Channel 3 was first on the air with news of Thursday morning's fatal plane crash at 117th and Giles Road.
With studios located a good seven or eight miles southwest of Channels 6 & 7 (and only about two miles from the crash scene), KM3 had a built-in advantage in just getting a reporter on the scene. Corey Rangel delivered a telephone report at approximately 10:15 a.m. Channel 7's Mike Sigmond was on the air with his report about ten minutes later, joined shortly thereafter by Todd Andrews.
Both stations aired their first live images of the scene—shrouded in fog—by around 10:30, although KETV's initial shot showed viewers little more than a close-up of an unidentified white pole that appeared to be part of the station's live truck.
Bringing up the rear was "Live, Local, Late-Breaking" Channel 6 News. Apparently loathe to break into the "Tony Danza Show" (Tony was singing with the Muppets!), the Big Six first provided only in-studio anchor Malorie Maddox describing the scene and meteorologist Scott Akin telling viewers that it was foggy. Eventually, reporter Gary Johnson reported live from the scene, joined sometime thereafter by Sheila Brummer.
It was Brummer who astutely informed viewers that "if you need to drive in this area, the best thing to do is not to drive in this area." Thanks, Sheila. Dumbass.
It was also Brummer who observed that the absence of rescue vehicles suggested there were no survivors. While she turned out to be right, her certainty might have been tempered had she been there a half-hour earlier when Rangel and Sigmond were describing the arrival of ambulances.
As always when it comes to Channel 6, it fell to Johnson to do the real reporting. Of all the TV personnel on the scene, it was he who was first able to confirm that three passengers in the plane had been killed.
It's really too bad that Omaha viewers either aren't smart enough or interested enough to recognize how much of WOWT's operation is window dressing. Being able to create the illusion of news reporting—which is what 6 seems to be best at—isn't the same thing as doing news reporting.
The station has plenty of people who can sit in the studio and read news, and several more who can look at a camera and form sentences, but only two or three who can actually find information and report it with any discernible degree of skill. Perhaps if they spent less time on faux-news like "Burglaries & Break-ins," "Illnesses & Injuries," and "Schemes & Ripoffs," they could cultivate some real reporters.
Then again, as long as Omaha viewers keep rewarding their half-assed approach, there's not much motivation for them to move in that direction, is there?