So when they told me I'd be spending New Year's Eve in the control room I wasnt exactly thrilled - I mean I like myjob but the Time Warner Center is not my first choice of locations to ring in the New Year. But then I thought, hey, I'm with my friends, it's dark, there are a lot of tvs and a lot of yelling... plus a champagne toast at midnight - it's probably not all that different from spending the night at a bar.
If you're not familiar, the control room is the center of the show - the director, producers, writers, graphics coordinators and more all gather to make "it" happen. It's my job to make sure we have all the video elements and they're the best we can get. It's a very high stress, fast-paced environment where you have to be prepared for anything to change at any moment.
Last night was a production several months in the making - mostly orchestrated by one of our senior producers, Ted Fine. (I'm sure he thinks I'm trying to earn brownie points now...) During big shows you can also count on a free meal - the drawback to this is when we get dinner delivered you know they expect you to be working hard because there's no excuse to leave the newsroom even to eat.
To prepare for the special we had conference calls every day last week to book satellite trucks and go over locations. Then yesterday we had three more calls throughout the day with all of our reporters in the field and producers in New York to go over the rundown minute by minute. But no matter how much planning goes into a show, the final culmination in the control room frequently involves a lot of screaming and quick-fixing. And of course all that is entirely dependent on the technology actually working...and it failed us a few times early on in the night. I won't rehash any moments, but if you were watching you can probably guess what I mean.
Of course having a host you're not familiar with, especially someone of Kathy Griffin's reputation, is a gamble, but I think everyone was incredibly pleased with Kathy and Anderson's performance. Even as we were giving them wrap cues we didn't really want their banter to end. In our business, it's a testimony to the strength of a segment if the control room is paying attention - well, can testify that more than once we all stopped to just listen and laugh.
What did you think of the show? What did you think of Kathy? If you missed it you'll have an opportunity to watch some highlights tonight!
--Ashley Corum, 360 Control Room AP