I thought I’d give you a little insight today about what goes on behind the scenes of WKBT News 8 This Morning Show. The staff at Channel 8 has been nothing but kind and generous to me for the past 3+ years. Jennifer Livingston and Bill Graul make it look easy but that is in part to the great crew they have working behind the scenes with them.
On a typical morning that I am on, I arrive about 6:15 am for my segment that will start about 6:50. This allows me time to set up, get any food items ready that can’t be made up ahead of time and get some chit chat in with Jennifer and Bill.
I am always greeted by Kelli Hoff, morning show producer, with a smile – even though she’s been hard at work since about 11 pm the night before. Her job is to put the show together. She decides how long the news segments will be and when the weather will be shown. She also decides which news segments make the program and writes the copy that is read for these segments. So Kelli is the person I contact to schedule my segments. Love her!
Next is the control room. Now I personally don’t know all of their names but I do know that they do a very good job of putting on the show. They tell the camera people what shots to get and whisper in Jennifer’s ear how much time we have left in our segment. I know – they do LOTS more, but that’s the gist of it. The control room is right behind the set but you can’t see each other from the rooms. They communicate with each other via microphones and ear pieces.
Now the first time I was a guest on News 8 This Morning, I thought the set would be much larger than it is. It’s plenty big but cameras can play tricks on you. Honestly – they add 10 pounds to a girl! It’s not the food I eat, it’s the camera.
There are 5 areas to the studio – first is what I call the chit chat area. It’s where Jennifer and Bill read the lighter news and make chit chat. In this photo you can see the camera guys have positioned the cameras where they need to be. There is a teleprompter right under the camera lens so that Jennifer can look directly into the camera, read what needs to be read and it makes it look like she’s looking right at you and not the words on the screen.
Then there is the green screen where Bill does the weather. The images that you see behind him on your TV screen are not really there. Bill stands in front of a green screen and has TV monitors on both sides so he can see where his hands and arms need to go to point to the correct information on the map that will show up behind him on your TV set. Pretty cool – huh?
Then we move a little further into the studio and there is the Weather Center where some of the show is shot from like the Weather Quiz as well as the weather break ins during the CBS Morning Show. This is where all of the meteorologists work. It’s their office and they keep it so darn clean!
And to the right of that is the news desk. This is where Jennifer reads the majority of the news from. Again, the cameras have the teleprompters so she can read and look right at you.
And to the right of that is where I get to play. I set up the rolling counter out in the hallway and then we roll it in during a commercial break. This is where all of my segments are done as well as any other guests they may have on the show.
Normally, when Bill is doing his last weather segment, Jennifer comes over, gets the low down on what we are making that day and we RARELY hear what the weather will be like for the day or for the rest of the week because we are catching up with each other’s lives since the last time we saw each other. Yes, she’s as sweet in person as she is on TV. And Bill – he’s a nice guy too! They really do act like brother and sister, even off camera.
Bill always comes over to join us in making whatever sweet treat I have in store for them. Between the two of them, they never cease to amaze me with what they create. They have always put me at ease in front of the camera since day one with their fun and easy going personalities. Before I know it, my 4 – 5 minutes of fame for the month is up.
Right after the show, the crew meets in the studio and they talk about what went well for the day, what they could work on, and then they get to eat what I bring with me. I almost always leave plenty of food for everyone there. Maybe that’s why they are so nice to me – I feed them. But if that is the reason, I’m just fine with it because I love working with all of them.
Before I end this I don’t want to forget Brian – he makes sure I get a good copy of the segment to post on my website, blog and YouTube. He is fast. Most days before I even get home from La Crosse, it’s in my inbox waiting for me.
Next TV segment for me is Tuesday, May 8 at 6:50 am when we do something for Mother’s Day. Speaking of mothers – my mom took many of these photos. She came along with me the last time to see how it is all done so I put her to work taking pictures. Not bad for a rookie!