Friday, November 10, 2006

Someone at Nexstar has a death wish

Check this picture out, taken outside the Scranton Cultural Center on election night...



Those of you unfamiliar with the technical side of broadcast journalism probably just see a bunch of news vehicles. But it's actually a deadly accident waiting to happen. Take a look at how close the van's mast is to those overhead power wires. By one estimate, the mast is just four or six feet away from LIVE POWER LINES.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that is a WBRE/WYOU van.

I don't know which dumbass set up that shot, but they are damn lucky they didn't die. You see, news photographers and reporters have died or been seriously burned from electrocutions caused by microwave van masts touching or coming close to overhead power lines.

Most news photographers will tell you they always check to make sure it's OK to raise their news van's microwave mast. Apparently, the idiot who set up WBRE/WYOU's live shot failed to do that. And if I was in charge at the Nexstar duopoly, I would either fire that person, or rip them a new one.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do know that at least one WBRE photog actually hit high voltage lines with a mast, right? Looks like they're still as dumb as ever.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 16--the reporters/photogs are REQUIRED to regularly go out to the truck, hear the safety rules and play out what to do if a mast does come in contact with a live wire.
ie: either stay inside the energized truck or IF u must get out, jump with feet touching each other. Thats to prevent electric "differances" in the soil from going up one leg, through your heart and discharging through the other leg.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, I was up there that night and that picture makes it look way worse than it really was - and I'm sure it was taken that way on purpose. The truck was close to 10 feet away (not the 20 foot rule still) from the closest lines - which there are only cable and phone.

And, the majority of the satellite trucks had their dishes closer to the lines than that mast was. PCN's truck, which you can see to the front of the microwave truck, that dish was only about 1 foot away from the lines.

Those of you who have worked in this area know that if you abide by the 20 foot rule you would never get a shot out of 75% of this area!!! There are lines everywhere!

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're a journalist, be a journalist. Don't try to be an electrician. If you're near wires, assume they're live electrical wires.

Look at the photo again. How could the street light be lit without electricity?

What is it that runs inside the cable and telephone cables? Are ya really sure you can identify all the lines?

Finally, did the mast operator say "Y'all watch this!" before he put it up?

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a stunt motivated by 16's chief photographer... and it's not the first time he's launched out at competing stations, while believing he has some inalienable right to tell photographers where they can throw the mast.

Years ago, a 28 shooter set his truck up in line of 16's "robo" cam. 16 called 28 engineering to tell them that the truck was entangled or really "too close" to power lines... which wasn't true. 16 just had an unclear vanatage point. But they still bullied the 28 guy and seemingly told his mommy.

I was part of the crew there on election night and if anyone was truly concerned, they could have approached me or they could've gone over our heads and right to the fire department chiefs, who were just hanging out.

This picture was snapped at a genius angle: get the pole, the lines and even the lines running perpendicular to the truck all in the vantage... and the moon, too.

Nice spin everybody. I am familiar with the dangers of masts and contact with high voltage lines, this was not the case. These lines were cable and phone subcarriers.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, look carefully 11:24am... Street poll is right next to 50's truck (on this side of the camera) and the street light helps you to measure how far away it is from the wires.. not far, a few feet. The SAT dishes aren't close to that high voltage wire ON TOP, their near the phone and cable wires on the bottom.

Either way it's a dumb move... just a heavy gust of wind pushing the truck or the wire would create the deadly zap.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard's point, though, remains on target. This is just fucking brilliant.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a different issues with the satellite dishes, and an ENG Mast. first the material the dish is made of is not a conductor of electricity, an eng mast is. second the power lines are the highest up on the pole....the lower ones are most allways phone and or cable. not that I am condoning anyone sat or microwave parking that close to lines.....you really can't compare the two.

