WDBJ Shooting – It could have been me OR any of my colleagues!


I have to say I am speechless. I am having a hard time articulating how much this is bothering me. This blog post is by no means trying to make this situation about “me”…but it could have been me. Yes…I was that guy, that photojournalist. They had no idea…none!

This comes almost a few days after the ten year anniversary of Katrina. I was a part of a crew that covered Katrina for Belo Corporation, who owned WWL-TV. Yes, we flew helicopters over areas where people were stranded, many of whom were trying to get our attention hoping we would help them. Some used guns to shoot at us while flying over, mainly to get our attention…we could not land because of the location and the danger.

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What is Memorial Day…really?

I often wonder…how we truly understand Memorial Day. It is a day off for many…a day to cook-out, have family over to spend time, go to the lake, or just work in the yard.

What is Memorial Day? For years I used to mix up this national holiday with Veterans Day…until I became a journalist.

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Reminders from those who inspired us! #Passion

So it was the other day I was cleaning out my old office and moving everything to the new location. I was looking through some old boxes, pulling out old memorabilia…and look what I found.

One of my favorite people…one of the few that I truly admired in the broadcast television business gave me this card. While working for WCNC-TV in Charlotte, NC…I had the pleasure to work on a yearly project called Road Show. We would take the news to a different city each day for a whole month…putting our main anchors and brand right in the middle of the public.

The leader of the Road Show is a very talented producer, writer, wordsmith, and cat header. Yes…she crafted the show daily with special stories pre-produced showcasing the area we were visiting. It was lots of fun, we met lots of great people…but most importantly…we really grew together like a family.

I ended up working for Allison in Special Projects after a few years of the Road Show. During my time in Special Projects, I truly grew a tremendous respect for Allison not only as creative but as a person.

I remember I had only been working directly for Allison for a few months, and a great opportunity emerged to transition to the business side of the television industry. I will never forget that night I had to tell her. I shed tears and was worried I had damaged both our personal and professional relationship.

To this day…she has been one of my strongest advocates. Why? I am not sure…but she knew I had a passion for something bigger. She gave me this card shown above during Road Show. I have kept it ever since as a reminder.

“Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.”– Denis Diderot

I have to agree and thank you to Allison for pushing to chase my passions.

Bobby’s Road Trip Blog: Wrap Up

So this little Road Trip has come to a close and man this crew has had a blast.

We are not only colleagues, managers, and just plain Road Trip GRUNTS; but we act like siblings, crotchety old poops, and dedicated football fans after a huge win. We are THE Road Trip Support Staff…musical accompaniment is playing (I am thinking something like the Superman theme song???) So here is your chance to get to know a few of us…enjoy!

Now everyone knows the WCNC-TV Road Trip Show Hosts. You have Chris, Sonya, Terri, Chuck, and Mike. Chris and Sonya would trade off every now and then…that’s what we call, “Big Time”! But they have been with us all the way through, starting back at Halloween in Baxter…they made us laugh, cry, and even made the support staff scream. But we know it’s not their fault, they just claim they have to keep us on our toes! A little, aside…we just make fun of them when they walk out the door to head home, WHILE WE CLEAN UP! Anchors…it’s a tough life! Well, it’s time to meet the staff that makes the Road Trip happen, the GRUNTS! We earn our half dollar.

Well, the “Visionary”…her name is Allison Andrews and her “official” title is Special Projects Manager. I guess they had to give her a big title for being a creative genius! Oh, by the way…she has to approve this before it hits the web, so I am trying to take care of a little brown-nosing business! Anyways, she is the visionary of each and every stop. She writes, plans, and creates her little playhouse show each day from scratch. She is also the one who thinks up the impossible and hopes that it can be technically achieved! And when it does, you see this smile on her face that makes you think she just got served her favorite ice-cream!

The “Implementer”…that is Steve Kiser and his official title is Engineering Supervisor. This guy is the gadget man who can’t stop moving even though the work has been complete. It is his job to implement and achieve the Allison Andrews un-achievable! From wireless cameras to mobile, digital transmission…he finds a way to provide the exact technical support necessary to make the show seamless! His only downfall, he loves him some UNC! Oh, by the way…he thinks he is a Photojournalist????

