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VARTV Guest Commentary / Writers / Reporting
Welcome to the page for you - the Reader. This is an opportunity for you to become a guest commentator/reporter.
Do you want to compare TV/radio coverage of a major event? Comment on two similarly formatted radio stations?
This is your chance! This page is NOT a mailbag, board etc.
If you want to rant about a certain person and/or business, this page is NOT for you.

» If you have any regular news, updates, additions or corrections... e-mail them to

The Spot Factory

Studio Center

Ed Hughes
Date Posted: June 2, 2004
By: Guest

One of the greats passed away yesterday.. Ed Hughes who was a news icon in the Norfolk/Va. Beach market died of cancer on Tuesday. Ed started his career at WTAR radio and TV in the late 60’s and later became the anchor man at WTAR-TV (Now, WTKR) and was there up until a few months ago. Ed was at Channel 3 for 36 years… He could have gone on to bigger things at one of the networks. No doubt, he was offered positions many times through the years but never took them because he loved Hampton Roads and this was his home. If you watched Ed regularly you soon realized that he genuinely cared for this community and it showed.

Ed was the real deal… Everything you want a newsman to be. Credible, knowledgeable, experienced, and very well liked. If Ed said it, it must be true. Ed was passionate about broadcast journalism, the kind of passion that infected those who worked with him. Ed traveled the world to bring the big stories home to Hampton Roads. He was one of a very small handful of local reporters who went to Viet Nam during the war to report on what was happening to Hampton Roads servicemen there. He was driven to get the story first and get it right. Through the years, Ed was on local radio as well as WTKR-TV. He was the morning news man at Z-104 (WNVZ) during the 80’s. That’s just a small example…

My first radio gig was working for WTAR radio and I used to run into Ed on occasion. I never knew him very well but found him to be a very nice guy who always had a good word to say. He was a well spring of local broadcasting information and we exchanged e-mails frequently while I was doing research on Hampton Roads Radio and TV history a few years back. He knew everyone and everyone knew Ed.

Ed was the last of the old guard… His death marks the passing of an era in Hampton Roads Radio and TV. You don’t find men like him in broadcasting, here or anywhere else, anymore. I, personally, find it very sad to know that I will no longer see that familiar face on my TV or hear that deep, soothing voice coming from my radio anymore… Ed could take a complicated, maybe even scary story and break it down to the basics so you could understood what was really going on. He was never an alarmist, never sensationalized a story or sleazed it up to grab ratings… Just the news reported with honesty and integrity.

Edward F. Hughes III was 66. R.I.P

You will be sorely missed.

TV Coverage of Hurricane Isabel In Richmond
Date Posted: October 1, 2003
By: Guest

I will start with WRIC. Of the three Richmond stations, WRIC had the least to offer viewers. While they did provide the basic information from local and state officials, WRIC appeared to have the least amount of resources available to cover the hurricane. WRIC relied heavily on telephone interviews and video feeds from CNN. WRIC's weather coverage was basic also, consisting of NWS and NOAA images. Also when their power went out, WRIC didn't have enough generator power to keep their entire news operation up and running. They went to a very basic set-up for coverage: one camera, two lights, and one tape deck. Despite this, WRIC remained on-air with non-stop coverage from 10 am Thursday morning until late Friday afternoon. (WRIC's power did return by midday Friday, so they were able to return to their news operation at that time.)

As for WWBT, their non-stop coverage began at noon Thursday. However, WWBT's main staff didn't come on air till 4pm. By this time, electricity in much of central VA was out. WWBT did have a back-up generator that kept their entire news operation powered. As for coverage, WWBT also relied on phone interviews, as well as NBC network video/reports from VA Beach and NC. WWBT had two crews reporting live near Williamsburg. WWBT's weather coverage carried them throughout the hurricane. WWBT has a new graphics package for their Doppler radar (i believe it is the same program WVEC uses), that also displays temperature, wind speed, warnings, etc. They also used AWS WeatherNet stations in central VA and NC, however most of these went offline as power was knocked out. WWBT had all four of their meteorologists on air together at some point providing weather coverage. WWBT also stayed with non-stop coverage overnight Thursday/Friday morning after the storm had moved through central VA. Had it not been for partnering with WMXB and WKHK, WWBT would have missed being able to provide coverage for viewers.

WTVR was by far the most prepared station in Richmond to cover the hurricane. They too had a back-up generator that kept their entire news operation up and running. WTVR did take some power hits early on in their coverage, but once they went to the back-up generator, they remained on-air without interruption. By 9am Thursday morning, WTVR had most of their main staff on air. WTVR went with non-stop coverage from 5am to 11:30pm Thursday and again from 5am to 12:30pm Friday. Of the three Richmond stations, WTVR provided the most live reports from across VA and NC (VA Beach, Nags Head, Petersburg, Chesterfield, & Richmond). Despite the poor weather conditions, WTVR never lost a live shot during their coverage. WTVR's weather coverage was also a strong point. WTVR also had their four meteorologists on air at some point during their coverage. (Mike Goldberg and Marty Snyder though were on air the most, both for over 14 hours) Both WTVR and WWBT have live radar, but WTVR set itself apart by having access to live images from NC.

This is very much a simplification of how the coverage went. There were moments when each station was impressive with their coverage. I was somewhat surprised with WWBT not sending crews to VA Beach and/or NC. In past hurricanes, WWBT has had crews in those locations.

In the post-hurricane days, WWBT and WRIC have offered excellent programs for viewers to call in and ask questions of city/county officials, VA Power, etc. From a news perspective, WTVR & WWBT have had the best coverage of clean-up and the damage/destruction in VA.

To wrap this up, the coverage the Richmond stations provided showed the strengths of each station's news operation, as well as their weaknesses. If I had to give a grade for the coverage during the hurricane, WTVR would get a B+/A-, WRIC would get a B-, and WWBT a B+.

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