Sunday, October 29, 2006

Monkey See(perverts)
Monkey Do(perverts)

Apartment XNow WXII is jumping on the Apartment X, er, To Catch a Predator, er, Sexual Predator sting operation bandwagon. (Of course, so did we. I had the plesure of editing a story shot the day before by another photog who had Friday off when it was ready to edit and air. It's no in-depth undercover overblown effort, but it got the same message across...a week earlier.

So now 12 is running the promos on their air (nothing online yet) with Bill O'Neill promising to uncover the Sexual Predators of the Triad. No fancy billboards like the CBS affilliate promising to tell the 'dark secret inside Apartment X' but here's the kicker....they are airing on the same night, both at 11!

Kind of makes me wished we would've held ours for a week.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sketchy News anchor

Uhmmm...I hope he has a good alibi.

As seen on

Apartment X
The Real Truth

If you've been driving around the Piedmont Triad and seen these signs you may wonder what in the world they are all about. I'm here to tell you. I'm going to spill the beans. I'm going to break the silence. I can do that because they are the competition and I don't answer to them. Of course anything I say will be purely speculation but it's fun to talk right?

Apartment X

The pricey billboards aren't the only gag in this heavy ad campaign wrapped seemingly around ONE story that's supposed to get viewers to watch for the whole month. On WFMY you can see promos during primetime shows that may get lots of viewers that we all know don't watch that channel for news. (I'm smiling now)

The thing is, a lot of times the promo department really goes the extra mile to sell potential viewers on these stories and then the story airs and it's such a let down. That's a good thing when it's the competition. It's never happened to me. (bull$H!#!!!) I digress.

It's just unusual to have so much hype around ONE story. I mean, billboards, vague promos promising answers and warning that "Viewer Discretion is Advised!"

It's the only story I've heard they're doing for the whole month of November. Hell I'm working on 7!

Of course, they've done a good job, they got my attention and I'll probably watch, or at least DVR it. I would advise you to do the same, but I can't, my bosses wouldn't like that. (But if you can keep a secret I'll tell you can watch it if you'd like if you don't participate in this cult activity because if you don't you don't count.)(smiling again)

If you don't feel like watching it and want to know what it is right now keep reading. Here's what I think.

After using my DVR to save them, my $300 (not so)fancy cam to play them and my (sort of)high tech(but not like CSI) computer to and view the latest vague, dark video, audio mutilated promo forward and backwards and with the latest and greatest (or not) digital enhancements I have dicerned the following...

Well nothing really because I didn't really do any of that.

I watched the promo twice and thought about what I saw and heard and I think they are going to pull a cheesy knock off of the highly popular "To Catch a Predator".

They will have "Johns" coming to Apartment X thinking they are going to meet a young teeny bopper and instead it will be a room full of TV cameras and stiff haired talent.

That's what I think. If I'm wrong I'm pitching it for February.

I think we'll call it "You Can't keep Secrets with Apartment Sex"

You heard it here first!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rolling with the President

The title of this blogpost means exaclty what it says. I was the local TV Pool Photographer selected to travel with the President's motorcade to all of his stops as he visited Greensboro and Randolph County today.

My day started just about 45 minutes before the gigantic 747 named Air Force One arrived with President George W. Bush onboard.

Presidential Visit (1)

I went through all of the security checks with the rest of the media, bomb sniffing dogs, metal dectectors, and a thourough hand inspection fo all our gadgets.

As the plane taxied up to the staging area and parked the local media pool was joined with the national pool as they came off the plane.

Presidential Visit (2)

President Bush didn't waste any time getting out either and we were quickly off to 4 stops in the next 7 hours.

Pres gets off plane

There were 6 of us with the local media pool.

Presidential Visit (10)

I was there to provide video, photographer Joe Rodriguez and reporter Morgan Josey with the News and Record, photographer Paul Church and a reporter with the Asheboro Courier-Tribune, and Ria Matthews with WSJS Radio.

Presidential Visit (12)

We were assigned to a white rental van called press 2 and were were given strict directions to not to fall behind when the group was leaving, to run to the van if we had to or we would be left. Once the motorcade was rolling the driver was not allowed to stop and pick up stragglers.

Presidential Visit (7)

Our first stop after leaving the airport was listed on the press advisory as a "lunch with community leaders". The lunch stop was at Stamey's BBQ resturant on High Point Road across from the Greensboro Colliseum.

Presidential Visit (6)

We were allowed about 5 minutes inside the restaurant as the President surprised the patrons with his presence, stopping to shake hands and talk to the people, even talking to one guys wife on the other end of a cell phone call.

Presidential Visit (8)

Soon we rejoined our van driver, also a local, Kernersville resident Darrell Davis. Davis is a friend of Jake Cashion who helps arrange the local help for the stops.

Darrell kept the conversation going and was just as excited as us to be able to follow the President so closely. He especially like being able to just drive right through all those red lights.

Presidential Visit (11)

It was almost time to leave Stamey's and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was looking busy on the phone.

Presidential Visit (14)

From Central Greensboro the motorcade made its way to the East side of the city to Waldo C. Falkener Elmentary School. The President visited with 2 classes wowing the kids with his presence.