“Whose your daddy” Jim Alvarez is the one that makes this ship run…he should know how since he is News Operations Manager. He is the budge tman, drill sergeant who believes in the big picture…the Big T Truth – WCNC-TV’s rise to prominence! His leadership keeps us moving forward and provides the appropriate perspective whether the set has proper lighting or the RV is stocked with Oatmeal Crème Pies! In his former life, he was a News Photojournalist in the major metropolis of Miami – for close to 25 years! He knows the drill and keeps the drill running…plus, he feeds us really good, “Whose your daddy???”

“Oh Voice of Reason” Mariano Archdeacon is the man with the plan…our trusty Director…he is actually the Production Manager, but Director by trade. Yep, he is the one tells us which camera is going to show what and who. There is actually more to the “Oh Voice of Reason” name for Mariano, he implements the visual imagery of Allison by making sure each camera shoots every shot according to the plan. We have an afternoon meeting with the crew before the show (around 3pm everyday). This is where he directs all the Photojournalists and Talent how they will visually appear. And then during the show, he talks to the Photojournalists over headsets during each segment while implementing the plan. His voice is always clam, concise, and precise ensuring the vision is television magic…hence, “Oh Voice of Reason”!

“Ms. All-Purpose Player” Jodi Winterton, you think is our Audio Technician extraordinaire; yeah, she fooled us all on this Road Trip! She is like a package deal…and if they had a draft for television personnel, she would be the one that would probably fall in middle of the second round with her un-assuming skills. But once you signed her, you would realize you better pony up some cash at the end of her contract. She can step in as a director and switch the show, tackle any engineering challenge, and pick up a camera and make movie magic! Yep, she out performed all of us this month, turning managers’ heads forcing them to give a “Come to Jesus” talk to the rest of the crew! You over-achiever Jodi! Go Ahead, Girl…hold out for negotiations!

Alright “Slick” Rick Grinstead…your praise is a comin! This guy just made my life easy during the month of November! As most of you know, Allison has this hang-up for trying to see how many places I can get to in less than a minute, with a twenty-five pound camera on my shoulder! Well, Rick made that easy! He is a Maintenance Engineer by profession but he sure knows how to problem solve and jump in as a team player. He was always there pulling the cable that connected me to the truck as I was running from one place to the next. He was always fixing cable connections on my camera with only thirty seconds to air-time! And when I was on the other side of the earth, he would grab my Digital SLR (Canon D20) and help me take pictures of the crew for my Blogs! And even though he is a Gamecock…I think I will shake his hand at the end of the day! Thanks Rick for making this month FUN!!!

Mr. Bob “The Oak” VanTieghem is the MAN. Why do I call him “The Oak”; well, it’s because he is the most dependable…and can always hold a shot off the shoulder that is solid as an oak! I mean, he can shoot a mile down the road and not even give the appearance that he is off of his tripod! And outside of holding a steady shot…he is the so dependable! You know that if by chance you walked out the door and left some weird gizmo that is…ohhh so important…you just wait ‘til Bob can find his bag of tricks! He has the “hook-up”!!! And if you need to find your way somewhere in the Tarheel State, “The Oak” has got you covered, because one of his duties is driving our satellite truck, and he has taken it through every nook and cranny in this state! As we call him…BVT, thanks for making sure…well, we were always covered!

And for you “Mr. Ironman” Steve Reynolds, I have lost ten pounds this Road Trip! Yep, he has kept me on task with my new diet! He is an Emmy Award Winning Photojournalist and a creative genius…but he is also the silent voice that has reinforced my conscience when it comes to getting back in shape! Even though I am a long…LONG WAYS from where I need to be, he has helped me with my final objective: REMOVE THE LARD! And for you Oklahoma fans…he loves him some Sooners! Yep, he has challenged (and opened up a CAN) on me when it comes to a match-up between Clemson and Oklahoma on his PlayStation! What he doesn’t remember is that Clemson beat Barry Switzer and his Oklahoma crew in the 1989 Citrus Bowl – Switzer’s last game! I am ready for a re-match Mr. Ironman!

How shall I introduce ole Dan, to me he is “Dan the Man”! Yep, Dan Crawford is not a fulltime employee of WCNC-TV but was hired for the month of November to help us where ever we saw fit! Poor Dan wasn’t sure where he was going to fit into a crew that already had developed a persona…but after a week, he was sure making our lives easier! This man can light a set with the best of them! What you don’t realize is that during the month of November, the light changes dramatically, calling for many different lighting techniques! From the use of “white 56K” light to “tungsten yellow” he knew exactly what it would take to get the job done! And he was always one step ahead, lighting and re-lighting…and I would fine myself saying, “Dan…You’re the MAN!” Well, Dan…hats off to ya, thanks for all your help!

