New York 1 News helped to bail out its bigger corporate sibling, Cable News
Network, during the blackout last week, officials said Monday.
Last Thursday, NY1 lent CNN a satellite truck and permitted anchors Paula
Zahn and Aaron Brown to telecast from the local news channel’s roof at Chelsea
Market in Manhattan, according to NY1 general manager Steve Paulus. Wolf Blitzer
also did live reports from the street in front of NY1’s headquarters.
"Without NY1, CNN would have been in pretty bad shape," Paulus said. "They’ve
acknowledged that we really kept them on the air."
CNN did not have sufficient backup power at its New York offices at Penn
Plaza, and its operation "descended" on NY1’s headquarters, Paulus said.
NY1 “was critical” in permitting CNN to continue anchoring its coverage out of New York last Thursday, CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said.
But she added that CNN offered “seamless” blackout reporting through its studios and reporters in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and its bureaus throughout the country.
NY1 was in an odd predicament. It has an emergency generator that runs on
diesel fuel, so it was able to continue cablecasting throughout the blackout.
But the local news channel lost its primary distribution outlet, Time Warner
Cable of New York City, when the cable system’s emergency power ran out at
roughly 9 p.m. Thursday, five hours after the blackout started, a NY1 spokesman
Nonetheless, NY1 continued to program and produce a feed, although most New
Yorkers couldn’t see it.
"Our backup power worked like a charm," Paulus said. "We didn’t lose a beat …
But the problem was that the cable system was down. There was nothing we really
could do until it started coming up the next day … There was no way of knowing
when the power would come back, so we kept programming wheels. But we weren’t
Officials at Time Warner in New York couldn’t be reached for comment
Paulus, who was actually in California last week on business, said he watched
a NY1 video stream available to the channel’s managers on his laptop in San
Diego during the blackout.
"I think I was the only person in the country watching the channel," Paulus
said. "What I was seeing in the wee hours of Thursday night was full
comprehensive coverage with a lot of pieces. It was good stuff. Regrettably,
people couldn’t see it."
The cable system was back in operation, in stages, last Friday afternoon,
after its headquarters on West 23rd Street got a delivery of fuel for
its emergency generator.
NY1 and CNN, both owned by AOL Time Warner Inc., had discussed teaming up in
emergency situations following Sept. 11, according to Paulus.
Oxygen is also housed at Chelsea Market, like NY1, and it also has an
emergency power supply. The network never went off the air, according to a
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