Lights, Camera, ACTION – at 4AM?



ALL quiet on the set at 4AM

COMM Majors have many different directions to go: Public Relations, Organizational Communication, Health Communication, Mass Media and Journalism. This story is about working at WFRV-TV Channel 5 as a camera operator and: Living The Mass Media Emphases Dream.

As a part time employee – and lowly student – no one gets The News Anchor Job right off the bat so my day starts at 4AM – along with two other employees. We start the day by setting up the studio including turning on all lights, preparing the mics, the IFBs, the monitors and breakers…and they must be the CORRECT or things get quickly chaotic and confusing. All three cameras are put in position; everything is wiped down; everything looks nice and clean on your screen at home.

It’s 4AM… I must be Dreaming!
Next, it’s off to the News Room. This is where all the producers, writers, reporters and directors work. It’s empty now because it’s 4:15 in the morning, so you and your coworkers start making phone calls to all the police stations in the market to see if there is any overnight crime news that’s newsworthy for the audience. Most days, there’s nothing to report.

Before you leave the news room, I must make sure all the printers are filled with paper – or heads will roll! (I’ve learned, several times, that the key to Peace on Earth is paper in the printer.)

Then, it’s back to the studio to get ready for the 5AM Live Broadcast. We record a few things with the meteorologists and wait for scripts and rundowns to be printed – which are printed at “exactly” 4:45AM every day. We then run those rundowns around to allthe departments at the station (but there are very few people are in their offices at 4:45).

Cue The Sleepy Anchors
For the 5-and-6AM shows, the floor director gives the news anchors cues and the cameras are moved around for the different shots the director has planned.

After the shows, you record a few more things for the day and come back for Local Five Live – a talk show with two female anchors talking about food, local events, news, etc. You then run Local Five Live as you did for the 5-and-6AM shows, but it’s more relaxed and you have more freedom to move cameras with fun, moving camera shots. This is also the show where you get to deal with all the guests and making sure everyone’s mic-ed up. It’s the show that has the most running around in a studio packed with people.

Once that show is a “wrap,” you clean up and go home – or to school (or take a nap) = ALL BEFORE 10AM!

Among her other many duties, Haley Rettinger is a camera operator on the WFRV TV5 News Team.

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2 Comments to “Lights, Camera, ACTION – at 4AM?”

  1. thecommvoice says:

    a LONG day 4 sure!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic story. I used to do this same position for WFRV, and you’ve described it accurately!

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