Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mornings on 2

I just got home from the studio and will write more soon. The short version: Nice people. Good interview. No barf. I'm happy.


KTVU is one of the bigger, better television stations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now a Fox station, they were independent for decades and at one point tried to become a national Superstation like WGN or TBS. I believe they have the largest news organization in northern California and the highest-rated 10 o'clock newscast in the country. So it was pretty exciting to be invited to appear on their morning show.

Everyone I met there was great. I arrived about 40 minutes before my interview and was ushered into a green room with six professional automobile drivers and a guy from Consumer Reports who were there to talk about new cars for 2007. Nice guys, and chatting with them gave me something to focus on other than the small monitor showing what was happening live through the big double doors right around the corner.

My "handler" was Michele, whom I took to be a producer though I don't know her real job title. She'd asked me to bring some family photos to show during my segment; I included some images from the book as well. She gave me a five-minute warning, guided me into the studio, stood by my side until the commercial break before my segment, and sat me on my chair. As we walked into the studio, Michele asked me how many television interviews I'd done and did not seem comforted by my answer: "Counting this one? One."

But I've actually spent a fair amount of time in television studios (different story, different time) so I was pretty comfortable in the environment. However, I'm still always struck by how business-like and unglamorous they are in life. Besides the three newsreaders and weatherman, there were no more than five other people in the enormous room outfitted with four different sets (anchor desk, weather station, a couch set, and the chair-and-table set we used). It was a surprisingly low-key affair.

I met the host, Ross McGowan, and we had just a few seconds to chat before we returned to the air. I was very impressed with Ross. He's been doing his job a long time and would have every reason to coast, but it was obvious he (or someone working for him) had really done some homework. When I go into an interview, I have a mental checklist of key points I plan to make. Before I even opened my mouth, Ross's introduction made two of them for me. He asked apt questions and it felt like a nice conversation. He made it easy. After we went to commercial I shook Ross's hand, signed his book, spread thanks all around, gave high fives to the car guys, picked up a videotape of my appearance, and was escorted to the door. Start to finish, less than an hour.

I just watched the tape and was only slightly mortified. I spotted things I need to work on if there's ever a next time. Sideways glances at the monitors and teleprompters made me look nervous and shifty. I seem to have a couple of new wrinkles I never noticed before. Alas, I fear little can be done about my hideous face and voice. But overall I am very happy with the result and grateful to KTVU for the invitation.

One fun post-script: as I was driving home I got a call from Nurse Sis, who told me she'd heard the broadcast in L.A. and congratulated me for doing a nice job. I was mystified. Did she somehow find it online? A podcast? No... her local friend Lorna (who left a comment in the previous post) called her and held a phone to her television for the entire segment! I thought that was fantastic. Thanks, Lorna!


Dave said...

I love that cool hand gesture!


Lynda said...

My mom and I are going to do a videoconference, so I will see it tonight! (She already kinda told you that in the previous comments. hehe.)

thedeviluno said...

You look like you are crushing something your hand there....what did you write about? Voodoo?

Paul said...

Congratulations with your TV interview and your book! Looks like you are getting a lot of publicity. I recently did a five minute TV interview on a news show with my 2 kids to talk about our African Safari DVD that we recently released. The interview was fun and went by too quickly.

My mom died from cancer three years ago. I'll have to check out your book.


Anonymous said...

Glad to be able to participate in some small way! Lorna

BrianFies said...

Dave and "Thedeviluno," I made that hand gesture while proclaiming my evil scheme to take over the world. Thanks for noticing. When I rule, I shall let you live.

Paul, I know what you mean about a five-minute interview passing quickly. It flew for me and I was a little surprised when we were done.

Lynda and Lorna, thanks again!

Dave said...

"When I rule, I shall let you live."

Well, I'm sure Laura (and maybe Robin) will be none too happy to hear that. You may want to reconsider, given that making such a rash decision will assuredly bring you only grief and familial discord.