Nov 20

Another “We’ll say ‘We knew him when'”

This is, I told Drew, one of my favorite parts. He’s a sports guy. One of the co-directors of the sports division this term. And he’s going to graduate in a few weeks. But he came over to the news shows this evening to do a bit of fill-in work:

He was, of course, ready, prepared, hit all his marks and drilled the delivery of a concise sports segment in a larger newscast. Did it in one take, as cool and as confident and as comfortable in the contrivance of television as someone can be.

It’s one of my favorite parts because I knew I got to watch him present tonight, and I’ll get to see him work one last time on Thursday and then he’ll start making his way out into the world, where the real work and the real learning begin. But I’m not thinking about that. I’m stuck remembering when he showed up as a freshman. When he somehow became the A1, and then talked the upperclassmen into letting him do extra segments if they found extra studio time. So he came to productions camera-ready, just in case, for several weeks. And, finally, he got his chance.

He’d written a new timely segment every week, just on the prospect of getting to stand in front of the cameras. And now it was here and they put him in front of a monitor and ran some graphics over it and he worked through the thing. It was obviously his first time, but he learned a lot, and quickly. He took the advice to heart. And now, three-and-a-half years later, he has a year of those solo social media hits under his belt. He’s taken all the classes, had the internships. He’s done the reporting and live shots. He was a beat reporter for tennis one year and football one year. He’s been a sports director. He’s hosted the talk show for about a year-and-a-half or more, now.

I stood off from the camera and watched him present tonight and thought about all those starts and stops along the way and enjoyed watching him carry himself like the young professional he is. It is, easily, the best part of my job, watching them grow like that. It’s fascinating to see. The really talented people we get, and we get some real talent, you can just see it all blur together for them. First they were halting and then they become dynamic and ready to really hone their skills.

I wish I had more time with those students, focusing on some specialized finishing school stuff, but those that go into broadcasting will get a terrific crucible experience in that new first job. May they all land somewhere exciting and sooner than later.

I did this interview on Friday, I think, and I sound exhausted! I had no idea until I listened to it on playback. Then again, I’m about six weeks into waking up tired. Everyone is pretty much in the same boat right now; keep your stones in your stone satchel.

Sorry, Kyle. It was at the end of a long week near the end of this crazy semester and I had some small degree of sleep and then I got to talk about economics.

But it’s kind of important stuff, as describing forecasts and prospects go.

Despite my exhaustion, economists are fun interviews. If you talk with them consistently you can learn a great deal about economists.

Oh, and I feel much more awake today. It’s only Tuesday, after all. No one is allowed to be tired on Tuesday. By mid-Wednesday, all bets, however, are off.

Here’s the morning show from Monday! Which they shot on Friday! And it’s a semester-ender, so, as is tradition with this show, they got a bit reflective.

They have a good time with it.

Useless fact: they were recording that show while I was talking with the economist. What does it mean? Who can say?

Nov 20

Plenty to hear and see

Have you ever had a day that started with the best of intentions, but then the clock did something weird and you don’t get any of the planned morning things done? You’re not sure how, but you’re left saying, Well, today’s list just became Thursday’s.

No? Just me? OK then.

I recorded something yesterday and it’s out there today, so, please, enjoy:

It seemed a logical line of questions to me. Should we do this? What should we do? How should we do this?

And I’ll tell you a little secret, I got into one of these topics and I was just trying to keep the question on track and under control and thinking How can I do Christmas? Should we even be talking like this? and it’s a little bit heart rending. So, as you might imagine, the question wasn’t going so well.

But just as that happened an alarm on my phone went off. And that gave me the opportunity to re-frame and re-phrase the question. And Shandy Dearth, who is the public health professional here, is a total pro. Also, she’s got really solid advice and perspective and you should listen to what she has to say.

I got home tonight, shed the clothes that had been exposed to the elements of semi-public society, took the cleansing and decontaminating shower and came downstairs to a plate almost ready for dinner:

All I had to do was put the meat on the rice. That’s thoughtful, and full service romance.

Also, it was pretty tasty, too. And, I’m told, we’ll have a flaming onion tomorrow …

It was a studio night tonight, which is an excellent reminder for me to get caught up on studio stuff. Here’s a sports show from late last week:

And here’s a talk show, where they talked about the greatest of all time in all the big sports.

I think they should do a greatest of all times in lesser-known-in-America sports. Make them work at the show prep, and really stress having to sell the argument to an audience who already doesn’t think about Tom Brady or Michael Jordan or Lebron James or whomever.

You know what I need to know? I need to know the best flat to ever swim in water polo, and the greatest brakeman in bobsledding history.

Now that’d be a show worth sinking your teeth into.

Until we get that, please scroll back up and listen to that podcast. Please, and thank you. And wear a mask and social distance and stay home when you can.

Oct 20

A true multimedia day

Happy Catober! We’re showing off the kitties in a separate post every day. While shot is of the two of them sitting together, most of the upcoming photo feature will show them off one at a time. You’ll have a nice shot of Phoebe tomorrow, and Poseidon on Saturday, for example. Today’s opener is also a classic photo, from this summer. They’re both relaxing on a cover I built to keep them … off … the stove top.

So, in a sense, that cover works. In a sense.

