Drone Usage by TV Stations Will Increase Thanks to New U.S. Federal Drone Regulations
Have you wondered why more T.V stations are not using drones in their coverage? The reasons were mostly regulatory issues that governed the commercial usage of drones. The only T.V station in Indianapolis using a drone was WISH-TV Channel 8 and even they only used the device sparingly. However, new and improved federal rules could mean things can change soon.
You will soon see footage which was shot using drones on various channels. Television industry experts are counting on the new rules to increase the usage of drones in news reporting. The regulations which will come into effect from August 29, say that commercial drone operations no longer need pilot’s licenses.
This opens up the drone space for various drone experts who may not hold pilot’s licenses. Drones can now be flown before dawn and after dusk and can fly much closer to people than previously allowed. Regulations governing flight plans of drones too have been changed; pilots no longer need to provide their flight plans 24 to 72 hours in advance.
“The holdup for a lot of stations has been seeing what the FAA was going to do,” WISH News Director Al Carl told a local media organisation. “And now that this is getting settled, drones are now going to be a very important news-gathering tool.”
He also added that very soon all of their stations would have a drone and they were now discussing how the new regulations would help them utilize the technology better in news gathering and coverage.
Similarly other channels too have begun discussions of buying drones. Tribune Broadcasting’s WXIN-TV Channel 59 and WTTV-TV Channel 4 is exploring ways to add drones to newscasts, its vice president said.
While covering breaking news could become easier with the new regulations the stations have only used it for planned events in the past. However national news outlets have used drones in live breaking news situations including a July 3 suicide bomber attack in Baghdad.
Other experts agree that drones being used for sourcing news will change news coverage for the regional outlets and will become an absolutely important part of news broadcasts and soon will become essential.
The usage of drones is not only going to provide access to areas where it has been difficult to reach quickly earlier, but also be more cost efficient than hiring helicopters. As more stations buy drone it will become an industry standard as outfits without Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be at a disadvantage.
While the current regulations make it impossible to cover unforeseen events, the new regulations could change the way stations approach disaster and recovery operations apart from various other outdoor events. Drones make it possible to shoot great images from a height that could be difficult to achieve with even a helicopter. Drones are however still not allowed to fly above people who are not under cover.
Apart from safety issues there are also privacy issues that concern many people regarding commercial drones. The Radio Television Digital News Association has industry guidelines on drones. However critics have pointed out that the new FAA regulations don’t address privacy concerns fully. It could be much easier to invade the privacy of people with a drone than a cameraman or a helicopter, experts said.
Drone manufacturers are thrilled with the new regulations and have said drones’ use in T.V news sourcing was long overdue and that the UAVs have been proven useful for various functions including search and rescue operations, construction surveys and educational purposes apart from recreational uses.