Hoak Media has brought in a dozen staffers from its other stations in the Dakotas to help with the 7 a.m.-midnight coverage its NBC affiliate in Minot, N.D., is providing.
With news crews working around-the-clock in flood-stricken Minot, N.D. (DMA 157), Hoak Media has brought in staff from stations around the region to help its station there, KMOT, with coverage.
Twelve staffers from Hoak stations in Bismarck, Fargo, Dickinson and Williston, N.D., as well as Sioux Falls, S.D., have come to Minot since Monday, when KMOT started its 7 a.m. to midnight flood coverage says KMOT GM Tom Ross. The regular news department is just five people strong, he says.
The staff from the other stations is staying in three trailers on station property that Ross secured. With a recent influx of people driven by a local oil book, Minot has virtually no hotel rooms available.
Though the Souris River — which cuts through Minot and displaced about 12,000 people from their homes before cresting Sunday — is expected to drop, KMOT expects to continue its extended coverage at least through the end of the week, Ross says.
In turn, crews covering the flood for KMOT don’t expect life to get much easier than it was last week during what Ross, a lifelong Minot resident, calls “by far the single worst disaster that I’ve ever witnessed personally.”
Main anchor Nick Dreyer has been on-air the bulk of the coverage, despite a newborn at home, and everyone from the traffic department to engineers are helping with sourcing, reporting and shooting stories, Ross says.
Ross, himself, this week photographed and reported stories as well as anchored the news.
The sales staff is responsible for making sure there is food for reporters, each of whom is reporting six to seven stories per day.
Nicole Desrosier, a producer from KFYR, Hoak’s NBC affiliate in Bismarck who is coordinating coverage, says, in terms of staffing, KMOT will take “anyone who’s willing — and they will have something to do when they get here.”
The “lucky ones” on staff get six hours of sleep at night; the “unlucky ones” get two to four, she says.
Ross says he and his staff will reevaluate the round-the-clock coverage at the end of the week, and decide then whether to continue with it. Right now, though, the station is going moving at full steam — and will continue to until they hear otherwise.
“This is an extended stay until unknown,” Desrosier says.