Spotlight Article: Covering the State of the City
What goes into doing a live show like this? Quite a bit.
First, there are two separate crews who take part in the broadcast. One crew is located on site including a technical director, audio person and audio assistant, floor director, camera operators and other maintenance personnel. They arrive early and set up the equipment, test the audio and video feeds from the cameras & microphones and make sure everything is ready to go at air time. We utilize a little homemade setup that is fairly mobile and allows us to set up inside, near the event. Plus, we have an on-site Director. For today's show, it was our Production Manager and co-worker, Al Wohl, who was responsible for overseeing the production on site and calling the shots once the broadcast hit air at 12:30 PM. Al has been doing the "State of the City" broadcast for the last several years, and knows just the right shots to cut to of the people the Mayor references in his speech. In additon, there is a floor director on site (today, Greg Klinc) who takes cues from Al and makes sure the City Club started and ended the event on time.
Back at the station, we have a whole separate control room crew who takes in the remote video and audio feed from the site and adds graphics, provides videotape playback, commericals and tops off the broadcast as it goes to air. Plus, the broadcast's producers (Brooke Whitney and Rita Andolsen) were in the "booth" making sure everything went according to the format they put together.
Today, I was the control room director who oversaw this end of the production including directing the in-studio portion with anchor Barbara Gauthier. This coordinated effort between Al and I is made a whole lot easier because of our ability to talk directly with each other using the Matrix communication system. We know what each other is about to do so nothing unexpected happens.
Also, today was a "historical" day of sorts for the broadcast because it was the first time that we collaborated with WEWS to bring you the event. They provided the camera operators and set up in the lighting and we did the rest. This allowed us to share the costs involved and each got to air the broadcast live.
Overall, it's a fun project that is different from the daily grind of newscasts. It's more local and live programming. And even though, it's not a glamorous event - like the Oscars - the event is an important one for Clevelanders because of what's at stake locally.
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