So this is the time that I put a little plug in for those who would come out to either help when they had time or when we needed extra help! I give you the “12th Man Award”…here’s to you Jen Schnabel, Ken Carty, Bob Kachmarick, and Christopher Hayes! Yep, they added that little extra pizzazz that only these kindred soles possess!

Well, this will be the last Road Trip Blog for 2005. Bobby “Bloggy” Rettew has attempted to bring a different perspective to this month long trip. We have taken this show on the three times over the last two years and have met a lot of nice people. It is my hope that you the viewer have enjoyed our little tour of the area.

From Bloggy Rettew….thanks for everything!

Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/12/bobbys_road_tri.html


What I’m thankful for…

It has been a while since I sat down and jammed out another edition to Bobby’s Blog. For all you faithful readers, I have taken on a new name on this Road Trip…Bloggy. My real name is Robert Alan Rettew, Jr. and my father decided I looked like a Bobby when I popped out into this crazy world. Well, now Bobby has morphed into Bloggy…hmm, not sure about the sound of that, but I guess it will work? Now, let’s get back to the heart of the matter. Last week was absolutely crazy…and I mean weird, wacky crazy. From Biltmore to Mooresville then the South Park Tree lighting…we needed a day to enjoy family, food, and REST. Well, actually more food than rest. And as my family sat around the table we each took a turn sharing what we are thankful for…and it occurred to me to do the same for this edition of Bobby’s Blog.

Oh…where do I begin??? Hmm, I would have to begin how thankful I am for the many friends we have made along the way on each stop. It all started in Baxter…I never thought we would have so many people show up for Halloween. If you can only imagine all the different people from all the different cities that stuck their neck out, open their parking lots, cooked us food, and made sure we had all the necessary tools to make television magic!

It is still up for debate who loves us more…those Shelby people or the Gastonia people??? Alright, I am done being sentimental for a while. Let’s talk about what I am really thankful for, so buckle up.

I am really thankful that last week is over! Wow, the tree lighting was one long day. So long that I didn’t even have a chance to get my new Digital Canon D20 out to capture the madness. If people only knew what it took to actually get that day started, it would blow their minds. Just imagine three sets of “PR” people from three separate groups trying to make sure we park in three different spots. Three hours later we had displaced enough grass to sod a new single family home. I am still wondering if we are going to receive the bill for the trench the satellite truck dug while trying to park for the third and final time?

I am especially thankful for Friday and our visit to the new Northlake Mall. Let me clarify, I am thankful that Momma Bloggy was able to join the crew for a day while visiting during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Did she ever get an eye awakening moment! We pulled every bit of cable we had to get inside that mall and finished that last little bit of tape – which helped cover the cable so hundreds of thousands of eager shoppers wouldn’t trip and sue the pants of WCNC-TV. Momma Bloggy got to witness the Mike Redding antics as he laid flat on the floor of the mall, pretending he was exhausted from shopping. He was actually exhausted from being the only on-air talent that has been running from one side of a location to the other in less than 30 seconds…by the end of the Road Trip; he will be fully trained for the Boston Marathon.

So what else am I thankful for…hmm, let me think? Oh yeah…I still have one more final thought concerning the little wager between Chuck and I!

If most of you remember, Chuck lost a “little wager” when USC lost to Clemson two weekends ago. Yep, he bet his faithful colleague – me, Bloggy (who is a Clemson Grad…GO TIGERS). And being a man of his word, he did his sports last Tuesday night during the Mooresville Parade in a BRIGHT ORANGE jacket! While moaning and groaning (as any loyal USC fan would do) he explained the wager – with the help of Terri and Mike – and reminded us all that there will always be next year! Because of Chuck’s plight, I am thoroughly thankful that it wasn’t Bloggy’s plight, wearing Gamecock paraphernalia for a solid week! PUKE! Ohhh…am I thankful, the thought of Garnet & Black and the word Cocks (you know GameCocks) plastered to my head just doesn’t sit well with me. I would equate this with kissing my sister, cleaning a gorilla’s toe jam, or eating beets – maybe all the above! Thank you for Chuck Howard and his dire love for USC! I will quit harassing Chuck and taking advantage of his plight…it was fun though!

