Saturday, June 7, 2008

a view from the inside

Grandma Smith worked for Channel 8 for many years (twenty something, I think) before she retired. She was in charge of traffic ~ which means making sure commercials are paid for and get placed in just the right spots. From what I hear, she was the best! The news studios were just redone a couple of months ago, getting ready for all the new HD transition. So, while we are on track break, Grandma offered to arrange a tour for us. 

The day started off well. I had to go to a class so I took the kids to Grandma & Papa's. Danny was kind enough to drop the kids off at my class location afterward so we could jet over to the studio in time. It was going to be close timing, but frantic driving was not going to be necessary. That is, until I missed the turn to the street the studio is on. That was the last turn off before the road I was on becomes an arterial thingy and there's no turn off for about 2  - 3 miles. There was some cussing. No problem, I'll just make a u-turn and redo. Until I saw the wreck on the other side of the arterial. That wouldn't do. I called Greg to see if he knew a short cut. He didn't. So I thought I'd make this little loop on streets I knew. I'd be five or ten minutes late. No worries. I just might get some ugly looks from others waiting for the tour. Are you kidding me? Apparently the martians has landed in the middle of the street and everyone was gawking at them and taking tours of the space ship because it took me half an hour to get to the studio! I called Grandma Smith at the time when we were supposed to arrive - no answer. At one point I informed the kids that this field trip might have to be rescheduled. Tears ensued ~ theirs and almost mine. I'm pretty sure my blood pressure was outrageous at this point. Through a series of phone calls I got the message that she'd wait until we got there, not to worry. 

When we got there we found out the tour had started already, but Grandma Smith would just take us around and we'd meet up with them later. So, Grandpa Smith, the kids, and I got the personal tour. We met people Grandma used to work with. We saw sales offices. We saw the master control. The lady running the teleprompter computer was very nice and explained a lot to the kids. I tell you what, you cannot have ADD and work in that room. Holy cow. There was a lot going on in there.

Then we got to go in the studio ~ while they were filming the news! This is where we met up with the tour lady and the other two visitors. I asked if it was alright to take pictures if I turned my flash off. I just meant of what was going on. 

The guide misunderstood what I meant, I think, because at the next break she ushered the kids up to see Charlotte. During a previous break when we first came in Charlotte turned to all of us and greeted us very warmly. She was wonderful to the kids. Later we saw her in the hallway, with her daughter who is around the kids' age, and she was very chatty with the kids.

Here we are watching the newscast. You can see the green screen for the weather in the background. There were two green screens in the studio.

Here Tedd is doing the weather. You can the the monitor over to the right that shows what he's pointing to. I think this amazed the kids the most. It's kinda funny to watch him point to nothing. It must take a lot of eye-hand coordination to do that.

We watched the news for a while, then went around the offices some more. Then went back in the studio. A different set of newscasters were on for the 5:00 news. The kids were getting restless standing there the whole time, so they sat on part of the set that wasn't being used.

Paula was also very lovely to the kids. She was very impressed to hear that the kids watch the news all the time and know exactly who she is. 

After the 5:00 news the kids got to check out the weather computers with Tedd. He was very patient and explained some very cool stuff to them. 

We had a wonderful time on the tour. Being late turned out to be a better deal than if we had been on time. We got a much longer tour since it was Grandma guided and got to meet more people and see more things probably. Grandma was very excited to introduce her great-grandchildren to everyone. I mentioned this to the kids and Heather asked if we should be late to stuff all the time. I told her that being late doesn't always work out well at all.

Thanks Grandma & Grandpa Smith for a wonderful field trip. We loved it!

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