Why WAVE 3 News did – and didn’t - send crews to the hurricane zone

Why WAVE 3 News did – and didn’t - send crews to the hurricane zone
Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm. (Source: NOAA)

By BILL SHORY | News Director

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As Hurricane Florence has come ashore, there’s been a massive amount of television coverage.

There’s also been a massive amount of commentary about how much of that coverage is necessary, and how much is really serving the public.

While WAVE Country viewers are certainly interested in the storm, most of you aren’t directly affected by it. Still, WAVE 3 News has teams in the disaster zone, and we may be sending more in the coming days.

I wanted to let you know why.

There’s no question that local television can be at its best in times of disaster. Time and time again, we’ve seen TV stations serve as a critical lifeline for emergency information.

When Katrina swamped New Orleans, the local TV journalists overcame incredible challenges (and personal hardships) to stay on the air during and – just as importantly – after the storm.

Just in the past year, local TV stations have helped save countless lives during Hurricane Harvey, California wildfires, and any number of other crises.

Our company, Raycom Media, also has stations in Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Savannah, Columbia, Charlotte, and Richmond. The journalists at these stations have been hard at work, providing emergency coverage to their viewers – the people directly impacted by the storm.

Their work has been extraordinary, but it’s also been grueling, and at some point they’ll need relief.

Many of them may also be dealing with damage to their own homes. They can’t just take a break at a time when their viewers need them most, so that’s where we come in.

Meteorologist Kevin Harned is in Columbia helping forecast the storm, and our News Operations Manager Chris Kyle is running our satellite truck in Wilmington.

We may have others headed down in the next few days, and even I have a bag packed (eventually managers need relief, too).

While we have teams in the storm area, they may occasionally send back stories or live hits when they have a spare moment. But make no mistake – we aren’t there to call attention to ourselves or pose for pictures standing in high winds. We’re there to help some amazing TV stations fulfill their highest and best purpose – helping keep their neighbors safe.

We’ll be there as long as they need us. And rest assured, if WAVE Country (and WAVE 3 News) ever faces a similar need, there are a whole lot of journalists around the country who will be here to return the favor.

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.