DMA 45: BIRMINGHAM, AL

WBRC Deploys Drone For News And More

The Birmingham, Ala., Fox affiliate is the first Raycom station to introduce a drone. It's slotted for use in newsgathering, traffic, marketing and creative services, tower inspections and sales initiatives.

Fox affiliate WBRC Birmingham, Ala. (DMA 45) is the first Raycom Media station to launch aerial news-gathering with an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which it says is the first in the market.

WBRC News has two licensed drone pilots and is expected to train additional members of its staff in the forthcoming year.

Chief Meteorologist J-P Dice and Operations Manager Lantz Croft are the staffers who obtained FAA certification. 

“As a commercial-rated pilot and meteorologist, I think drones … have a unique role in our weather and news coverage,” said Dice. “The drone is a stable camera platform and can provide an aerial view of tornado and storm damage. This can help meteorologists in damage surveys and understanding the strength and complexity of severe weather.”

In addition to enhanced weather coverage, the WBRC drone — WBRC Sky Tracker — will be used for newsgathering, traffic, marketing and creative services, tower inspections and sales initiatives.

“We are excited to use drones to enhance our coverage,” said Collin R. Gaston, WBRC GM and VP of news. “This technology will give us another perspective on breaking news, weather and community events.”

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