Unfortunately it was the weekend!
In television… and most everything… weekends aren’t staffed as weekdays are. The crew was inexperienced and overwhelmed. Weather was when they regrouped.
For a director and crew weather is the easiest part of the newscast. The camera is stationary. The meteorologist or weathercaster is running his own graphics. You can almost sit back and let it happen.
In Buffalo Pat only had one cue to hear during my ‘cast.
After working a map I turned to the camera and said, “Let’s look at the current conditions.”
Pat was supposed to hit a button and switch from my weather graphics to a character generator which produced the “Currents” page.
I vamped a few seconds and then, again, called for “current conditions at Buffalo International.”
I was new at weather. I could ad lib, but I’d ridden into a box canyon. Once you’ve finished your narrative and called for the conditions you’re stuck.
I tried once more then having received no response took two steps forward and squarely faced the camera. I probably stooped just a little which I do when I make a close approach to the lens.
“Pat! I’m talking to you. May I have the currents?”
It was awkward. What options were there? It worked.
I was upset.
I was already stockpiling airchecks hoping to spring myself to a larger market. This tape wouldn’t make the cut and that was what had me the most ticked. Opportunity lost.
I steamed out to the parking lot, got in my car and drove home for dinner. A few hours later I was back for the eleven. The six o’clock broadcast was behind me now.
I was in the weather area when Pat walked in my direction. Now I was worried. I’d called him out on-the-air. Maybe he was angry with me?
“When you called my name on the air,” he began, “my mother heard it.”
Uh oh. This isn’t good.
“She really liked that!” And with that he smiled.
I mentioned his name when I could. He never missed a cue again.