KREM cancels news shows to mourn killed staff member
News stopped for mourning Thursday at KREM-TV.
The Spokane television station canceled its 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts in memory of chief photographer Gary Brown, who was killed early Sunday in the fiery crash of a helicopter in the station’s parking lot.
Brown, 28, was killed with helicopter pilot Cliff Richey, 49, when they were taking off to photograph the annual Bloomsday road race. The helicopter crashed after it struck guy wires for the station’s transmission tower.
A memorial service for Brown was held Thursday. Services for Richey are scheduled for Saturday.
“As with any family which has lost a loved one, we needed this day to work through our grief and to make some sense of this tragedy,” said co-anchor Dennis May in a one-minute statement broadcast at 5 p.m. The entire news staff appeared on the air during the statement.
“We ask you for your understanding,” May said to his television audience.
He also expressed his condolences to Richey’s family and friends.
“It is always painful to be reminded of the fragile balance between life and death,” said co-anchor Beverly Carr.
“We feel better having had yesterday. We needed it so much,” KREM news director Jan Allen said today about the decision to cancel the news programs in memory of Brown.
“The staff is very close. We spend more time with each other than our spouses. It’s like losing a family member,” she said.
The hourlong 5 p.m. newscast, and the half-hour 11 p.m. slot, were filled with documentary reruns from KREM’s Seattle sister station, KING-TV.
Friday, May 10, 1985