This morning's freezing rain proved not only a challenge to area drivers during the overnight--but to FOX 29, NBC10 and Philly 57.
The area roadways began to ice over by 11 p.m. when early reports indicated icy conditions. By midnight--traffic reports indicated a handful of problem areas...however, by 1 a.m. the damage was done and major highways were seeing shut-downs due to numerous accidents.
FOX 29's morning team was unaccounted for by air-time at 5 a.m. for "Good Day Philadelphia". Street reporter Steve Keeley and new traffic reporter Jamie Shupak ended up carrying the show for John Anderson, Sheinelle Jones and Sue Serio, not doing a bad job either! The ice was "personal" for Steve Keeley who fell on his way out the door--injuring his left arm and elbow and feeling the pain during the broadcast. Serio, being the trooper she is, did her weather reports over the phone from her home in Media/Delaware county and reyling on an in-house producer to create the needed weather graphics for the broadcast. With the shortage of not having Keeley on the street, there must have been a shortage of behind-the-scenes staff as well as the show seemed to be airing more "fluff pieces" this morning than usual.
Over at NBC10--Jameson Uhler and Lynn Berry anchored "NBC10 News Today" for the vacationing Terry Ruggles. However, god-awful fill-in traffic reporter Jane Laychak was M.I.A., I'm told due to the road conditions as well. Uhler and Barry covered the traffic nightmare over PennDot camera shots of the various accidents and road closures. Street reporter Justin Pizzi was also trapped--on the westbound Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) from a multi-vehicle accident at I-476 that closed that portion down about 2 a.m. leaving Pizzi parked along with Penndot salt trucks ahead of him, unable to do their jobs. Pizzi did live reports from his cell phone for the morning broadcast.
Philly 57 wasn't spared either. "Wake UP News" didn't make it to air due to "technical difficulties" I'm told..."a combination of being Christmas eve--but mainly due to the fact that crews assigned to work the show were unable to make it to the TrafficPulse headquarters in Chesterbrook", according to a source I spoke with at KYW. The station ended up simulcasting "Eyewitness News" on channel 57. Liz Keptner and Lesley Van Arsdall (filling in for the vacationing Ukee Washington) held down the fort with Stephanie Humphrey filling in for the vacationing Bob Kelly.
Meanwhile, at Channel 6 during the 7:55 a.m. "Good Morning America" local cut-in, David Murphy was outside doing his usual weather break when directly behind him along City Avenue, an accident happened live on the air. One vehicle slid into another waiting at the traffic light at Monument Road. Murphy acknowledged the accident as a "live visual of conditions out-and-about". Otherwise, Channel 6 was pretty much unaffected by the road issues.
On the radio side--it's noted that on KYW 1060 "newsradio", traffic announcer Tom Collins, who goes on at 6 p.m. and normally ends his shift at 1 a.m. for overnight guy, Mike Lankford--was still on the air doing the 2:52 a.m. traffic report. Lankford must also have had difficulty getting in for his shift as well since it's noted he was heard on-air doing the 3:32 a.m. traffic segment.