Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Posts Tagged ‘Sally Showman

How to Be Smooth

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Wireless Microphone

This is a quickie.

TV and radio are technical professions.  Everybody depends on everybody else for a smooth outcome.  Mistakes happen; lights burn out, things fall over, the wrong button gets pushed, a graphic disappears, a computer crashes.  But when they happen, people work to make them as unnoticable as possible.  That doesn’t always happen.  Reporters, anchors and hosts get caught off guard by flubs, both those of other people and their own.  They might apologize, do double takes, start something over, laugh or do any one of a thousand things people do when they’re surprised.

But being smooth is part of being professional, and sometimes, someone is so simply casual about fixing a fix that you have to admire them for it.  Such was the case with KOIN’s Sally Showman this morning.  At the 8:30 local news, traffic and weather break, the camera cut to her giving her weather forecast.  Her lips were moving but nothing was coming out.  There was a problem with her audio.  And smoothly, almost unnoticably, she reached around behind her own back, switched on her wireless microphone, and, as they say in the Army, “continued to march.”

How did she know we couldn’t hear her?  Possibly someone on the studio floor motioned to her that her mic wasn’t working.  Maybe (if she was wearing an earpiece), the director told her to turn it on.  But considering the blooper tapes I’ve seen in my life, even pros can sometimes make something as simple as pushing a button look like a Steve Martin routine.

Live broadcasting is an acquired skill.  It is a dance; gear, people, timing and electronics all choreographed while you drink your coffee.  You’ve seen so many dances that you, discerning audience that you are, know when somebody is stumbling.  So, when there’s a problem, it’s not enough to just fix it.  The fix must also be as ordinary as it is elegant.

Smooth.

Written by Interviewer

February 11, 2016 at 00:01

Mike Murad Gone

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Mike Murad Gone

Ten months ago, I posted a blog post about the fickleness of broadcast management when it comes to who they have sitting in the anchor chair.  At the time, the sacrifice du joir was former KOIN morning anchor Chad Carter.  Mr. Carter’s chair was still warm when they brought in Mike Murad.  Mr. Murad was formely from KBOI and Boise’s Treasure Valley.  And his landing seemed to kick off a fresh look and feel for KOIN’s morning news, including a new and snappy ad campaign that included Meteorologist Sally Showman, Anchor Jenny Hansson, Traffic’s Carly Kennelly and Murad, all getting along swimmingly in front of a new set and behind new graphics.

Fast forward to last week, and a Twitter post (see above) where Mr. Murad is suddenly unemployed.  And he has to be gracious about it because he’s probably looking for work in another market and he doesn’t want to look like a bad sport to a future employer.  He simply says “Management said they wanted to go in another direction.”

Again?  This is the kind of thing that can make a viewer wonder exactly who is driving the train, or car, or clown car.  You know he was vetted.  You know he was focused grouped to death.  You know they spent a lot of money believing he was money, baby.  And now, he and Mr. Carter share a pitiful truth about the broadcasting business.  It quite possibly doesn’t know what it’s doing.

And just like before, I wonder how the staff is weathering the change. This is hard shit.  For months, we were fed that happy, cheerful spot of the four of them seemingly loving each other’s company as a way of convincing us we would too.  But I wonder if this is just another reason for people at the station to worry about their own jobs and, like Madame Secretary, know they better just hold it in and keep going.

While the station possibly looks for a new face, long time local rock of a reporter, Ken Boddie, is joining Jenny Hansson at the anchor desk.  Seeing these two pros side by side makes me marvel that anybody ever gets to stay long enough to become a pro.  And seeing Mr. Boddie in Murad’s old seat tells me KOIN management didn’t have anyone warming up in the bullpen which makes me think this departure was sudden rather than the previous one which seemed more planned.

Just as an aside, Mr. Murad’s tweet is dated March 16th, which was a Monday.  I first noticed something was wrong after I started counting the number of vacation days he probably had that I though he had certainly used up by now.  So, he’s been off the air at least two weeks.  If industry norms prevail, he was probably let go on a Friday.  And that tweet is from his own account because according to Twitter, his KOIN twitter account, @MikeKOIN, doesn’t exist anymore.  It was almost certainly and immediately deactivated.

Nice.  Real nice.

Written by Interviewer

March 23, 2015 at 13:12