Nick Genty, news director for KATV, said he’s been in the business for more than 30 years, and he’s never seen anything like the coronavirus and its effects, including on the station.
Among the changes for the KATV team is that weather segments are now being done from meteorologist's homes, instead of in-studio.
Meteorologist Todd Yakoubian said he’s done Facebook Live weather reports remotely, but it’s the first time all broadcast weather reports are being done from home.
“We have definitely never done this as a team through all our newscasts for this length of time,” Yakoubian said. He added that in the event of severe weather, meteorologists will head back into the studio.
Yakoubian said his home setup includes a cellphone and a laptop. Using both allows him to access graphics and speak on camera to viewers at the same time.
“It’s really not much different than doing a live shot at the county fair or a festival,” Yakoubian said. “What does make it different is we’re producing forecast graphics from home.”
My view this morning as I do the weather from home! We’re all healthy, just trying to continue social distancing. A step ladder with a duct tape iPhone is my camera operator today. Whatever works, right? @KATVNews @KATVChris pic.twitter.com/u5HTLwYcxb— Melinda Mayo (@KATVMelinda) March 25, 2020
Genty said much of the rest of the news team has also gone to working remotely. Reporters are setting up video interviews, anchor teams are split so only one is in the studio while the other works from home, and Genty said they’re working on a plan to have producers working remotely soon as well.
“It’s just the next step of what we have to do to protect our people and be there for our viewers,” Genty said.
All shows are still being produced, Genty said, and even while working from home, the team is generating stories and following up on tips.
“It’s a trying time,” Genty said, “but as media, we have responsibility to get information out.”