A few years ago, we installed some automated control room equipment at the TV station. Most of the problems have been ironed out now, but for a while our staff pulled their hair out.
Was it noticeable on the air? I don’t know. It was noticeable in the studio, where we’re all basically dancing backwards in high heels¹. Any little disturbance ripples through your performance.
It’s because of that, that I can say I feel Joe Moore’s pain. He’s an anchor in Honolulu where the transition to automation had its problems.
A friend sent me this video of Joe, who finally had enough.
By the way, these problems aren’t limited to automation. There is a story I’ve heard over the years about John Facenda, fabled anchor at WCAU in Philadelphia. Through the 70s, he was also the “Voice of God” narrator at NFL Films.
One night Facenda went on, called for the first piece of film… nothing. The next cue and again, nothing. When it happened the third time, Facenda tossed to a commercial, stood up, walked into the control room and said, “We’re going to do this **cker again, from the top.”
And they did.
¹ – The high heels line refers to the movie role played by Ginger Rogers. It is said, though Fred Astaire got the majority of credit, Ginger did everything he did, backwards, while wearing high heels.