Presidential Visit (15)

The students were able to show him how what they were learning about and told him they had spent the week learning about the office of the President.

Presidential Visit (17)

In another part of the school the media and school and local dignitaries filled an auditorium to listen to the President talk about the No Child Left Behind Legislation that he would like to see continiued.

Presidential Visit (22)

He talked about the virtues of No Child Left Behind and touted this schools extreme success using Federal money from the program.

Presidential Visit (28)

As the local TV Pool Photographer I had a front row speeh to the 40 minute speech.

Presidential Visit (31)

And since all of the other media were privy to this scene I had plenty of time to watch, listen, and pop off a bunch of pictures.

Presidential Visit (32)

I didnt' quite nail the self portrait.

Presidential Visit (36)

My cohorts of the newsroom were stuck at the back of the room but were no less intent on catching every syllable.

Presidential Visit (21)

Eric White seemed to be hanging on every word while taking notes carefully.

Presidential Visit (39)

Fellow Photojournalist Matt Jensen holds his position on the risers.

Presidential Visit (20)

Remember that I wrote that once the motorcade was moving it wouldn't stop for stragglers?

One of our group was left behind after the stop at Falkener School.

Presidential Visit (40)

Ria Matthews with WSJS Radio dropped her recorder under the media riser and was delayed while retrieving it. She never made it to the next stop. She ended up back at the airport where she retrieved her bag from the van.

Meanwhile the rest of us were with the President on to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Level Cross.

Presidential Visit (44)

The President met NASCAR King Richard Petty and drivers Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson were also on hand to greet the President and show off the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Presidential Visit (45)

ABC's George Stephanopoulos got some exclusive private time with the President while the rest of the media waited, sequestered in a building where we could only peep out while they walked the grounds.

Presidential Visit (50)

After the ABC Crew went inside to do the sit down portion of their work the rest of us had some play time.

The mostly non-NASCAR educated group wanted to call this CARJACKING. While correct as a joining of two words, it was funny to think about it as a CARJACKING.

Presidential Visit (46)

Above, one of the NBC staffers trying her hand at jacking a race car.

Presidential Visit (47)

NBC Audio Engineer Joe Shalhoup (above) could pass as a pro!

Presidential Visit (53)

White House Press handler Mary Tifany (above) had a stylish way of handling the pit jack.

Some of the Secret Service and other media in suits also gave the pitjack a look...some trying it, others not.

The President also tried his hand at a pit crew job. He used an electric lug wrench to remove the lug nuts from a race wheel setup.

Presidential Visit (54)

After the stop at Victory Junction we road back up Highway 220 to the Irving Park Community of Greesboro where the President held a $1000 dollar per plate fundraiser at the largest home in Greensboro. While that was closed to the press we were takedn to the Greensboro Country Club and treated to a BBQ dinner and desert.

Presidential Visit (56)

Around 8 we jumped back in the van and it was back to the airport, the 747 and as quickly as Air Force One landed it was in the air again.

My sister noticed a cutway of me in a story on WRAL...toward the end of the story...I'm in the middle. (My sister's YOUTUBE pirate of the same story)

And the footage from my day of Rolling with the President can be seen on my station website.

News 14 even had a bunch of the Pool Footage in their coverage.

What a week.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Roadtrip: Los Angeles

The following pictures and words don't and won't tell the whole story(for now)... but follow along for a quick glimse into how a even a simple TV Photog from a medium sized market can get a great travel assignment every now and then.

Travel in the TV business, especially when it means jumping on a commercial flight, isn't cheap and schlepping heavy TV gear onto airplanes to cross the country isn't easy, so more often then not, TV stations rely on sister stations, those stations owned by the same company or linked by affiliate, to provide the footage from local stories in distant cities.

LA TRIP (18)

But last week a story came up that put me and my fancy XDCam on a flight to Beverly...Hills, that know... Swimmin pools, movie stars.

It all started last Thursday...2 of my co-workers had already turned down the last minute offer due to previous commitments but when the bosses asked me to fill in it only took me about 2-one-thousanths of a second to clear my schedule and calmy(on the outside) accept the assignment.

Of course the only things on my weekend schedule were the Converge South blogging conference and a trip Sunday to see my 1 year old nephew. (he's coming to town next week anyway...)


As the plans were finalized and the details were sorted I disassembled and packed my XDCam and it's numerous accessories into two carry-on bags, and shipped my tripod, lights, cables and battery charger out to the hotel.

I was given Friday off in lieu of my impending long weekend and Saturday morning at 4-30 am I crawled out of bed to catch the 7-am (ET) flight to LAX.

6 and a half hours later I was looking at views like this...


yeah I know just the airport...

I had traveled alone to Los Angeles and had a nearly 2 hour wait for the reporter traveling with me to arrive on her later flight. So I took the shuttle over to the rental car place, got the car and went back to the airport.


I still had an hour to kill so I made the most of my blogging contacts and called up fellow TV Photog and blogger, Bryan "Be" Frank. He only lives a few minutes from LAX and so he jumped in his jeep and picked me up to give me the quick tour of his town.


