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COVID-19

News >  Spokane

Spokane’s TV news broadcasters adapt to home studios during pandemic

On the KHQ “Wake Up Show” on Friday morning, anchor Kalae Chock demonstrated the safest practices for bringing groceries into your home to avoid COVID-19 contamination.

She did it all from her own kitchen.

“Everyone’s seeing the inside of everyone’s house,” Chock said in an interview. “That’s kind of a sign of the times, but then also we’re able to reflect that as well – we’re doing the same thing that everyone else is doing.”

Broadcasting from home has some of the same advantages as any work-from-home position.

“Sean (Owsley, Chock’s co-anchor) was the first person to do it last week, and then I did it this week, and it was a joke last week that he wouldn’t tell us what he was wearing underneath,” said Chock, who has been wearing either socks or slippers.

On air, the news team poked fun at their unique arrangement. Chief forecaster Leslie Lowe, who continues to work from the studio, insinuated that Owsley and Chock were trying to avoid her.

“You guys are switching it up, who’s gotta work with her this week?” Lowe said, laughing.

“You have no idea what we’ve been texting, there may be some legitimacy to that,” Owsley said.

“ ‘You work with her,’ ‘No, you work with her.’ ”

On Monday, Chock will go back to broadcasting in the studio and Owsley will once again broadcast from home.

Anchor Dan Kleckner was the first from KHQ to broadcast from home – out of necessity. He had been to the West Side of the state to visit his grandchildren and needed to quarantine for two weeks. Co-anchor Stephanie Vigil had her hand at it for the first time last Monday. She had a minor technology hiccup on Wednesday.

“I was trying to flip (the camera) around, and it was’t flipping,” Vigil said. “So then I had to have my son come in and turn the camera around, and it was just like a chaotic scene there for a couple of minutes. But that’s kind of what throws me off my game.”

For the most part, however, Vigil enjoyed the experience.

“I love trying new things,” Vigil said. “I think it’s stretched all of our imaginations. So right now I’m enjoying it – ask me a few months from now, I might not have the same answer.”

KREM also has had anchors broadcasting from home – evening anchor Mark Hanrahan finished up his second week on Friday. He said his wife helps him set up the camera and lighting, and even though he has a first- and second-grader at home, it hasn’t been difficult to keep them off the news – though he does think viewers might have heard from his dog a couple of times.

“The broadcast hours that they’re awake are from 5 until 7, and so they’re usually down in our basement or playing in our backyard during those times,” Hanrahan said. “ … It’s kind of weird but they think it’s normal now. ‘Oh, Daddy’s on TV, we’ve got to go downstairs now.’ ”

KXLY has had its team in the studio thus far, but that is changing on Monday.

“Because we’ve seen other stations around the country doing it for a few weeks, I think that I felt like it was inevitable,” said Melissa Luck, KXLY news director. “I think we knew at some point we would move to this, this model, and we just decided to do it now rather than earlier.

“If you would have told me a month ago we’d be anchoring these casts from our houses, I would have told you you were crazy,” she said. “I think now we’ve seen so much in the last month about what broadcasters can do from home that we never would have even thought about doing, that I’m less nervous about it.”

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