “Today” show.

There’s a ‘One’ in 12th Man: KCPQ Shuts Rivals Out of Super Bowl Rally

Wilson_KCPQFor all of Seattle’s talk of the importance of the 12th man in the Seahawks Super Bowl win, only one man, or station, was allowed to cover the entire Seahawks victory event yesterday.

The celebration started out with a parade, which all the stations covered live. But as soon as the parade entered CenturyLink Field around 2:00 p.m., only FOX affiliate KCPQ stayed in live coverage.

According to KCPQ GM Pam Pearson all the other Seattle stations were welcome to cover the rally “but only the partners were allowed to broadcast it LIVE.” And by “partners” Pearson meant the Tribune owned FOX affiliate.

KOMO news director Holly Gauntt told TVSpy the ABC affiliate was getting calls from puzzled viewers when it broke away shortly before 2:00 p.m. Bob Jordan, news director CBS affiliate KIRO said several viewers asked why the station was ending its coverage of the celebration early.

Even the Governor’s office got involved. Jaime Smith, director of media relations for Washington Governor Jay Inslee, told TVSpy Inslee’s office reached out to the Seahawks because they wanted as many people as possible to watch the celebration. But in the end she said they left it up to the Seahawks to decide. Read more

KOMO News Director Loses Super Bowl Bet, Dresses Like Seahawk

Holly Gauntt, news director for Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO, came out on the wrong end of Super Bowl bet.

Gauntt told TVSpy, “Note to self, never take a bet concocted by a clever photographer! Being a huge Bronco fan has been quite the challenge of late! But I’m true to my Colorado roots!”

She said she has to wear the suit all day. She added, “If the Broncos won he had to wear my Orange Bronco shirt and his own orange pants, socks, underwear and shoes for the day!”

Gauntt also sent TVSpy another photo of her hard at work in the getup. Check it out after the jump. Read more

Seattle Stations Celebrate Super Bowl Victory

Stations in Seattle had extended local coverage of the Seahawks’ victory in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday. Fox affiliate KCPQ had the most comprehensive local coverage, piggybacking on Fox’s broadcast of the game. After the national postgame coverage, David Rose and Marni Hughes anchored from 7:22 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. They were joined by Matt Lorch, sports director Aaron Levine from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, and several reporters in Seattle covering the local celebrations.

CBS affiliate KIRO reported the news of the Seahawks victory during its regularly-scheduled 6:30 p.m. newscast. Monique Ming Laven anchored until 7:30 p.m. and the station was back on the air from 9 to 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight. Chris Francis reported from MetLife Stadium for KIRO.

NBC affiliate KING broke in to regularly scheduled programming at 7:26 p.m. with Dennis Bounds and Lori Matsukawa anchoring. Drew Mikkelsen joined them from MetLife Stadium. KING stayed on the air until 8 p.m. and was back at 10 p.m. for more coverage of the victory celebrations in Seattle.

ABC affiliate KOMO had a brief report about the Seahawks’ win at 7:46 p.m. Dan Lewis and Mary Nam anchored from 10 to 11:30 p.m. Eric Johnson, Mike Ferreri and Jon Humbert reported from MetLife Stadium.

Richard Thompson Leaving Seattle’s KIRO

richard thompsonAfter 19 years at KIRO, South Sound bureau chief Richard Thompson is leaving the Seattle CBS affiliate to become a financial advisor.

Except for three years in Wichita, Thompson has worked at KIRO for his entire career. He was hired after college as a segment producer for environmental and investigative stories. He rejoined the station’s South Sound Bureau in 1995.

Thompson announced the news of his departure on Twitter. “Gotta jump out of my comfort zone and see if there’s some room to grow,” he wrote. [h/t NewsBlues]

Seattle Photographer Catches Burglars in His House, Rolls Camera


Joe Orsillo, a news photographer for Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO, caught two men camping out in a house he owns Friday. He blocked one guy in. The other escaped. Then he rolled tape.

“Why are you inside my house? Why are you inside my house?” Orsillo asked the one of the men after finding him in his childhood bedroom.

“I’m probably not going to have an answer you’ll like,” said the suspect.

Orsillo wasn’t just mad the men trashed his house. He said it took the cops over 20 minutes to help him out.

“I was begging, I have this guy in my house,” said Orsillo. “I don’t know if he has a weapon or not. I’ve got the door blocked. I don’t know what he’s going to do. He’s high on coke or whatever.”

[FTVLive]

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