'We knew this wasn’t the time to relax, but to stay on guard and to make sure everybody was truly safe, wherever they were’

Bruce Austin, WALB general manager, recalls Hurricane Michael

Bruce Austin, WALB general manager, recalls Hurricane Michael

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - General Manager Bruce Austin reflects on the storm and its devastation across South Georgia.

Although he wasn’t general manager at the time, Austin recalled carrying the weight of a leader and the full force of a strong team.

“We knew this wasn’t the time to relax, but to stay on guard, and to make sure everybody was truly safe, wherever they were,” Austin said.

The station pulled together during Hurricane Michael.

Austin said surviving disasters like Michael, you learn a few things about technology, and how it’s a very fragile connection between us and the outside world.

Damage in Camilla from Hurricane Michael.
Damage in Camilla from Hurricane Michael. (Source: WALB)

“I’ll tell you, the first thing you learn in a hurricane is that cell towers don’t work. Communication is of utmost importance in our business. What we did find is that a broadcast TV station is extremely important today, and in my mind will be important for years to come," Austin said.

Austin said the WALB News 10 team worked tirelessly through Michael’s fury and provided storm coverage through direct contact with first responders and many others.

“One of the things that I really saw out of the MMJs (multimedia journalists) especially is how quick they grew up" Austin said. "We do have a lot of young MMJs here, a lot of young reporters and after that storm, it’s almost like they took a step forward in their career a little bit, because they know now how to do things and to stay safe, but also they know what their main job is, and that’s to inform our public about things that are going on around them.”

Camilla store damaged during Hurricane Michael.
Camilla store damaged during Hurricane Michael. (Source: WALB)

One of his proudest moments, Austin recalled, came from the First Alert Weather Team’s role before, during and after Hurricane Michael.

They sacrifice their family time to protect our people, so to me, they are first responders, our meteorologists, hands down. They warn people, they save people’s lives. So when I look back and reflect on the performance of these guys, there’s no way I can feel like we did anything incorrectly.”
Bruce Austin on the WALB First Alert Weather Team during Hurricane Michael

“I think this station works as a team. It’s a family and moving forward, that’s the best way that I can describe it. We are moving forward as a family here, we’re not an individual system.”

Tonight, WALB News10’s General Manager Bruce Austin looks back at Hurricane Michael and how we are moving forward, one year later, as a team.

Posted by Bobby Poitevint WALB on Thursday, October 10, 2019

Austin officially took over as general manager on Jan. 1, after many years as general sales manager.

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