Posts Tagged ‘live reporting’

The Funky Chicken

What Chicago Olympic bid?  What healthcare debate?  There’s a chicken on the loose at Concordia University Chicago!!!  When I considered this assignment for “Good Day Chicago” this morning, I was concerned it would be like a wild goose chase.  But minutes after arriving at the school, students were asking “Are you here for the chicken?  Please don’t take him away!”  There were “Save the Chicken” signs all over campus and students were more than happy to flush the guy out for an appearance on live television:

Alright, it may not be the most hard-hitting story.  But within an hour of the report, I had quite a few emails, messages and tweets about the chicken.  Several viewers said, “Thanks, I needed that good laugh this morning.”   Steve wrote, “I have had the worst month of my life.  I’m losing my house and lost my job.  I haven’t found anything funny lately but that chicken story you just did made me laugh so hard!”  A viewer named Mike said, “Been miserable for several days but laughed my butt off with that chicken report.”

I’ll take covering a chicken over death and destruction anytime.

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22

09 2009

Spacing Out

Mast extended to establish microwave signal.

Mast extended to send microwave signal back to the station.

It takes quite an effort to report live from various locations.  Usually, we use microwave technology.  A signal is sent from a dish on top of a 40-foot mast that extends from the live truck.  We have numerous receive sites all over Chicagoland in order to bring that signal into the Fox Chicago newsroom and then out to your televisions.

But in some cases, locations may be too far or too low for a microwave signal.  Cue the satellite truck!  It was put to use yesterday when I reported from Dyer, Indiana.  A viewer came up to the truck to ask, “Where’s the tall pole thingy?”

Beam me up, satellite dish!

Beam me up, satellite dish!

Well, no need for that thingy when we’re in the satellite truck – this dish beams out to space. But assignment editor Lisa Sharmat notes that we only use it when we have to. Satellite time costs money and there are just more issues involved – booking the times, figuring our coordinates and other techie stuff.

Our crews have strict guidelines and standards for operation of the trucks.  I no longer worry about any risks or health effects.  But early in my career, there was little research and a lot of concern about regularly working in trucks beaming signals.  A former cameraman once joked, “Your kids might come out with three arms!”  I worried during both of my pregnancies since my husband also worked in television at the time.

No need for satellite time while reporting from Michigan Avenue.

No need for satellite time while reporting from Michigan Avenue.

Thank goodness my son and daughter are healthy.  But, sometimes, I would love to beam their messy rooms into space!

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18

09 2009

Organized Chaos!

Who's on first?

Who's on first?

One morning show, 8 live segments, 1 taped report, 5 live interviews and over a HUNDRED guests!  That’s what I needed to juggle this morning for our “Good Day Chicago” food drive coverage at the Jewel-Osco store in Glendale Heights.  I hope I pulled it all off okay and didn’t look too frazzled.

What an amazing community!  Among the volunteers and donors;  the mayor, local police and fire departments, veterans, students from at least 4 schools and the incredibly enthusiastic staff from Jewel.  Among the grateful who’ll be distributing the food to the needy:  workers from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

I am always assigned “hit” times when I’m out on location.  But since it’s a live show, those times are always rough estimates. So I spend a lot of time “standing by”. In between, it’s great to meet and greet people as I continue to monitor our show through my earpiece. Segments often get changed around during the show.  There may be breaking news or a live studio guest running late – that’s the way it goes.

Cameraman Ed Flynn explains how the live truck works to students from Glenbard North HS.

Cameraman Ed Flynn explains how the live truck works to students from Glenbard North HS.

It’s all worth it.  By 10 o’clock this morning, Jewel-Osco reported over $100,000 in store donations – $3,000 from the Glendale Heights community alone.   But this is only Day 10 of Hunger Action Month. C’mon, Chicagoland!  There’s still time to donate at your local Jewel-Osco or join our next live drive.

Give a little.  Feed a lot.

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10

09 2009

Time Share

Cameraman Ed Flynn & Patrick Elwood, reporting from where I had stood just 15 minutes earlier!

Cameraman Ed Flynn & Patrick Elwood, reporting from where I had stood just 15 minutes earlier!

Learning to share is something we stress to children but it’s clearly a valuable lesson far beyond childhood.  This morning, I shared a live truck with my noon show co-anchor Patrick Elwood as we both reported for “Good Day Chicago”.   Once in a while, that’s just how it works out.  It’s an efficient way to get more live reports in the newscast while establishing more of a presence on the streets.

Cameraman Ed Flynn set up the live truck near Union Station.  Patrick was covering the White Sox and the surprise trade of Jim Thome.  I was covering the state’s new tax on candy and liquor.  Viewers on the streets were surprised to see me and Patrick in person, at the same time.  But I wonder how many viewers at home noticed that we were fronting different reports from the same location.

Charles Thomas of ABC7 Chicago stopped by the truck to say hi.

Charles Thomas of ABC7 Chicago stopped by the truck to say hi.

For my report, I bought sour gummy worms, candy bars and Twizzlers to illustrate how the new tax applies to many favorite items.  I only shared a little.

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01

09 2009