Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When It Rains, It Rains A Lot...

This day was a bad day to be a photog. It was constant rain overnight and it's still continuing as I type this. Rain is the great morale breaker. You can wake up with a great attitude and can't wait to get into work only to find the weather has turned against you. It changes your mindset. You go into defense mode. It's all about keeping yourself as dry as possible as well as your gear.

It seemed like my day was set for me. Just live beauty shots of a foggy downtown Cleveland landscape which would have made for a mostly dry morning by keeping me inside the live truck for the most part. I should have known it wouldn't have lasted.

My phone rang about 5:10 a.m. after my first second live picture. Russ, our desk guy, informs me that there is a working fire at a Beachwood apartment complex and they're calling a MABIS, basically a mutual aid broadcast, for surrounding communities to send equipment.

I broke down my live shot and punched the address into my GPS and took off for the fire. I fought my way through very heavy rain to make it there first. I was delayed a little because the apartment complex is gated and I needed to wait to get the o.k. from him. When I did, the Beachwood police were waiting to escort myself and the other stations to a staging area. I have to give the Beachwood P.D. major thanks for working with us instead of against us. They could have made it a real pain to do our jobs but they really cooperated with us this morning.

We did have to walk to the scene of the fire but we could get pretty good b-roll from the distance we were away. It was a three story apartment complex that was missing most of it's third floor. It was a quick moving fire, and the fire departments were doing a pretty good job keeping the flames down and localized.

I guess I automatically switch into "auto-pilot" when I'm on a big scene like this because I didn't really notice the rain. It was just shoot, shoot, shoot...get back to the truck...establish the signal....feed video back....run cables....set up camera...go live.

When Derek and Obie joined me after leaving their own live shot, I guess the adrenaline wore off a little and I noticed for the first time, "Damn...I'm soaked!!" My wireless receiver got wet and it proceeded to give out a static filled signal. There was so much rain, the a/v dongle that we plug into got wet and proceeded to put a bad hum in the audio which needed troubleshooting. After fixing that, I realized that I was really, really really soaked. The down into your underwear, uncomfortable kind of soaked. It's the worst feeling especially when it's cold and you're that wet.

What was the topper of the morning? Thanks for asking. It was when the Beachwood fire chief held a quick presser. My reporter Obie was holding an umbrella and as I was shooting, the runoff from the umbrella made an arc directly down in between my rain jacket and shirt. I nudged Obie over a little which helped until he adjusted the umbrella and started a Niagara-esque waterfall right between my glasses and into my eyes. It was like trying to shoot underwater without a scuba mask. All I could do was try to hold as still as possible while the chief was talking.

It was a cold and miserable drive back to the station because of slow traffic and equally as bad of a drive home. The hot shower I took when I got home was the best part of the day. That time I didn't mind getting wet.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saying Goodbye To A Friend

John Anderson was our morning show anchor for seven years. He became a very good friend to me and most of our morning show staff. You couldn't but like the guy (no matter how hard I tried...kidding, just kidding). His personality was just as warm as his smile. His wife Kristin, also a reporter at our station, was just as loved, if not more. I worked with Kristin only a few times as she worked nights but you couldn't help but like her. These are two wonderful people to know and work with.

Well, John went and found himself a new job at a different station and a bigger market (I know...how DARE he!!!). He'll be anchoring at WTXF-TV Channel 29, Philadelphia's FOX affiliate. They're getting a good man for their morning anchor. John will add to the character of their newscast and the reputation of their station for sure. I hope that WTXF will also add Kristin on to their staff as well. But if not right away, she'll have more time to tend to their beautiful twins.

I remember the first story I went out on with John. It was an anti-abortion protest across from one of our local colleges here in Cleveland. We clicked almost immediately and were in sync when it came to knowing what each other wanted and needed for the story.

From John's long overnights to his love of biking, hockey and raising money to fight Leukemia, to the final show where he got a whipped cream pie in the face which was done with love. He made the mornings special for those who worked with him and for Northeastern Ohio.

John, Kristin and family, you will be missed. God bless you all. Have a wonderful life and continued success in Philadelphia.

Just don't forget to boo Santa Claus so you can get into the Philadelphia holiday spirit.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Auto" Erotica?? Sweetest Day??

