Monday, January 8, 2007

The Cold Hard Facts

TV station KHGI in Kearney, Nebraska is a mess. A winter storm knocked out power, and now falling ice from the tower next to the station is cutting holes in the roof and making the newsroom too dangerous for work.

From blogger Sean Weide of the The Reader's Media Notes:
Staying safe meant evacuating the newsroom on Tuesday after a huge chunk of ice tore through the ceiling of news director Mark Baumert's office. Computers were moved out of the newsroom into a conference room and the station's lobby. While newscasts were still being delivered from the news set at that time, anchors wore hard hards on the air to protect themselves against the threat of more falling ice.
At least you don't have to worry about anchor hair.

Right now the station's news team is doing the best they can with limited equipment, working out of the Grand Island bureau (about 40 miles away) and what's safe at KHGI's headquarters.

I nearly began my television career at KHGI in 1994. My first impression of the station was that it resembled two double-wide manufactured homes glued together on the outside. But on the inside, they had the people, the tools, and the talent to program three full-power TV stations and gobs of repeaters serving a giant wedge of west-central Nebraska. One of their old black-and-white studio cameras sat proudly in the lobby, a testament to years of service.

"We cover issues," former news director Al Zobel told me at the time, which made sense compared to chasing spot news in ten counties. And if you're ever in Kearney, ask one of the locals about the late beloved Bob Geiger, "the weather tiger."

I lost in a three-way tie for a job as a 10pm producer there, but then came an offer in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I still had to worry about ice storms from time to time, but nothing like this.

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