I lived in California for many years, and the live high speed chases were (and still are, apparently) a staple of Southern California television, especially when you consider there are at least six L.A. TV stations with news departments and helicopters, all competing for viewers and ratings.
I live in Maine now, and back in the late spring of 2006, my (now) late father and I drove to a VIP store in Bangor, Maine to buy new tires for my father’s vehicle. I noticed a crowd gathered around a TV set in the waiting room, and when I went to join them, I was surprised to see a high speed chase on an L.A. freeway. I explained to everyone that this is a common occurence in southern California. I sure didn’t expect to see a live L.A. freeway police chase on a TV in Maine.
In 1991 I lived in the Santa Ynez Valley, in Santa Barbara County. One day I turned on the TV, and the California Highway Patrol was chasing a stolen red vehicle which looked similar to a Volkswagen rabbit. When the vehicle eventually stopped on the shoulder of the freeway, the armed suspect was fired upon by the CHP officer. All the windows of the vehicle were shot out, and the suspect was killed. All on live TV.
I remember when they had that tank chase. They opened up the lid and killed the guy right then and there. Turns out he stole that tank out of the armory in the town I lived in at the time.