And finally, I am thankful for the wonderful crew on this ole Road Trip. We spend at least twelve hours a day, five days a week together. Traveling up and down the road, dealing with the worst situations and finding a way to make them work…visually! I am thankful (get ready, here comes the sentimental stuff) for the many friendships that have evolved, especially when I get irritable and they have to deal with my nasty mood swings! I am just plain thankful for the Road Trip!


Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/what_im_thankfu.html

Road Trip moves into Biltmore Estate

There is a reason why so many people trek from all over country to see the Biltmore House.

There is a reason why so many people trek from all over country to see the Biltmore House. Every which way you turn, there is just such a beautiful, peaceful image that you could only wish your digital camera could capture.

When it is time to chop down the ole fern and unpack those dusty boxes full of decorations, the Biltmore takes on a whole new life. I think of the Biltmore at Christmas as everyone person’s fantasy of the perfect holiday home.

First of all, there are more rooms, walkways, and hidden passages than one could walk through in one day. Can you imagine sitting in front of a fire place that you could actually drive a Mini Cooper through? How about dining with the family in a room twice the size of the average American single family home, with a towering 30 foot Christmas tree…then disappearing behind a tapestry into a private room just to get away from the in-laws?

And for all you Martha’s, as you walk through the house, you are taking mental notes “Ahh, I am going to wrap garland around my chandelier this year.”

It is every American’s ideal home, the one you only hope and dream of somehow achieving in a lifetime, and it was only Mr. Vanderbilt’s bachelor pad!

I can just smell the sweet fragrance of the Christmas tree over the soft choir voices echoing from one stone pillar to the next, the sights and sounds of Christmas…Biltmore style. And then…we pulled up!

Yep, once again our over achieving alter egos parked that big ole satellite truck right smack dab in front of Biltmore’s front doors. I even took a picture from the RV to prove that our production vehicles (with 6NEWS plastered all over the place) were sitting a short jaunt from the main atrium.
And then, it was time to pull some cable. Hehe…I laugh now; but Tuesday, the Biltmore security was up in arms as we drug 5,000 feet of wet, smelly, black cable through the front of one of the French doors.

If you have ever been to Biltmore (at any time of the year) you will remember all the security, roped off rooms, and explicit instructions DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING! It was like taking a herd of cattle through a room full of fine china from the Ming Dynasty! And there were pots from the Ming Dynasty in the library – used to have palm trees planted in them until the curators got a hold of them!

Where was I, ohhh; see…we get a little focused. One of the prerequisites for working in television is you have to have a great case of ADD. When we start working, there is nothing stopping our focus. Yeah…then, we met the security force of the Biltmore.

We were allowed behind the scenes and ropes of some of the most treasured areas of Biltmore. Every time we crossed a rope, a PR/Marketing representative had to call security to tell them we were crossing the rope, get clearance, then and only then were we escorted to the destination. That sounds reasonable if you are only carrying one load…yeah right.

We had to bring in cable, cameras, lighting, wireless microphones, and monitors. We had to test the cameras, audio, and lighting. Then we had to have furniture moved by a curator…if there was a slight possibility we might brush by the priceless article.

Now imagine this for eight different rooms spread out all over the house! And to top it all off, we had to pull cable up the front span of the house to the roof top.

Mr. Vandy must have been rolling over in his grave. I mean, if he was such a visionary…why not already have cable pulled throughout the house for us to plug into? It would have saved a lot of trouble on ours and the staff’s part! Oh, I remember, it was built in 1895…no television then, how could I forget. Well regardless, Mr. Vanderbilt was a true visionary! This man had all his I’s dotted and T’s crossed. We took a short tour of the attic and I noticed that the skeleton was built from steel. He was afraid of fires! There two-foot thick brick firewalls separating all the major sections of the house!

Anyways, it was worth all the mediation between the Marketing department and the Security force because the show was beautiful. It is not hard to do a visual show in such a visual setting! I am going to give a little shout out to K.C. of the Marketing department…she was the force behind our storm. If there was a way to walk from one side of the house to the other in less than a minute, she would find it!

