SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - This is the 195th Saint Patrick’s Day in Savannah, and for more than five decades, WTOC has brought the day to you with live coverage.
WTOC has been showing the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade since the mid-60s. It has to be entertaining, but there’s also another audience we have to think about. That’s the audience of the traditional Irish in Savannah who count on us to tell their stories.
The older parades started at the north end of Forsyth, and headed downtown. Things really changed when Doug Weathers suggested a change in the start of the parade - back on Abercorn and Gwinnett. That way, it went right by the old WTOC building, which made it possible to show live. The parade committee even admits that’s part of the reason it really took off, as it suddenly became a regional event on television.
“More people become aware and say, ‘hey, that’s cool, I’m going there,’ so it enlarges there, and then it just grows exponentially through the years to a state, national, and international event, but the roots of that are that incredible, incredible decision to move so that it goes by WTOC," said Craig Harney, WTOC.
Harney goes on to say that he believes our coverage stands out because we are the ones with deep roots in the community. He bases his philosophy of coverage partly from something past Grand Marshal Tommy Brunson told him, while recalling his days marching as a young Irish boy marching through the old fort area.
“If you didn’t get a chill bump, you shouldn’t have been there anyway. You didn’t understand what it was all about," he said.
We want a parade that shows what it was all about.
Counting our three cameras covering the mass in the Cathedral, WTOC will have eight cameras for our coverage on Saturday, and our drone with shots from the parade.