Once, while sitting in a live truck at the Douglas County Courthouse in Douglasville Georgia, I overheard a woman approaching with her child. The woman was showing the child the logo on the truck, indicating the presence of local television. In reverent tones, she explained to the youngster that they were on-scene covering a news story of some sort. Then she directed her gaze at the microwave mast, which extended forty feet into the air.
“See that?” she said in a near-whisper. “That’s called a ‘news pole.'” She was dead serious.
This story came to mind as I was conducting a Google maps search of a bar called the Elliott St. Pub. I was meeting a friend there for lunch. It’s in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, west of downtown Atlanta.
Upon finding the map, I noticed the presence of the nearby rail yards, and instantly recognized the Richard B. Russell Federal Building. The Russell building is the site of many interesting court cases, and TV stations regularly show up there in spite of the fact that cameras aren’t allowed inside the federal courthouse. That’s because the damned US Supreme Court won’t allow TV cameras into federal courtrooms. The rule ensures the ongoing value of sketch artist Richard Miller, who draws for the AJC and all four Atlanta TV stations. The affable Mr. Miller is a rare cat, a genuine breaking-news artist. But I digress.
On the map, I noticed a familiar shadow on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. It was the shadow of a mast sticking up from a large white vehicle parked on the street. It is easy to spot. With long shadows arcing westward, it appears the satellite photo was taken about mid-morning.
Based on the image of the shadow, and the apparent personnel and equipment spilling out onto the sidewalk, I conclude this is a local TV live truck — an image captured from a satellite 420 miles up. Not surprising, I would say. It makes perfect sense that Google Earth would record such an image at the Russell Building.
Sheer numbers suggest the truck belongs to WSB, which has more live trucks than any of the other three Atlanta TV stations. On the other hand, to me the truck looks like that boxy, squarish model owned by WGCL.
Whomever it belonged to, they would have done well to walk to the Elliot St. Pub for lunch. They serve a hell of a sandwich.
After, of course, stowing their news pole.
Find the truck yourself by clicking on the Elliott St. Pub link above. Then click on “location.” It’ll take you to Google earth.