But the best part of the day is when I made a new friend. I was trying to find a way to move into this next discussion with a natural twist. He came walking down the main staircase sporting his true colors! Yep, he was a South Carolina grad with all his garnet shining proudly as he walked in front of our lights. As you remember I am a Clemson grad and blood runneth ORANGE. So I put away all my pre-dispositions and shook his hand, because we beat those Gamecocks this past weekend.

This brings me to my final thought. Chuck Howard (faithful Gamecock) talked me into a little, let’s say friendly wager. I’m just glad Clemson won, because I was sweating the whole game – it was close, 13 – 9. Let’s just say Chuck will be sporting a Clemson pull-over tonight, ON AIR! Whoooo, Did I say I am glad we won…I am not sure if I could handle wearing something that says Gamecocks for five days straight! See ya at 4:30…Chuck will be there with all his colors; better yet, color – ORANGE!


Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/road_trip_moves.html

A loading dock of our own…

Did anyone ever think it would take five trucks to put on a month long show on the road? I mean we travel like no other; we have a satellite/production truck, back-up microwave truck, a lighting truck, an F-150 full on engineering paraphernalia, and a HUGE RV. I mean…an RV, just so we can meet, eat, and fill up three parking spaces! Well, most stops when the 6 News crew shows up on location, there is always that one person or security guard that didn’t know we are supposed to be there. You know, that one person that hasn’t had their ego petted lately and the MEDIA shows up in all its glory. And it takes three acts of congress, and enough time for me to play the slowest game of Sunday morning golf, to actually get in position to begin set-up.

But on Wednesday, the Carolina Place Mall gave us THE WHOLE LOADING DOCK to ourselves. I couldn’t believe my ears. We even had security guards waiting to accommodate our entourage! Allison, our trusty leader could have even parked her Monster Truck of an SUV in the spare space. Her Chevy must have forty-eight inch tires with a six inch lift; she will be premiering in the Monster Truck competition later on this month! The point of this is…the staff at Carolina Place Mall had their ducks in a row.

A brief tangent…where did that little get your ducks in a row idiom come from? I referred to the definition of the idiom on www.dictionary.com and found the following:
– Complete one’s preparations, become efficient and well organized, as in I’m trying to get my ducks in a row before I go to Europe. This synonym for get one’s act together probably alludes to lining up target ducks in a shooting gallery.

That’s weird, comparing organization to shooting fake ducks! I guess the next time I want to get all my ducks in a row…I will just line up the random things in the office I am trying to organize and shoot them with my grandfather’s, single action .357. More like disintegration than organization.

Anyways, now that I have cleared that up…Oh what fun it is to ride in five truck caravan, hey! And our caravan found the newly renovated Carolina Place Mall Food Court ready for our three thousand feet of cable, three cameras, six wireless microphones, two dozen lights, and four festive anchors (Chris, Terri, Mike, and Chuck). I am just surprised we didn’t trip any young children with all the cable we pulled! We used so much tape to secure the cable to the floor; we had to call in reinforcements…the Carolina Place Mall support staff. Yep, they made sure those mats – covering the cable for all the cameras – were so secure that it took almost the same amount of time to play another eighteen holes of golf to rip the tape back up! No one was going to trip on their watch!

There was a lot to do at the mall. From Mike trying to take us on a “Behind the Scenes” tour of Victoria Secret – Mike remembered it was a family show –, to Santa making an early appearance, and of course….food! Yep, a taste-test of some really good turkey…Chris is still nibbling.

But the highlight of the night was the fashion show. I am not sure if the WCNC-TV Engineering staff was more excited about the fashion show or the parents of the models because they were on live television! Both were taking pictures…and not of each other! And there was a chance to check out some new gadgets from Radio Shack. Terri and Chuck got so carried away with all the radio controlled toys…that the frequency from the controller messed up the frequency of their microphones. I guess no one was really listening, they were watching Chuck trying to run everyone over with the radio controlled hovercraft! Boys and their toys??? Actually my grandfather told me that “he who dies with the most gadgets, WINS!”

Speaking of men and their toys…we are off to the Convention Center in Uptown Charlotte for the 2005 International Car Show. I hope they have the new Mini Cooper! The Road Trip roles on…ZOOM ZOOM!


Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/a_loading_dock.html

Snakes, Parrots, and T-REX…

You think Mariano was scared of T-Rex…even the snakes made him quezzy. Direct quote from Mariano, “Whenever I see a snake in the road, I will cross ten lanes of traffic to hit it, then stop, back-up, and run over it again!” Man, what a barbaric guy…and he has two kids! Let’s just say we kept him isolated to the production truck! Enough of giving Mariano a hard time…let’s move on to more important topics.

