Friday Night Football

by - September 25, 2010

I survived my third experience with Friday Night Football.

For those of you that don't know, football is king of fall in the South. Case in point, every Friday night during high school football season the television station I work for has a half-hour show dedicated solely to just that.

Basically, FNF blows up the newsroom. What is normally a dull roar intensifies into a full-blown cacophony of shouting, laughter, phones and frantic running around [much like a flock of headless chickens].

And I'm expected to produce a normal newscast right smack dab in the middle of it all.

I'm quite literally in the middle of it all. The guy who calls out [or shouts] all the scores sits at the desk directly in front of mine. The main newsroom phone is on the column that's diagonally in front of my desk. And the food, well the path to it goes by my desk.

You know all those old movies that depict newsrooms as crazy-busy chaotic? That's what FNF looks like.

And aside from being in the middle of all the craziness, I have nothing to do with the production aspect of it.

When my show ends, the director hands me a rundown with their times and I get control of the prompter. My job morphs into prompter girl mixed with official time-keeper. And let me tell you, it's not easy. They don't follow what the prompter and they're always over on time.

It's a harrowing job, but someone's got to do it.

At least there's free food.

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  1. It's interesting, Ashton, how stations in different geographic regions handle the sports and weather components of the newscast. It also depends on how far south you go. You're way up north compared to me. I'm down in central/west coast Florida and stations here place a greater emphasis on weather than on local sports because of the tourist trade, beaches, boating interests and vulnerability to hurricanes.

    As I am sure you can testify one of the greatest challenges of producing involves getting the on air talent to follow time cues. It's absolutely unnerving when somebody gets on a roll and ignores their wave off, putting you in a time crunch for the rest of the show. The weather guy doesn't appreciate it when you trim his segment by 30 seconds or more and when it happens he blames you, not the long winded sports guy (his drinking buddy) or the tandem anchors who couldn't stop making happy talk with each other!

  2. I'm actually pretty blessed with two anchors who can shave 30 seconds without eliminating important information.

    As for FNF, I really have no part of it at all. Sports is completely separate from news.