With power outage causing problems in San Diego earlier this month, KUSI and KGTV helped each other get news coverage out to viewers.
When the power went out across all of Southern California south of San Clemente on Thursday, Sept. 8, television station generators kept the lights on and signals transmitting regardless of the smaller number of viewers who could actually see the news coverage. But San Diegans with battery powered televisions, iPads, mobile phones and laptops were still able to get live updates and important information throughout the evening from websites such as KGTV’s 10News.com and KUSI.com.
As nighttime approached, McKinnon Broadcasting’s independent KUSI lost the use of its helicopter, a critical component of its coverage with traffic tie-ups causing multiple-hour delays on roads across the county. Assignment editor Paul Levikow got on the phone with Joel Davis, news director at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate KGTV, requesting permission to use its helicopter feed. Davis quickly agreed, asking only for screen credit in return.
“As broadcasters our commitment is to serving the community,” Davis said, “and in times of need we set aside competition and focus on cooperation.”
A few hours later, as city and county leaders scrambled to put together a press conference, KUSI was able to return the favor as a KGTV equipment problem would not allow them to get a live feed. The ABC affiliate tapped into KUSI’s feed and both stations were able to bring complete coverage from the ground and from the air to their viewers.
“At a moment like this, it’s not about one upping each other … it’s about getting the critical news out,” said Steve Cohen, KUSI news director.