One of the highlights was Mike Redding and his weird phobia not wanting strange animals to crawl all over him! Let’s just say he was attacked by a Kinkajou. BLESS YOU! No, that is not a French sounding sneeze; it is a monkey looking animal that is about is hyper as the Tasmanian Devil on a mixture of crack and chocolate! Can Tasmanian Devils eat chocolate??? Are they like dogs and die from a single dose???

I don’t know, it just sounded funny right there, maybe not! Anyways…that poor little Kinkajou was fixated on trying to get down Mike’s shirt. Now ladies…don’t get jealous; Mike put a good fight. I think he was actually scared of the harmless little guy! Now that I think about it, the little Kinkajou actually reminded me of a mixture between a little monkey and a cat. It had a cute little face and long tail like a cat, and the hands and feet like a small little monkey. And yes, the demeanor of a Tasmanian Devil on a mixture of crack and chocolate! Newsflash…straight from the Allison Andrews news ticker update – “This just in…Mike Redding was just attacked by a Kinkajou where the only injury sustained was the mangled earpiece ripped from his ear. Let’s hear from Mike ‘I’m just glad he didn’t eat my ear. Allison could have assigned me to hold the snake.” I think the Kinkajou has been taking lessons from Mike Tyson!

Now on to the animals that give most of us the creepy, crawlies – including Mariano – PYTHONS. Yep, as promised…the Schiele Museum of Natural History has a python and is about as fat around as my arm! Chuck, Chris, and Emmy Award Winning Photojournalist Steve Reynolds received a first hand Show & Tell session of our slimy friend. I am glad I was at least ten feet away…you know, the length of the python. As Steve was shooting the python, I could hear Mariano screeching over the headset.

I would be willing to bet that a snake that size could knock the alignment out of his car! Maybe the cost benefit analysis would be worth it in his mind…one more snack, off the streets! Mariano secretly works for animal control, undercover snake apprehension officer Poor Mariano…I have been fixated on his trepidation of snakes, all in good humor!

Well, I just want to give a shout out to the peeps of the Scheile Museum of Natural History! You have basically made four grown men want to crawl back to their mamas! Way to go…we hope to see you next time! And to Paige Herman – Marketing Director – you now have a new marketing campaign: They Came, They Saw, and They Left…Plum SCARED! The Road Trip roles on to another chapter in this month long quest of public relations!


Originall posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/snakes_parrots.html

So is it Christmas?

I’m sitting here and pondering a song that makes me think of my favorite time of the year…yep, Christmas. I am thinking of the first line…”So it is Christmas” and I can’t even think of the artist. I know it is either John Lennon or Paul McCartney. I just finished asking the Road Trip crew who is that famous artist…and no one knows! My faithful Director – Mariano Archdeacon – is now on the phone trying to help my deficient ability to recall names of artists. Survey says…it is John Lennon and the title of the song is Happy Christmas, The War is Over. I guess I think of that song during Christmas time because my father was huge Beatles fan and would blast this song all over the house to drown out the “cheesy” Christmas music my mother was trying to play.

I guess the purpose of this story is the fact we were at the Southern Christmas Show in the Charlotte Merchandise Mart on Monday. I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already…or is it? I mean, Thanksgiving isn’t until next week. I can’t even think past this weekend’s Clemson/USC game in Columbia…GO TIGERS! By the way…I am the only, lonely Clemson fan on this Road Trip crew. Chuck Howard is a faithful Gamecock…even though his Alma Mater is from somewhere in New York. And, Rick Grinstead – Engineer Extraordinaire – is also a Gamecock…and is a graduate. If he was only exposed to the true force – ORANGE – maybe we can show him the light. Enough of that tangent…Monday was all about sugar plums, ornaments, Santa, and all the holiday décor you could possibly imagine.

The Merchandise Mart was a winding maze of everything you could possibly ever want to decorate your home for Christmas. And along the edges of the walkways in that winding maze, you will find all the husbands who had their arms twisted to come along and help their spouses. Yep, they were flat on their hides waiting for their wives to re-emerge from the plethora of holiday cheer…hoping that the Christmas budget wasn’t shot in one stop! Some were even drooling because their heads have been planted against the wall for so long; they have fallen into REM sleep.

