Well, here we are at the end of the first full year of WBONtv bringing you local news in Central Kentucky. We compiled the top ten most viewed, and most discussed news stories that we produced over the past year for 2018.
Of course, breaking stories mostly of crime and wrecks beat out almost all of these for views, clicks, and shares, but we wanted to focus on the feature stories that garnered some attention over the last 365.
Starting off at the 10 spot, the opening of the new Boonesborough Elementary School was long awaited in Northern Madison County, and WBON was able to get an inside look as the finishing touches were being added before the doors officially opened for the 2018/2019 school year.
Next, at number 9, a century-old train got a little off track in Waco, and we rushed down to the scene in a field to find the train, which was on a tractor trailer that had gotten a little off course. After 48 hours, the semi and the train were removed, and the train was able to be delivered to its intended destination in Irvine. The irony, we were told on scene, is that the field used to actually have train rails running through it!
Coming in at the 8 spot for memorable stories, one that is no doubt important for those here in Richmond and Madison County: the final ending to the trial for the death of Richmond Police officer Daniel Ellis, who was shot to death in 2015. Gregory Ratliff and Raleigh Sizemore Junior both pleaded guilty, the latter who received life without parole. Although the death penalty was taken off the table, the tear-filled courtroom scenes were moving enough. We also got interviews with Ellis’s widow and his brother, who had very differing opinions regarding the long-awaited outcome to the trial.
Our Sports Director Michael Watkins brought us the story for the number 7 spot which blew up, centered around an Estill County High School baseball player and young man battling a rare form of cancer. 19 year old Austin Dunn graduated high school as he was fighting the rare, aggressive cancer in his nasal cavity. The baseball team got together to raise money to help Dunn and his family as the only option for treatment for the severe disease is in Boston.
At number 6, you dough-not understand how many views our surprise donut story got…we were a little shocked too! It turns out Berea has a passion for the breakfast treat, and there was much buzz before the opening of Hole and Corner Donuts on Chestnut street as their whole marketing strategy was that of secrecy. We got to taste test and check out the yummy treats ahead of the cold open for the now popular breakfast mainstay.
It is only appropriate for our election coverage to break the top 5, as there were 80 two minute sitdowns with all local and regional candidates running for office shot, edited, and produced here in our studios. Not only were the sitdowns to get to know those running for office a huge success and undertaking, but our live coverage across multiple counties and courthouses and panel here at the station for both the May Primaries and the November elections got so many views, it nearly shut down our website!
Following that at the 4 position, the Hines motel series was an interesting look inside the infamous building on Big Hill Avenue. WBONtv followed the story from the beginning, getting quite of bit attention with each new addition to the timeline. Not only did we get the school board’s perspective and legalities involving the declaring of imminent domain, but also the eventual evictions of those long-time residents. We went on site to talk to those that still remained even after the evictions, to get their perspective before police and lawyers had to get them off the property. To end it all, we captured the eventual destruction of the building that has long since served as a bit of a landmark in Madison County.
The third most memorable story of 2018 would be that of the President Donald Trump visit to Richmond, which marked the first time a sitting president visited the city. Thousands lined up to support Trump hours before he arrived to speak at Alumni Coliseum on EKU’s campus, as well as quite a bit of protestors.
At number 2, one that we were no doubt first on scene for: the fire of popular watering hole Bluegrass Barrel House attached to Bernie’s Motorcycle right here on Big Hill across from the station. We were on scene before the first sirens even wailed through the air and got footage of the inferno early in the morning in July. We also compiled follow up interviews with the owners who got the place back on track..and it recently re-opened better than ever after months of reconstruction!
And finally, one that literally nearly took our streaming service off air because of the sheer amount of views: the infamous dog fight captured on film in Richmond. WBONtv happened to be in the area and captured two dogs nearly tearing another one apart in the grisly footage that we could only put on our streaming site because of the graphic nature of the content. However, because of our video and the work of local police, the perpetrators were brought to justice. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
As we provide video stories to you daily, there are obviously so many more that didn’t make the top ten, so I have to throw out some honorable mentions: Governor Matt Bevin visiting Richmond for a town hall (which caused quite a bit of contention), the death of the White Hall Volunteer Firefighter, Wilgreen Lake and the ramifications of it closing, and the pit collapse death of the worker at would have been Menards here in Richmond also made a huge footprint on our views and shares.
We want to thank everyone that watches and follows our local news here at WBONtv and all the Wallingford Broadcasting stations, and we hope you have a wonderful New Year.
Here’s to lots more (hopefully positive) stories for 2019!
Here is last year’s list, where we have even more exciting stories that you can review: Most Memorable of 2017