L.A. Blackout Little More Than Headache


Los Angeles TV stations KCBS, KABC, KCAL and KTTV all broke into their afternoon lineups to bring live reports during the power outage that hit a large portion of the city Monday.

After initial reports, KNBC settled back into a newsbreaks every 15 minutes. That station operated on emergency power while KCBS reported on-air that its lights were flickering. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said the outage occurred when workers cut through wires during maintenance at an electrical transmitting station. The accident occured at about 12:30 p.m. PT, and power was laregly restored within three hours.The outage came a day after a purported al-Qaida threat against the city and renewed concerns about the L.A. power grid's vulnerability to attack.Unlike the arresting visuals in the major blackout that hit New York City two years ago, this outage didn’t produce many newsworthy images. Stations and networks showed a lot of long shots of office towers with no lights in the windows, which doesn’t look like much in broad daylight. Stations periodically carried helicopter shots of a fire engine running hot, but they cut away after nothing interesting developed. Rush-hour with no traffic signals might bring better pictures. Most TV studios and stations are in or near the affected area. The center of the outage was in Burbank, Calif., home to NBC and Disney. Most of Universal City was without power and Disney’s switchboard was down. At NBC’s Burbank facility, the first priority at NBC was the taping of The Tonight Show, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT. CBS Television City in the Fairfax area and Fox in West Los Angeles reported only momentary outages and said no tapings were impacted.