The best part of this whole image of holiday joy is the fact that the Christmas Holidays don’t even kick off until the day after Thanksgiving. Those men better start building up their tolerance, especially if they are already down for the count after one day of shopping. I am speaking from experience. The first few days of shopping…I grin and bear it. Because I know that it is only the beginning until all the family members’ lists are complete and the all the Angel’s from the Angel Tree have gifts. Thank God for the conception and invention of the internet and e-commerce. I personally like LL Bean, free shipping baby! I just know that the more shopping that I take part in as a collaborative part of our family, the more college football bowls I get to watch. Once again…GO TIGERS!

So I guess it is Christmas…no matter how you look at it! I guess it was good to have this stop early in our month, to get my shopping tolerance ready. I just know for the next few nights, after getting home from the Road Trip – pulling cable & running with a camera – I will be crawling through the attic looking for all the Christmas boxes! I love how every year when I go into the attic, a new box emerges…another box of decorations that depleted our holiday budget! I am just looking forward to A Christmas Story marathon (you know…Ralphie and his imagination) and the yearly rental of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.


Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/so_is_it_christ.html

Why take a Road Trip?

So I bet you are wondering, why do we at WCNC-TV broadcast a Road Trip only certain times of the year? Why is it not a part of our regular newscasts year round? And what is up with this Road Trip Extra starting a 4:30pm…thirty minutes before our regularly scheduled newscasts? All good questions, and hopefully I can shed some light on these posing questions. All questions that even we as employees ask ourselves in an attempt to re-affirm our commitment – or goals – when it comes to this major production.

So let us start with the first question…why broadcast the Road Trip on certain times of the year? Get ready for the million dollar answer to the multimillion dollar question, so buckle up! November is one of our four ratings period during the year – February, May, July, and November to be exact. We are in the business to bring content to our viewers in the hopes to gain a big enough audience to convince advertisers to pay us for ad time. But that is just the small picture, or the short term investment perspective.

I am a journalist not an MBA. The long term, bigger picture answer is simply this…we know that every television station in the market is promoting their television product in the hopes to also gain viewers. Even the biggest primetime shows are promoting to gain viewers during these monthly time periods. So, we are hoping to capitalize on those viewers clicking the remote to see something new and different, to gain someone that is willing to invest in a long term relationship with a quality news product. And now the bigger picture, we are on the biggest PR campaign a station can put together. We are out on the streets trying to meet our viewers, hoping that a one-on-one relationship will be yielded by some good ole fashion grass roots, city-to-city campaign.

So this leads me to the next question…why not put on the Road Trip year round??? Well, I go back to one of my earlier blog entries. We pull resources from many parts of WCNC-TV – from Special Projects, News, Production, Engineering, and Creative Services. We spend months getting ready for a month of broadcasts by planning and getting our regular jobs ahead so when we pull ourselves from our daily commitments, our station doesn’t fall apart! Our managers spend months and months budgeting, forecasting, promoting, and planning just to get ready for these month long campaigns. Logistically we would have to hire a staff to put this on every month of the year, so if you like the Road Show…you could email Belo Corporation to increase our budget for a staff to put this show on for your viewing pleasure!

And this leads to the final question, what is up with the Road Trip Extra starting at 4:30pm. Well, about a month ago…our regular 4:30pm show – A Current Affair – folded and went off the air. So we wanted to find a replacement that would be a good transition into our 5pm newscasts. So, we had already planned to do bring you the Road Trip for the month of November, well our brilliant minds decided to expand the Road Trip into a thirty minute show that would give you a better taste of each stop along the way.

So the point of this little thesis discussion is this…we want to find every opportunity to get out into the public to meet you – our audience. This is done in the hopes that we can forge more relationships while meeting our faithful viewers. This little discussion also provided perspective for our faithful crew…the reason why we are here, on the road. It isn’t about departmental territory, the ever present lighting discussion, or even who is working the hardest; it is about you the viewer! If we as the crew are creating a place where you as the viewer can enjoy a few minutes of fun, thought provoking content…then we have met our goal. See you tomorrow at 4:30pm…the Road Trip rolls on to the Merchandise Mart!


Originally posted: http://www.beloblog.com/WCNC_Blogs/blogger/archives/2005/11/why_take_a_road.html