It wasn't anything extravagant...really just enough time to go around the airport once but it was awesome.

LA TRIP (21)

Of course, one end of the airport butts up against the Pacific and provides this cool-ass view of what I think he told me was Santa Monica.

LA TRIP (11)

We talked a little shop, snapped a few pix and laughed about the similarities of the situations of our respective TV Stations.

LA TRIP (14)

I took in the views with the little camera in my brain, trying to soak up as much as I could knowing that this would likely be the only time I had to stop and gawk.

befrank 2
(beFrank Photo)

Really Cool! And what a nice guy Bryan is for taking me on the quick tour.

LA TRIP (15)

But I had a reporter to pick up at Terminal 5 so we continued our circle of LAX heading back east on the north side of the property.


Bryan showed me as many things as he could on our round about, including one of the last remaining open areas in the Metro area that is a wetlands that is slowly being encroached upon by developers.

LA TRIP (16)

We got back to the terminal just in time for me to jump out and for my reporter to call from her just landed flight. Then it was off to the assignment that would tie up the rest of our day.

LA TRIP (22)

After 3 hours of shooting I made my way back to the airport and grabbed the 1-am (PT) redeye back to NC. I was able to get a little sleep on the flights back, but certainly not the quality kind.

32 hours after leaving home, I was back on my couch, in bad need of a little sleep!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nielson Mania

Unlike my generic yet slick Nielson refernce in my last posting, Nielson has a more direct part in this rant.

We're mere weeks away from November, arguably the most important TV month of the year because it's the bar by which ad rates are set for the following 12 months.

And lookee here...Nielson want's to measure MY habits. Too bad they can't because I work for a TV Station.

Nielson 2

You'd think that with all their carefully orchestrated, calibrated and pontificated reasearch that they'd realize or have something on a database, somewhere that tracks TV Employees that aren't eligible to be metered. Heck, I've already told them at least once before that I can't play their game. Sorry.

Nielson 1

And by the looks of things this isn't your standard TV Diary, Black Box Household type of survey. It's for a week. Interesting.

Personally I'm not so sure I like these types of surveys. Their website says they only use 9000 households that is about 18,000 people to measure the viewing habits of the entire nation. That's a sample of .0235 percent of the 76,775,560 people that live in the states.

(Yes that's just a little more than 2-hundreths of a percent, NOT 2 percent. I already moved the decimal.)

And that .0235 percent would only be 307 people of the 1,304,040 metered individuals in this 652,020 metered household Greensboro DMA. (Although I think the local number of metered households is consideralby higher but I couldn't pin down a number on the Nielson Website)

At least with the web I know precisely how many people read this stuff, when, for how long, linked from where....etc...

BTW - As a TV Station employee you must wait patiently for Nielson to call you and then tell them your employment status. That quickly ends the call.

Thanks for looking. :)

UPDATE- I went to see the new Robin Williams movie "Man of the Year" tonight and there was a great Nielson reference in the movie along this same thought process. It was as if they had taken it right from this blog.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Live, Live, Live

In the news business there is one word that sets the tone for a newscast...LIVE.

There are few newcasts without a Live Report from the field somewhere.

And with the November ratings period creeping up on us we can probably consider October as just a warm up...

Pre-Live-Caron (4)

Of my recent Live adventures around the triad the story behind these pictures sticks out. A teen driver rear ended a car that was waiting to make a left turn. The two passengers in the bed of his pickup truck were thrown to the ground as the truck slid into another car.

Pre-Live-Caron (3)

The boys were all taken to the nearest trauma center by a medical helicopter and we were all over it.

These pictures were from our follow up coverage the day after the wreck. We had figured out that this intersection has a bad history. The grandmother of the boys had a serious wreck there and 3 other relatives of this same family died in a Christmas (Eve or Day I think) wreck at this intersection.

Pre-Live-Caron (2)

With the community crying out for a stoplight or at least a flashing caution light it was our duty to spend the 5 and 6 o'clock hour broadcasting the facts from the intersection itself.

The shot from our mast camera 50 or so feet up made the Live Shots better than the ordinary brick wall shot.


I was just thankful that it didn't turn into another one of these.

(Happens about 35 seconds in.)

There was one minor major snafu on this day. Our converter box that changes the firewire digital video signal to analog quit working. Nothing I could do would make it pass a signal. To make it worse I didn't have a backup firewire cable preventing me from passing the firewire signal through my XD Camera. (the Firewire Cables in the truck are routed neatly and unavailable for rigging)

But, alas, Caron had a portable USB device and with our SNG (Sattelite) Truck just 5 miles down the road I devised a plan. The other crew was also reporting about the wreck but they were LIVE from the boys' school.

I exported the story from the laptop to the Gigatick and was going to ask a member of the other crew to drive their newscar to us but we had an off duty deputy that had stopped by to chat with us while he was on his way to an off duty job and since he would be passing by the other LIVE location I sent him on his way with the lead story for 6 o'clock.

(It was great cooperation between the media and law enforcement, unlike in EWink's problems in Vegas.)

I think the other crew was surprised to see a deputy pull up at their Live location with our story in hand because they talked about it for days.