WKAR-TV To Air COVID-19 Program

Mar 26, 2020

Tonight, WKAR-TV is airing the first episode of a new locally-produced series focusing on Coronavirus and COVID-19. The program is hosted by Shawn Turner, a professor of strategic communication at MSU and a National Security Communication Analyst for CNN.

WKAR's Scott Pohl talks with Shawn Turner about “COVID-19: Answers and Insight.”


SCOTT POHL: The program that's going to air on Thursday night has been recorded as we talk on Wednesday. How did the program go? Tell me a little bit about the production.

SHAWN TURNER: This was a first for us, because of the precautions that are in place with regard to social distancing. We were recording our show via video teleconferencing. I think that's important because we want to be able to provide information to our guests. We said at the top of the show that there might be some glitches and that we might have some issues, and certainly we did. But again, we had really great guests providing really fantastic information for older adults, and for everyone dealing with the corona virus. I think that all in all, the show went quite well.

POHL: WKAR had set up a mechanism for people to submit questions, and they could even send in their question via video. Tell me about the kinds of questions that we got from our audience.

TURNER: We were able to get some really good questions, and as a result of Gov. Whitmer’s executive order requiring that people shelter in place, some of the things that people really wanted to know was what exactly that executive order meant for when, and under what circumstances, people could leave their home. People were really interested in whether or not they were required to have any special sort of documentation when they left their homes.

As you may know, this first show was exclusively focused on the older adults in our community, because as the data has shown us, they are much more susceptible to serious illness from Coronavirus. We had questions regarding what older adults should do to help protect themselves, what younger adults should do to support older adults, and we were able to really provide some detailed and thorough answers to those questions.

POHL: What would you say were some of the biggest concerns of the aging community in the area?

TURNER: Some of the major concerns that we are seeing from older adults in the community really revolve around their own susceptibility and risk for contracting Coronavirus. As you may know, the CDC has put out statistics that indicate that people over the age of 65 are significantly more likely to suffer serious, serious illness as a result of contracting the virus, so we were getting questions and answering questions about just how the virus is spread, about how often older adults should be in contact with younger adults, and what their vulnerabilities are.

We have older adults who still need to go out to the grocery store. They still need to go out to the pharmacy and get their prescriptions filled. They still need to take their pets out for walks. There are a lot of concerns about what exactly that means for the spread of the virus and how they might contract the virus as a result of those activities.