Philadelphia TV stations are in full-on Democratic National Convention mode, at long last executing coverage plans that have been in the works for months.
Broadcasting from the Wells Fargo Center from morning on, the city’s Big Four affiliates this week are expanding newscasts, partnering with their networks, and spreading out teams around Philadelphia, all in the name of covering the convention’s local impact.
“This is not just a political convention for us. This is us being the home team,” said Jim Driscoll, Fox O&O WTXF VP and news director. “It’s about a major event happening in our city. I want to put up a mirror of that.”
For WTXF, that includes having teams of journalists roaming the city, looking for the convention-related stories that networks aren’t going to have – the effect on business and traffic and the like.
Brien Kennedy, president and general manager of CBS O&O KYW, says the station is going to boost its coverage with guest commentators as well as insights from CBS News notables including Bob Schieffer and John Dickerson. The network has embedded a staffer at the station to keep apprised of local goings-on.
ABC O&O WPVI is airing wall-to-wall convention coverage on its website, 6abc.com, as well as its app. The station will be using Facebook Live for on-the-street commentary. Local folks will be captured debating the issues from the Famous 4th Street Delicatessen.
NBC O&O WCAU along with its sister station, Telemundo WWSI, are covering the convention in English and Spanish, including political commentaries in both languages. WCAU will air one-hour specials nightly before primetime convention coverage recapping and analyzing events.
The week started with a few small glitches. On Monday, reporters were forced out of the media tent at the Wells Fargo Center due to a strong thunderstorm.
In addition, affiliates were forced to scrap plans to use their choppers in convention coverage; Security measures call for keeping helicopters 30 miles away from the Wells Fargo Center.
Yet for all extra security affiliates invested in – including more safety measures for reporters – station leaders say they are optimistic that everything in Philadelphia is going to be by and large OK.
“I am a lot more confident after Cleveland and seeing how everyone respectfully voiced their opinions,” Driscoll said. “As long as everyone behaves themselves we will all be fine.”