Morning people

Here’s a little secret.  TV stations have no trouble staffing early-morning newscasts, whose grueling schedules require workdays beginning anywhere from midnight to 3:30am.

It’s not just because, in this economy, any paying job with a decent salary can get filled.  In the below live shot, you see two perfectly sensible dayside TV news veterans engaging in a perfectly ridiculous 5:30am live shot, working that shift because they want to be there.

When you turn on your TV at 5am (or 4:30am — and apparently, plenty of you actually do this), odds are good that the cheery newscasters and reporters you’re watching have kids at home.  At WXIA, the folks who schlep into work at the ripe hour of 3am have a very good chance of exiting the property by 12:30.  That gives them a chance to get home, maybe grab a catnap, then actually function as parents when school lets out.

(Not all workplaces are so predictable, schedule-wise.  One Atlanta TV station has been pretty well known for abusing their 3:30am reporter, putting him through the morning live shot grind, then assigning him a story at 9am to produce for the evening newscast.  That poor SOB almost never left before 3pm.  And no, reporters don’t get paid overtime.)

When Ted Hall anchored WXIA’s evening news, you could tell that the format stifled his folksiness and easygoing charm.  The below live shot shows him drily unleashed.

Likewise, Jaye Watson has an erudite ice-queen quality when delivering stories for the evening news.  The live shot below shows the amusing and impulsive Watson known by her coworkers.  It’s the kind of thing that you’d never see during the evening news.

On Thursdays and Fridays, when she works mornings, nobody in the newsroom looks more content than Watson, a mother of two small children.  Except maybe Ted Hall.  Or Jennifer Leslie, who has cheerfully worked the 3:30am shift as a reporter for years.

Especially at 12:30pm.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Morning people

  1. Dirty Laundry

    Cute video interchange, and there are some valid positives in your post to be sure – BUT – What you failed to mention throughout is. . . broadcast employees rarely have any say in being assigned to the “overnight,” “early morning,” “3rd shift,” or “vampire hours.” (At least that is what I observed in my near decade of time served in broadcast news.) These individuals have to maintain a positive outlook, but (I would argue) at a very serious cost. E.g. sleep deficit issues, skeleton work crews, family/community/friend contact diminished, and on and on (Oh yeah, did I mention sleep issues!!??? It’s not a normal way to exist.). And, it’s not something I would wish on someone who doesn’t truly want it. (But, I’m not a News Director.)

  2. WakeUpMyPeeps

    I actually watch the morning news more than any other time. DVR records the national evening.

    (Nice standup btw on the Troy Davis stuff)

  3. Mike Daly

    Funny how Jaye could hear Ted, but he had so much trouble hearing her. Jaye is graceful as always and the exchange was funny. It’s funny the timing on trains and leaf blowers.
    But, on to another matter. The new superintendent said, “I’m also goin’ be in the schools.” Maybe the slate under Jaye’s locator should have said, “Superintendent going be sworn in.”

  4. Joey Avary

    Most reporters at CBS Atlanta are hourly and get OT. That’s why we are less abusive than other shops in the market that nobody needs to mention,,,


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