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Published: Tuesday, 2/27/2007

Funeral a joint effort for local TV

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE MEDIA COLUMNIST
Firefighters and police offi cers watch the funeral on a church TV screen. Toledo s four television
stations broadcast the funeral, but two ended coverage early because of technical problems. Firefighters and police offi cers watch the funeral on a church TV screen. Toledo s four television stations broadcast the funeral, but two ended coverage early because of technical problems.
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The four local television stations produced a joint effort yesterday in covering the funeral of slain Toledo vice Detective Keith Dressel.

WTOL-TV, Channel 11, and WTVG-TV, Channel 13, both provided 5 1/2 hours of live coverage inside and outside of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance.

Meanwhile, WUPW-TV, Channel 36, was on live for four hours before being forced off because of a technical glitch, and WNWO-TV, Channel 24, cut away after three hours and 20 minutes because of the same problem.

"We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of the Dressel family," WTVG news director Brian Trauring said. "It is a fine line between providing a service versus going overboard, and I think we walked that line."

He said the ABC affiliate fielded few complaints during its lengthy coverage, which ran from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"We even had an e-mail from someone in Germany thanking us for streaming the funeral live on our Web site," Mr. Trauring said. "He said his brother is a police officer in Toledo."

The story was pretty similar at Channel 11, the CBS affiliate. News director Mitch Jacob said he was surprised by the lack of phone calls from viewers asking about the station's regular programming.

"I think people realized the importance of the coverage, out of respect for Detective Dressel and his family," Mr. Jacob said.

WTOL had the only live aerial shots of the ceremony, using a helicopter from a sister station in Cleveland.

Channel 13 had two pool videographers stationed inside the church and provided the feed to the other three stations.

Channel 11 had a pool videographer at St. Anthony's Cemetery and did likewise.

But both Channel 36 and Channel 24 said they were unable to pick up the audio feed from WTOL and had to call off their live coverage.

Mr. Jacob said he knew nothing of the problem involving the Fox and NBC affiliates, which signed on with live coverage at 11 a.m.

"We would have stayed on as long as the other stations and followed the ceremony to its completion, but we were forced to leave air at 3 o'clock because the feed we were getting from Channel 11 did not have audio," WUPW news director Steve France said.

"It was pointless to be someplace with no audio."

Gil Buettner, WNWO's interim news director, experienced a similar fate. His station was the earliest to halt its live coverage, ending around 2:20 p.m.

"We had a picture, but we didn't have any sound," Mr. Buettner said. "It was very frustrating."

Contact Ron Musselman at:

mussel@theblade.com

or 419-724-6474.



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