Portland and Bangor — With the colder weather comes the need for Maine’s NBC-affiliate television news reporters to keep warm for the approach of Storm Center season.
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Hundreds of sweaters, from shawls to cardigans, pull-overs with traditional Nordic designs, to a few holiday-themed sweaters, were airdropped over WCHS 6 headquarters in Portland, to be handed out to needy newscasters covering Maine’s winter season.
WLBZ 2 anchor Don Carrigan remembers a time when sweater delivery was only a dream.
“In the days before Storm Center, we’d be in the Bangor studio dressed in our normal suit and tie. People watching us would leave their homes, unaware of the dangerous weather,” Carrigan said.
“Sometimes they wouldn’t come back,” he explained.
One of WCSH 6’s general managers realized the stations’ on-air personalities could wear comfortable sweaters when reporting on storms as a way to give viewers a clear clue as to current conditions.
Phone calls were made, handshakes were exchanged, and before the first snow hit the ground, a crate of sweaters was dropped from the back of a C-130, landing safely in front of the Congress Street headquarters of WCSH 6.
That tradition carries on to this day.
“We need a new shipment every year because those sweaters become so threadbare and worn by March, they’re unusable,” Keith Carson said.
“We’d love to find some other way to get 1,000 or so sweaters into our newsroom, but there just isn’t one,” Cindy Williams said.
Some members of the Storm Center crew said while they enjoy the sweaters, they don’t understand the need to turn off the heat in the buildings during winter weather.
“Giving traffic updates in a 40-degree studio isn’t much fun. Thank God we have those sweaters.”