My day started with a morning meeting about spreadsheets. At least I wasn’t filling them out, because this particular database is organized in a somewhat mysterious way. The end product promises to be promising, but the front end has unique demands. Fortunately, a very nice person was interpreting what I had to say about the information involved and she was able to make that work within the spreadsheet.

If you can be lucky enough to find pleasant, talented people, the database mysteries become less mysterious.

And so it was a long day, because it started in that Zoom meeting and then it moved directly into a podcast, and then into a whole host of other things.

Careful and attentive listeners — and that’s you, right? — might remember I interviewed Dr. Baggetta a few months ago about running a political campaign during a public health crisis. (And tonight, boy, that seems like an interesting topic, doesn’t it?) I wrote him during the debate and asked if I could follow up with him on one quick point. He wrote me right back and said “We need to talk about all of these things.”

So we did. It is public service podcasting, basically. People in this state have a few days left to register to vote, and he gets into that and much more. It was an easy interview, a clean edit and I had it all online in a few hours, including lunch and actually driving in to the office.

The work day ended after 8 p.m. in the television studio. And in between it was a blank, windowless world. It looked like a nice evening from the studio, though:

They did sports tonight. I watched from the studio, and peered into the crowded control room and remain impressed by how it feels more like March than September. Which is to say there’s a degree of prompt professionalism already coming into the group. You never know how each group within each year will go. Interpersonal dynamics, a new team and new leadership every year and all that. And then you add in the time we lost in the spring, the longer layoff, and maybe, just maybe, all the other things going on in the students’ regular lives this year, and I really had no idea what to expect this year.

They’ve been focused and efficient and ready to get the job done. Now, in the case of the sports crew, they just need more sports. But until that happens, they’re starting to expand their boundaries, which we are encouraging. It is, I keep saying, a great year to experiment.

Here is a brief news show from Tuesday. Just needs some more news.

And a real-life celebrity on the pop-culture show.

I hope they figure out ways to get more of those types of interviews on their shows.

Anyway, home just in time to shower and have dinner and then do the dishes and stare at the many different glowing screams.

It was worth it, for this:

Sep 20

A collection and an assemblage of bits of things

Hey! Look! I’m on TV!

Nice selfie, huh? I went to the morning show’s shoot this morning, and then got called into a meeting right after taking this picture. By the time the meeting was over, the morning show taping had wrapped. These students are getting pretty proficient at all of this. Even the engineer, who works every day with professionals, complimented them about that. It’s a business that requires quality at speed, and they’re putting them together nicely.

I spent the afternoon in an audio booth, where I’m producing a tutorial. I did not demonstrate speed today, but I have some nice shots for the eventual package.

Got a nice shot of the Canada geese skipping town today, too.

Just go ahead and go. Quitters.

Sports! Here are some videos the sports gang produced last night. There’s footage of an intramural home run derby because, while we don’t yet have formal varsity sports, everyone is pulling together programs as best they can. It’s kind of charming in a way.

And here’s the talk show for the week, where you will get a history lesson, indeed:

Need some financial advice? Here’s a financial Quick Hit:

And that’s enough for today. To the weekend! Be safe, because you must. Be happy, because you can.

Sep 20

A political campaign ‘listen to this’

When I was in graduate school I took a class on political communication. The professor was a famous and renowned pollster. And after a day or two the professor would ask the class a question and the class just looked at me.

I was conscientious of that. I didn’t want to be that guy, but they were pretty clear that I should be that guy. The professor would later become my committee chair, did me a few solid favors in the program and later took credit for introducing me to my wife.

He was only slightly wrong about that, but he’d earned the literacy license with me.

So esteemed was Dr. Powell in our eyes that, despite him asking us for years to address him by his first name, “Because we are colleagues,” we all still refer to him as Dr. Powell. He’s a good man.

And I was thinking of him while I was interviewing Dr. Gerald Wright, who is in the political science department at IU. We talked about the upcoming presidential debates. So I was very happy for the opportunity, because this is the part of politic campaigns that I like: the message construction, the real body work.

The debates, probably not as much. They’re important, but they’re not. You know what you know about the candidates. You like who you like. And not much that can happen at a debate, or even a series of them, will move people who have made up their minds.

They’re debates, but they’re not. The formats aren’t really debates anymore. We don’t know all of the details about this debate cycle, yet, but there’s little to suggest the previous sentence will be wrong. It has been written that they’re basically press conferences in their current form, and that’s not exactly wrong.

They’re entertaining and informative, but they’re not. You have to follow and know politics to be entertained by them. If that describes you, you won’t learn much that’s continually informative for you. If you’re apathetic to the process in general — and far, far too many are — then you’re probably not watching, or paying only scant attention anyway.

They’re a part of the process, but they’re mostly just a tradition at this point. It’d be terrific, from the perspective of civics, if they were more than an academic study. I’m sure Dr. Powell will have a great deal to discuss with his classes during and after the debates. And I bet Dr. Wright will, as well. You get the impression, from the interview above, that he’ll have a lot to say to his students’ benefit.

He asked, before I could remind him, if I wanted the soundbite answers or the professorial answers. You’ve no idea how much I wanted to insist on the really in-depth stuff.