Ever wanted to lick a Jeep? Never? Yeah, me either. But you might have wanted to if you were selected to be a finalist in a Sweetest Day contest. To win, you needed to lick the chocolate off the front off of a new Jeep, exposing pre-placed stars. The chocolate was then meticulously spray painted on the whole Jeep. There were a total of six Jeeps, one for each contestant.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Then the two top lickers would need to find the car keys that were placed somewhere under 26,000 pieces of candy, inside the Jeep they were trying to win.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The contestants, three men and three women, were watched over by the "Candy Cops" to make sure that there was no biting or using of the hands in the licking segment of the contest.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

All I have to say is that there were some interesting techniques during the licking phase. It prompted one of our anchors to quip off air, "I didn't realize we were televising soft porn.."

After the half hour licking phase ended, two women...excuse me...two chocolate covered women were the finalists. On the count of three, the women opened the doors to the Jeep Liberty and out poured a flood of bite-sized candy bars and the search began for the elusive keys. The winner was an 32 year old ultra-marathon runner from Chicago who only got her license last year and has never owned a car before.

It made for some hilarious moments on and off air I really have to admit. Made for a very interesting morning live shot too.

The Director's Cut

I'd like to direct your attention to one of my co-worker's blog, The Director's Cut. It's a behind the scenes look at what goes on at our station and it is written very well by one of our best directors, Frank Macek.

He puts a lot of work into it and has some fascinating information to pass along about WKYC-TV and it's history.

Please feel free to check it out.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ok, I Caved

I'm not a huge fan of futuristic shooting genre games. But I guess I had to see for myself what the hype about Halo 3 is about. I have to say, it's a great game but for the life of me, I'm stumped.

I have no idea of what I'm doing. I'm still in the jungle and I have no idea of what I'm supposed to do. I guess it would have helped if I'd played Halo 1 & 2 but, like I said, I'm not a fan of that genre of game.

I'll keep on plugging along though. I'm not experienced enough to try multi-player online..yet. I don't want to help pad anyone's stats if I can help it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What Happens When It Falls In Your Lap

Since I was at home and asleep (since I work overnights) when the Success Tech shooting happened right across the street from our station, one of our finest directors, Frank Macek took pictures and posted them on his blog. It's a fascinating read. I invite you to visit it and read his posts..

Director's Cut

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

School Shooting

There was a shooting at a Cleveland Municipal School today. A 14 year old student who was suspended yesterday came back to school today and shot four people including himself. He is the lone fatality.

What makes this so stunning is the school, Success Tech, is right across the street from my station. Only 50 feet across the street from us.

I was asleep at home as I work overnights and my wife called and woke me up to tell me about this.

Watch streaming live coverage from WKYC.com

Friday, October 05, 2007


This morning I was outside of Jacobs Field for our AM shows, after the Indians whipped the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS. We had two reporters and my fellow photog, Derek, asked if we could use both our cameras and switch between them in the truck. I thought it was a great idea.

And then I blanked.

It's been over twelve years that I've had to genlock cameras. And I completely forgot how to do it for close to 15 minutes. Yeah, my mind went to static... ok, it pixelated (hey, we're in the HD era..) as I grabbed the reeler out of the second truck and tried to remember something that is very basic to do.

I finally figured out the Mount Everest of a challenge with about 10 minutes to spare. It wasn't really necessary to have a second camera but it made the show so much smoother and it looked fantastic on the air.

Then I figured out why I blanked. I turned 39 on Tuesday so that explains why I had a brain fart. I'm getting old. I could easily blame the RF that has rattled my brain but age is getting the better of me.

It's like the joke...A man goes to the doctor's office and the doctor tells the man, "I have very bad news. You have cancer and you also have Alzheimer's Disease."

The patient sighs in relief, "Whew!! At least I don't have cancer !!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

How Many Times Have You....

Wanted to do this to your reporter? A nice pie in the face? It was all planned and all in good fun but sometimes those professional mascots get to have all the fun...

Pie In The Face Video

Awww, Damn.

Why? Just, why? What pushes people to do such awful things to such young children? Their own children? I've not personally covered this story but anyone who has children has to feel a cold ball of ice form in the pit of their stomach.