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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another View of the Beverly Hills Fire

My blog two weeks ago about the Beverly Hills fire coverage 30 years ago prompted the below recollection from John Getter, former Ch. 5 reporter/anchor now living in Las Vegas with his wife, Pat Weinstein, also a former Ch. 5 reporter/anchor.

I had asked him if it was true that Ch. 5 fed the NBC network live Beverly Hills fire video -- which was shot from a great distance, perhaps at the station's tower in University Heights (Chickasaw Street), or station roof at 9th & Elm -- in contrast to the close-up video aired by Chs. 12 & 9 with new portable cameras from the scene.

Anyway, I thought you'd like to read this... and I hope follow-up comments don't dwell on Ch 5's limitations or low ratings today. But I'm interested in those who watched Ch 5 that night, or worked there, or other memories of the fire coverage.

Here's the email:

"It was a Saturday night, if I recall correctly, and I was co-anchoring the news with Ken McDowell. (Pre-Clyde days) The fire started late in the evening and we had no reporter working. The photographer was at the station having edited the newscast.

When we began to grasp that this was a big story, I called Pat (Weinstein) at home in Northern Kentucky. She was the closest. So she… went to the fire. She was the first TV reporter on the scene...

She had no photographer, so she gathered up some information... talked to the fire chief, walked up the hill and got a feel for things and I believe she made one report by phone. But, this was before cell phones, and there was no 2-way radio in her personal car, so she drove back to the station.

For a couple hours we continued to do live interrupts with new information and, of course, Pat played a major role since she was, at that point the only reporter on the air who had been to the scene.

I don’t recall if the "live" pictures we used were shot from the station roof or from the transmitter site up on the hill. Anyway, our lead didn't last.

We had made the switch from film to videotape, but not to live remotes. Ch. 12 had been developing its microwave truck. It was not completely finished, but they had the wisdom to drive it to the scene and broadcast the first live reports by an ENG truck in Cincinnati. Howard Ain’s reports just killed us competitively. EDGE (electronic data gathering equipment) worked exactly as they hoped and did truly give them the edge in live news for a while.

And now you know...



at 6/13/2007 4:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 5's website has several clips of uneditted video from the BH fire shot that night (and in the following days) on it.

at 6/13/2007 10:37 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Thanks, Anonymous, I'll check it out.

at 6/14/2007 9:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was hoping that Getter would touch base. We went to MHS together and e mail occasionally now. thanks John at Pat
from the neighborhood

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