In the past, some have criticized LA's commercial TV stations for their wall-to-wall coverage of major fires in the region. Now, some critics are wondering why the major TV stations failed to offer much in the way of live coverage of the most recent conflagrations.
At social gatherings, church parking lots and online, people were complaining about the dearth of information on TV about the fires. Used to full-on live TV coverage, many turned to online sources, some really for the first time. Once again, Twitter has shown its value as an information tool. And for some near the front lines, online journals such as The Altadena Blog were good places to find info - much of it located in the comments section where residents share tips and the latest intelligence.
As the Web sucks away TV viewers, the fire itself threatens the transmitting towers the TV stations have built atop Mt. Wilson. Folks with cable and satellite won't lose their signals if the fire takes down the transmitters. But the LA area still has millions of viewers who get their signal over-the-air. They could be out of luck for a nice, long time. TV engineers say it could take a year or longer to rebuild the towers and other broadcast infrastructure on the mountain after a blaze.
There is irony here. Wildfires are the very kind of event that used to drive live TV news coverage. Now they threaten to further erode a business that, it seems, some commercial television stations just don't really want to be in anymore.