Reflections from Baton Rouge

Hello All from Baton Rouge,

So my time here in Louisiana is coming to a close. There is a possibility that I will be back in a week, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to take part in the effort here with Belo Corp and WWL. I am not sure if most of you know what is actually taking place here in Baton Rouge, so hopefully I can shed a little bit of light.

WCNC is here in Baton Rouge to take part in a relief effort for our sister station WWL-TV. I am sure if you are looking at our web site, you have been watching WWL-TV’s twenty-four hour newscast as it is streamed. Belo Corporation owns thirteen television stations across the country, all of which have unloaded their workforce to help maintain the staffing for WWL-TV. The staff of WWL-TV were also victims of this terrible disaster, most – is not all – are working while trying to figure out what their next step is personally. Most of have lost homes, friends but Belo Corporation has made sure that they will not loose their jobs! We have had reports that the Fox Station here in New Orleans told its employees right before Katrina hit New Orleans that they will probably not have a job and Fox will probably not continue broadcasting. They lost homes, friends, and their jobs in one swift moment, and the storm had not even hit.

It is amazing the commitment that Belo has provided for the WWL-TV staff and all the members of all the stations from all over the country that are here to help make sure WWL stays on the air. We were told that WWL-TV is being watched on all the PBS stations across Louisiana and most of Texas. WWL-TV is also being carried by CBS Network. Since WWL-TV’s newscast is streamed on the web, all Belo’s websites are providing that stream and close to 15 million people a day are accessing this information. We as Belo employees and WWL-TV employees and we fell the same since of commitment that Belo carries to make sure that the people of Louisiana have a place to access information through this horrific tragedy.

We are broadcasting out of PBL in Baton Rouge (the PBS Station for Louisiana) so we essentially have three newsrooms in one (WWL-TV staff, other Belo Stations Staff, and PBL Staff), working around the clock to keep the operation running. Belo just yesterday shipped in more food, office supplies, computers, video tape, and most importantly a portable gas station. We have also been provided apartments for our staff to have a place to lay their heads down for a short period of time before working another shift. I feel like I have a since of commonality with these people, and will miss their conversation. Everyday I meet a new person, see a new place, and hear not only the horrifying stories of this tragedy but the warm stories of triumph that emerge when seems grim.

Good Bless this place, these people, and the commitment to the audience that depends on the broadcast of WWL.

Bobby Rettew

Originally posted: