It's Hard Being Live On Air During an Earthquake

Mar 17, 2014

KTLA anchors Megan Henderson and Chris Schauble react to an earthquake Monday morning while on air.
Credit YouTube.com

An earthquake in Southern California Monday morning rattled the usual calm demeanor of the live, on-air anchors at KTLA-TV. Fortunately, it doesn't look as though there's been much damage, and the anchors knew what to do: get under the desk. 

Anchors Chris Schauble and Megan Henderson were anchoring a morning newscast when a sudden jolt alarmed Schauble, and with a shocked expression, he interrupted Henderson to say, "Earthquake." He was right -- it was an earthquake at a 4.4 magnitude.

They dove under the desk for a moment, then recovered quickly, and returned to their newscast once they realized the tremors had passed. Lights overhead were still shaking and Henderson said it looked as though small pieces from the ceiling had fallen down on them.

Los Angeles police and fire officials reported no damage in the immediate aftermath of the quake, centered 15 miles west-northwest of the downtown Los Angeles civic center.

"Is the whole building shaking?"
Colin McEnroe

It reminded us at WNPR of how hard it can be to carry on with live programming when the building is shaking.

On August 23, 2011, central Connecticut experienced an earthquake in the early afternoon, shortly before 2:00 pm. Host Colin McEnroe was live on the air at the time. He was talking with Mary Harris by phone during a show about life as a theatrical understudy.

"Is the whole building shaking?" McEnroe said in a low voice. Harris continued to tell a story, and then McEnroe interrupted her, and said, "Mary, I hate to do this to you, but we're gonna have to break early today. We have kind of an unusual situation here at the building. We want to thank everybody who helped out with today's show."

With that, there was a bit of music, which then faded, and we had a couple of minutes of dead air. 

Since the WNPR staff had very little experience with earthquakes, we ran out of the building. We now know that we should have ducked and covered. Next time there is an earthquake, WNPR will be prepared. Or we may just do the same thing all over again.