MCTV MIA on tsunami: “No one called us”


By on Mon, March 1, 2010

Do not attempt to adjust your TV set.

MCTV carried no coverage of Saturday’s tsunami advisory, despite the fact that it led to the closing of the harbor and all Coastside beaches by the Harbor District and the County Sheriff. This was noted by Darin Boville on Montara Fog yesterday.

I sent MCTV attorney and spokesman Mike Day a question about whether MCTV covered the tsunami and he issued the following statement.

In response to your inquiry, we have checked and MCTV received no email or phone call notification from anyone at San Mateo County regarding the tsunami warning Saturday morning.  You are correct that Mr. Boville made no effort to contact MCTV before publishing his article criticizing MCTV.  We have indicated in the past that MCTV can serve as a means to transmit public safety information to the community, and we have placed messages on the message channel and shown public service programming on specific topics at the request of the County and other governmental agencies.  However, if we do not receive any communication from the governmental agencies, it is obviously not possible for MCTV to disseminate such information, particularly when it is time sensitive information.  Mr. Boville’s uninformed and unfair criticism does not take into account the fact that MCTV has always made an effort to cooperate with the County and City to inform the community about public safety issues and other important public matters in addition to the regularly scheduled meetings we cablecast—when we have been asked to do so. [emphasis added]

The entire Coastside was buzzing about this event on Saturday. I was stopped by a couple of readers in downtown Half Moon Bay that morning asking about the tsunami. MCTV is the only Coastside media outlet that was not covering the tsunami. In addition to Coastsider, Montara Fog and the Review issued bulletins throughout the day. Coastsider alone received 2,400 visits on Saturday—about five times our typical Saturday traffic.

If, as Mr. Day says, "MCTV can serve as a means to transmit public safety information…", they should to be prepared to do just that in an emergency and not wait for the authorities to give them a call.

NOTE: The reason for the communication breakdown between MCTV and the county has been updated in the comments.