Local TV scrambles schedule

Within minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m., Channels 3, 6, 10, 17, 29, 57 and CN8 had live coverage.

Courier Times

A day of terror was a day that will never be forgotten by employees of the local television stations.

It was a hectic day for all the news operations.

Steve Schwaid, news director of NBC, 10 said, "we've never seen anything like this in our lives. There were people crying in the newsroom."

In a rushed conversation, Rich Scott, news director of WB17, said the newsroom was in disbelief.

At Fox-Philadelphia, a staffer blurted out that they were in "crisis mode."

A newsroom employee at NBC 10 said "everyone was running around like their heads were cut off." And a KYW-3 employee called it "a very intense atmosphere" in the newsroom.

Within minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m., Channels 3, 6, 10, 17, 29, 57 and CN8 had live coverage that continued through the day and night.

"Action News," which is an ABC station, had an expanded edition of the noon news, and aired extra newscasts from 2-3 p.m., 4-6:30 p.m., 8-8:30 p.m., and 10-11:30 p.m. around the ABC news coverage.

NBC 10 was mostly network with Tom Brokaw, but provided local cut-ins throughout the day.

Channel 3, a CBS affiliate, had cut-ins at the top of every hour then used sister station Channel 57 to provide local updates at the bottom of the hour.

Fox-Philadelphia got its national news from Fox News Channel, along with local cut-ins.

WB17 took feeds from CNN or WPIX, the WB affiliate in New York City, and provided local cut-ins.

Plucky CN8 went live most of the day with their own coverage, and their call-in talk show "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle," had a special two-hour edition at 8 p.m. Every station used the ubiquitous crawl to provide local information when the networks took over.

Since Philadelphia happened to be in the vicinity of the attacks, the local stations were quickly able to dispatch crews to North Jersey, Washington, D.C, and Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania Cable Network pre-empted its Frank Rizzo special and ran a feed from CN8. Comcast SportsNet benched its programming and ran the CNN feed.

At 10 p.m., WB17 expanded its newscast to an hour, Fox-Philadelphia, which is normally an hour, went 15 minutes overtime, and CN8 increased its news an extra hour.

After the 11 p.m. newscasts, "Nightline," was pre-empted with ABC news coverage, "The Tonight Show" was canceled and replaced with news on NBC, and "The Late Show with David Letterman," which was scheduled to be a rerun, was replaced with CBS news coverage.

Network titles of the tragedy included "Terrorism Hits America" on Fox, "America Under Attack" on CNN, and "Attack on America" on CBS and NBC. ABC chose not to give the events a name.

It was continuous coverage on the cable news stations CNN, Headline News, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, and CNBC.

QVC, HGTV and The Food Network put up disclaimers temporarily suspending their broadcasts, the Home Shopping Network ran news, the Fox Family Channel ran regular programming, but had a continuous crawl directing viewers to Fox News Channel, the Fox News Channel was simulcast on FX.

Pax ran the NBC feed, ESPN had no baseball to air since the games were canceled, but ran a crawl giving sports-related news about the tragedy, VH1, MTV, UPN, TNN and BET used CBS news, and TLC ran BBC America. News of the day was provided in Spanish on Telemundo.

In this marathon of very real programming, Nick at Nite chose to continue with its "Un-real-a-thon,"with "Three's Company." Non-news programming could also be found on A&E, Comedy Central, Lifetime, Bravo and E!



Thursday, September 13, 2001