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Tampa Bay area TV election coverage tonight, from the nightclub to the Web site and beyond



Wtspelection1 On election night, viewers are used to seeing TV news anchors in sober settings -- studios with an array of charts and graphs or hotel ballrooms filled with cheering supporters.

So why is WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Reginald Roundtree anchoring coverage of this historic election from the Push Ultra Lounge in St. Petersburg?

"It takes coverage in a different direction," said WTSP news director Darren Richards of Roundtree's broadcasts, which begin at 5 p.m. today from the hip St. Petersburg nightspot, fitting in with the station's new mantra and title, 10 Connects. "Anything that connects us to the people, we like."

Roundtree's location may be the most unusual perch in an array of local reports planned for today. Most local stations with news departments are planning to stick with their regular news programming until network coverage begins at 7 p.m., breaking in with local results twice an hour until their late-night newscasts.

But the new wrinkle here for some stations is a beefed-up presence online and/or on the digital tier, as some stations offer continuous localized coverage in places outside their normal broadcast home.

For 10 Connects, that means taking over the digital channel that normally presents their continuous weather reports from 8 p.m. to midnight. In keeping with the CBS affiliate's motto, the station will allow viewers to e-mail anchors and onscreen experts, also streaming all the video on their Web site,

At ABC Action News, the continuous, commercial-free coverage starts at 7 p.m. on their Web site, dubbed Operation Newsroom. They'll also be breaking in to ABC's continuous coverage during the evening, returning for an 11 p.m. newscast, unless breaking news intercedes.

That same strategy is in place at WFLA-Ch. 8, where the NBC affiliate will stream coverage on its affiliated Web site,, and offer news breaks during network coverage. Anchor Stacie Schaible is expected to report from the field, while Keith Cate and Gayle Sierens remain inside the studio for the 11 p.m. newscast.

On local cable newschannel Bay News 9, the continuous coverage starts at 6 p.m. and will last at least until midnight, focusingon local races in a seven-county area. The channel's array of primary anchors -- Al Ruechel, Leigh Moody and Erica Riggins -- will be augmented with experts such as former governor Bob Martinez and former Tampa City Council member Bob Buckhorn.

Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 will present Fox News: You Decide 2008 with reports anchored by Shepard Smith from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with local reports twice an hour. WTVT's local newscast begins at 10 p.m. and lasts through its 11 p.m. NewsEdge broadcast, though they are prepared to rejoin Fox News coverage if events warrant.   


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:52pm]


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