Team Wolfe

Julie Wolfe, WXIA

With some reluctance, I’m going to promote a TV thing on this space.  On July 4, I’m going to try to do something that I’ve never done before.  Some fool has probably tried it elsewhere, though I don’t know of it.

Somehow, WXIA snagged the rights to the live coverage of the 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race (we’ve been admonished to use its full name, or “the Peachtree.”  As rights-holders, you buy into this sort of thing).

When the 10K starts at 7:30am, reporter Julie Wolfe will run the race, wired with a mic and IFB for live coverage.  Wolfe ran the Alaska Marathon a couple of weeks ago.  The woman can assuredly run a 10K and talk and interview runners and God knows what else, simultaneously.

She’ll have a small team of folks with her, including yours truly.  We’ll be schlepping gear.   Aside from a TV camera, the essential piece will be a 20 pound backpack.

As I understand it, the backpack contains musltiple cell-phone transmitters.  They all fire up and create a super-signal, creating the capability to produce a decent TV picture.  It’s many steps above the stop-action imagery of Skype, but a hair below the quality of a microwave or satellite or hard-wired live shot.

The fun part will be running the 10K while carrying the 20 lb. backpack.  That’s my job (though I expect to lean heavily on my friend Bo, who will run with us and has agreed to help schlep gear.  Team Wolfe will also include a WXIA / UGA intern named Kala).

I’m reluctant to promote this because of what could go wrong.  Three things come to mind:  Bad weather, technical failure and human failure.

As I write this, I’ve twice done five-mile runs while carrying a 17 lb. backpack.  I spent Sunday walking with the strained gait of Walter Brennan.  I’m about to strap on the backpack and do it again.  I’m building muscle memory, I keep telling myself.  (I did another Monday.)

Plus, it’ll be over in a week, one way or another.  If you’re running the Peachtree or watching WXIA’s live coverage, feel free to heckle me.  I’ll be the sweaty, wheezing, slow-moving guy running with a backpack, trying to keep pace with the TV-ready mic-toting woman half my age.

One last thing:  I volunteered for this.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

6 thoughts on “Team Wolfe

  1. Funkmeister

    So this will be WXIA’s version of WAGA’s Emmy-award-winning “RunnerCam,” using Live-U or similar instead of microwave relayed via chopper?

    1. live apt fire Post author

      Yes. I was the “talent” on one of those Peachtree shoots back in the 90s (and was quickly replaced by an attractive female meteorologist a year later). Mike Daly was the photog. Julie Wolfe, of all people, was the WAGA intern who ran with us to schlep gear and help with the crowd. The pole cam didn’t work very well that year, as I recall. You and Mike won Emmys for it subsequently.

  2. jimmyZ

    Been nice knowin ya….hope your living will is up to date….
    If this works, it’s going to rock. If it doesn’t, y’all still get a B+, just for making the effort.

  3. arky

    Live-U is good as long as you’re not constantly moving and not doing a lot of two-way interaction with the studio (because of delay). Sounds like you intend to break both rules.

  4. Og Ogglby

    I hope Live U works for you, but with thousands of folks on the street the available bandwidth might be limited. The WAGA microwave shot from the ground to the chopper was flaky too, so nothing is perfect. The delay will be interesting…maybe treat each of Julie’s parts as a stand-alone piece with no banter?

  5. jOSH

    11alive coverage was HORRIBLE!

    I got seasick watching the shakey cam from the truck.

    Who cares about the Kenyans, show the locals in the race.


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