Monday, June 04, 2012


Every weekday at 4 p.m. I am in the booth — PC2 as it's called at work, the place where the producer and director pilot the newscast, about 70 paces from the studio.

It's usually cool in here; the AC is needed to keep the machinery from rising up against us. Keith Brown and Melissa Weatherford are the directors — the people who control the cameras and punch the camera shots. What you see is because of their work.

I'm the senior producer. I pick the stories, put them in order and write the words that Joe Daues and Leigh Moody say. They rewrite many of them, of course; nothing I write is so precious that it can't stand some polishing. And they've got the hard job — looking past the camera and engaging the people who are watching. It's a talent. A man's got to know his limitations, and I know mine. That's why I'm in the booth.

This job has its stress. Things change during an hour-long newscast. Stories break ("and we fix them," as some people are fond of saying in newsrooms). Furious typing has been known to happen in the booth. Directors have been known to pound the counter. Producers have been known to speak their curses in cursive.

And yes, sometimes the director and the producer say things in the IFB to the anchors and the meteorologist, Kevin Lighty. It's like Broadcast News, only I'm Holly Hunter and Leigh's better looking than all the anchors in that film. And no one sweats like Albert Brooks.

We're pros. At 3:58:26 p.m., we click in and deliver the best damned newscast in Missouri. For one hour, one minute and 34 seconds, we're rock stars. We make good television. And lucky me: I get to play a role. Not bad for a pencil-neck print geek from Los Angeles.

Gotta go. We're in the F-block right now; second main weather. Gotta keep this plane flying and on time; gotta bring it on the runway without crashing at 5:00:00 p.m.

Piece of cake. I am a bad-ass.

1 comment:

Mitman said...

So you're the bad-ass who avoids jeopardy for l:01:14 so that I can watch Jeopardy! Thanks! Also, the BDNCinMo is a pretty fine lead-in!