Coronavirus in Utah: How COVID-19 impacts your favorite local TV stations

Local News

ABC4 Utah is "Open4You", Committed to Serving The Community

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The coronavirus impact is far reaching with thousands of Utahns staying home, many working remotely and that includes the employees at ABC4 Utah (KTVX) and Utah’s CW30 (KUCW). Vice President and General Manager, Richard Doutre` Jones, discussed the precautions the stations are taking to protect employees and others, while still operating to produce local news, weather and entertainment programming for viewers and readers on abc4.com.

Jones says his employees are in the same situation as everyone else during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 80 percent of the station’s employees are working remotely for their protection. Station management is taking steps to make sure the facility is safe for the employees who are reporting to the building for work or work outside of the building as well, such as following the recommended physical distancing, washing hands frequently, sanitizing surfaces and restricting access to the building.

“We coordinate so even our news assignments are done remotely,” Jones said. “We’ve also created a safe, protected outdoor interview area located behind our building as an extension of our beautiful Good4Utah backyard. We call it Studio4 B. This area provides a safe place for us to do interviews with guests who are able to still travel and wish to be interviewed live in our local programming.”

The station has increased its use of video conferencing modes such as Zoom, Facetime and Skype, to do live and recorded interviews for ABC4 News and Good Things Utah, and for staff meetings.

Jones addressed the question of why the station continues to operate when all the messaging from health and government officials says to “Stay Safe. Stay Home.” Jones explains that the station’s license to do business is based on it serving the public good and as a media and news organization, the station is designated as an essential business.

“As broadcasters and digital content producers, we provide essential, vital information, which thousands of people depend on receiving each day,” Jones explained. “Nearly 80% percent of our news department is now working remotely but still is dedicated to keeping everyone informed 24 hours a day about the fast changing COVID-19 developments, health alerts and information to keep us safe.”

ABC4 News continues to provide coverage to other important topics of the day, like the weather and sports.

Jones also noted that the station remains open to support its sales clients and local businesses still in operation that are in need of support right now.

“As a station, we can support local businesses by doing what we do best, by bringing in customers to buy their products and use their services,” Jones said. “We want to help our client partners keep their businesses and products top of mind and let customers know they are open for business.”

ABC4 Utah invites local businesses to reach out to share their stories and let the station know how it can help them protect their businesses, promote their brand and sell their products. Send your information to: Open4You@Abc4.com to get started.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.