WBRC FOX6 News first to use drones for news, weather, traffic coverage

Updated: Feb. 6, 2017 at 7:14 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – February 6, 2017 – WBRC FOX6 News is the first local television station in Birmingham and the first station in the Raycom Media group to launch aerial news-gathering with an unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

These unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, are becoming an important part of news-gathering. A drone can fly places where helicopters and planes cannot, providing a unique perspective.

WBRC FOX6 News has two licensed drone pilots and is expected to train additional members of its staff in the forthcoming year.

Chief Meteorologist J-P Dice and Operations Manager Lantz Croft have worked to obtain FAA certification. It is a big milestone for WBRC FOX6 News. Safety and training are the biggest priorities.

"As a commercial-rated pilot and meteorologist, I think drones or unmanned aircraft systems have a unique role in our weather and news coverage," said J-P Dice, Chief Meteorologist for WBRC FOX6 News. "The drone is a stable camera platform and can provide an aerial view of tornado and storm damage. This can help meteorologists in damage surveys and understanding the strength and complexity of severe weather."

In addition to enhanced weather coverage, the WBRC FOX6 News drone, "WBRC Sky Tracker" will be useful for news-gathering, traffic, marketing and creative services, tower inspections, and sales initiatives.

"We are excited to use drones to enhance our coverage," said Collin R. Gaston, General Manager and Vice President for WBRC FOX6 News. "This technology will give us another perspective on breaking news, weather, and community events."

WBRC FOX6 News is committed to staying on the cutting edge. You will see more drones and added coverage of news and weather from above.

On a mobile device? Watch our video of the Sky Tracker right here.

About WBRC FOX6 News

WBRC FOX6 News has served Central Alabama communities for more than 60 years as the leader in news, weather, sports and entertainment. WBRC is a Raycom Media company.

About Raycom Media

Raycom Media, an employee-owned company, is one of the nation's largest privately owned broadcasters and owns and/or provides services for 62 television stations in 42 markets and 20 states. Raycom Media owns or provides services for stations covering over 14% of U.S. television households and employs over 4,600 individuals in full and part-time positions. In addition to television stations, Raycom Media owns PureCars (digital ad platform for automotive), Raycom Sports (a marketing, production and events management and distribution company), Tupelo-Honey Productions (a NY-based production company), RTM Productions (a Franklin, TN-based automotive programming production and marketing solutions company), WebStream Sports (an Indianapolis-based, live event production company) and Broadview Media (a post-production/digital signage company based in Montgomery, AL). Raycom Media is headquartered in Montgomery, AL.