I pulled into the parking lot and the first memory hit. A bunch of drunken fishermen just before the 11 o’clock show pushing the buzzer non-stop. They’d caught a 6 foot sturgeon and they wanted it on TV. Now.
Second memory as I got out of the car. Being walked to my vehicle after the eleven many nights by the custodian. Homeless men on their way to the shelter often got tired and would crawl into any car that wasn’t locked in hopes of spending the night in relative warmth and safety.
1974. KXTV. Channel 10. My first gig in news.
And my oh my how things have changed. The tiny lobby is now bigger than the old newsroom. The hallway that ended a bit beyond the newsroom goes on and on and twists around in a building that seems four times the size of the old station.
And the technology.
I was visiting today to check out the weather sets (aka greenscreens or chroma key sets) to see how they’re lit to help out in a similar but vastly smaller setup at the Stockton Children’s Museum. Here’s what that looks like right now.
You can see the hot spots…something we’ve been battling. The lights are in strips…maybe a dozen LED bulbs. We’ve tried diffusing and blackwrap to control them but it kept coming back to intensity and positioning. Too much in some areas and not enough on the bottom. Kind of figured out we needed softer lights, thus the visit to the present news set in Sacto.
Now I’m gonna toss a bunch of photos of their set up so my electrical guys can see how it looks.
Simple solution. Fluorescents and we can work in the tight space at the museum…don’t even need the high studio ceilings to make it work. And they use the same lights pretty much for the chroma wall and talent. Three big grids front and center…placed as far back as our wall. They also hung a couple of smaller lights to hit the lower corners of the screen. Plus some lights coming in over the back of the wall to backlight the talent.
Fortunately I have a bunch of old shop lights I can experiment with to see if it will work…then can let the electricians get to work and do their magic.
But now back to memory lane.
Ward Koppel (morning show producer) lead me around the building through the news sets, newsroom, photographers’ room, edit bays, control room and master control. Where bodies used to thrive and work as a team, much has been automated from robotic cameras to a reduction of maybe 8 people in the control room to two now.
Shooters are pretty much Videojournalists/MMJs now using camcorders they can dock directly in the edit bays. TVU units make live shots both a challenge and more spontaneous. There’s a GoPro locker and each shooter has their own locker for gear.
Photos in order of appearance. Control room, newsroom, newsroom small set, another newsroom view with assignment desk, larger newsroom set.
And since my former nickname was “Scanner Mama” a new toy – a scanner that can handle the trunk system and can be programmed to recognize signals whenever you change locations. Mmmmm!
Gonna finish this up now with a dive into the deep past. Apparently Channel 10 celebrated 60 years on air last year and there are photos that tell the tale of its history posted all over.
Some of it recognizable. First up – Bruce McCormick, followed by my first reporter Rich Iberra. The cluster of photos has only one person I worked with – Creighton Sanders, sports director in the 70s. And my first and favorite anchor, Dick Cable.
A somewhat shaky shot from before my time of Governor Pat Brown.
More photos with folks I knew and worked with or against (other stations) over the years.
And the mystery photos. Who is that lady? Why is that cameraman rappelling? And who the heck is the cowboy who apparently was in a lot of photos way back when connected with the station.
It’s been a good day. I learned a lot, reminisced a lot…
…and now on with life.