also....12:36AM...I hear it is the same photog that had eirlier hit the high voltage lines with the mast that was operating this said truck. if that is the case....hasen't he learned his lesson from the back mountain.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohh boo 2:41pm. Hate to break it to you, but this thread isn't conspiracy by WNEP or beale, I found the photo online @ B-Roll.net and forwarded it to Beale. Plus, the pic posted was done so by someone listed in Allentown. So, if a mistake was made, stop pointing the finger at people trying to make you look bad. Just be thankful whoever was responsible never killed anyone. With media outlets from all over Pennsylavnia there, could you imagine what would happen to WBRE/WYOU if something had happened. C'mon, look up and live.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A picture from another angle (from Andy Palumbo's blog)http://local.wnep.com/wn/photos.php?id=912&source=blogs
shows that the truck is clearly parked away from any power lines, nothing but cable and telco.
If a truck op can't tell the difference between AC lines and communications lines, he shouldn't be allowed to operate the truck.

And to 8:22, Almost all mobile satellite dishes are covered and framed with aluminium, a pretty good conductor, plus a SNV uses levelers to stabilize the truck, so you have a much better path to ground than a live truck on rubber tires.

Just my 2 cents worth.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous MClem781 said...

I have a question.... do the trucks for NEP and "Channel 50" have safety devices such as a D-Tech??

I work for the CBS station in Harrisburg (born and bred though in the Coal Regions) and we can't even put our masts up if we're within 30 ft of any wires. I know the other stations in our market have them, but not as sensitive as ours. Like NEP, we have constant safety reminders and practices.

I'm just wondering how anybody can put their masts up in wires without the safety system going off.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't there supposed to be "proximity alarms" (I'm making those words up, but it's something like that) and safety locks to keep the mast down in dangerous situations?

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone catch the 28 sports anchor on WYOU this past Saturday. I guess he tapped the block of sports, and did it live for BRE. WOW!!!!!!!!

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No mention of the fact that the van is parked the wrong way on a one way street?

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too, was there that night and can vouch for the fact that the picture makes it look closer than it was.

Way to start trouble, Howard.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No mention of the fact that the van is parked the wrong way on a one way street?"

12:48 PM


Now I KNOW this is nothing more than an anti-Nexstar piling-on thread.

I was in that area election morning--the police had that section of street completely roped off--THEY controlled all parking--so it was more a "parking lot" than a roadway, and ANYTHING done there (so-called wrong-way parking, truck location) was under police supervision.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I KNOW this is nothing more than an anti-Nexstar piling-on thread.

But not based simply on my one post, right? Mine was just a wise-ass observation by a local schmo who's not in the business, doesn't know the first thing about masts, and could care less who's logo was on the side of the truck. Nexstar, Death Star, chicken and stars--makes no difference to me. You're all up in arms about something I never would have noticed, so I feigned shock that no one noticed traffic laws obviously being broken. In my head, it was at least mildly funny.

Hindsight's 20-20 and no one was injured (or worse). As someone not in the business, I failed to see the big deal or take this whole thing seriously from the start. I suggest you take it a little less seriously yourself.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I failed to see the big deal or take this whole thing seriously from the start. I suggest you take it a little less seriously yourself."

3:19 PM


Obviously, you're right: all we're talking about here is accusations of incompetence and negligence in a life-or-death situation.

Oomph off, outsider.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are people so negative here?

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I KNOW this is nothing more than an anti-Nexstar piling-on thread.

1) Nexstar deserves all the anti sentiment it gets, and then some.

2) Anyone who worked there for an hour has earned the right to join the piling-on.

I worked live-shots over the years where I literally had to tell a photog to get the truck away from the f***ing utility lines, regardless of what he "thought" they were. Some photogs in this market have been the best, some were and are scary.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why are people so negative here??

6:11 PM


I DARE you to say that again!

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all we're talking about here is accusations of incompetence and negligence

All we're talking about are accusations...

5th grade grammar, insider.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All we're talking about are accusations...

5th grade grammar, insider."

11:07 PM


A little help, Howard? Can you set up a separate section for grammarians and punctuation Nazis to have their say without derailing honest, thoughtful discussion?

Once again, someone who can't defend a point instead pulls out a dog-eared copy of "Strunk and White" and tries to score "Style" points.

Can't you let him/her/them have his/her/its own area to pick nits?

8:03 PM  

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