30 August 2007

[pdx, bloggage] KATU Blogger Meetup, The Incriminating Evidence

931. The KATU Blogger Meetup was something I approached with some trepidation, for a few reasons:
  1. While I can wax gregarious, I start out as painfully shy (another blogger described it as "shy writers meeting shy writers." That blogger (whoever you were) had our number...or at least mine).
  2. No matter how you dress me up, I'm fuggly. There, I've said it; I feel better. I'd never be an anchor. I have a face, as they say, for radio.
But, after me and The Wife™ got there, we found a whole group of fine and very nice people. Being a 3rd-shifter, I rarely get the chance to attend any other meetups, so I came in as an unknown quantity. But, after a while, I found some people to talk to (and finally actually met dieselboi, who spotted me in e-vite) and was rather warmly received by everyone.
I'm glad I went. It was a real positive experience, not only getting to see the inside of a TV studio building that gave me a lot of the broadcasts on which I was raised, but just seeing what was where and getting an idea of how a television station works (a lifelong desire of mine), but getting to know the IRL faces of the people I read regularly (I already mentioned a few; I was able to thank LynnS at Oregon Media Insiders for the fine job she does).
Very few people looked like I thought they would, FWIW.
And now, the pictures:
We arrived during the 6:30 News broadcast, so we chatted and chewed on some very nice snacks in what turned out to be the adjacent studio. When the report was over, the talent came over to meet us.


We've always liked Rod Hill's style, from when he was over at KPTV (until just after it was Foxified) and now. Well, people, that's the way he really is in person. He walked straight up to us and just picked up talking to us, asking me very good questions about how I do what I do and how I keep track of who visits, stuff like that.

Also, Rod's unflappable, when The Wife™ caused my glass of Drop Top Amber Ale (very good, acutally–see how KATU treated us?) to tip, she was dismayed, I rather panicked, but Rod? Cool as a cucumber.

Debora Knapp also came over to say hi to everyone:


She was also very affable. I talked to her twice, along with some of the KATU execs who showed up.

I just missed meeting Steve Dunn, but he was working the room too. Tall. That man is very tall.

After that, they let us loose in the studio (there was apparently a breaking interview that delayed us. Everyone was very cool about this):


This is the view of the News set, the anchor desk, from an angle behind. When something ephemeral gets real, the overwhelming feeling is something like I had here: gosh, It's just a bit of furniture, isn't it. So, yeah, I was all country-mouse about it, but I won't lie–in some ways, I am quite unsophisticated. It was fascinating as hell to see it up close.

This moment was a personal favorite of mine:


That's The Mighty Lelo and dieselboi, from a POV behind the anchor desk. Those cameras are both bigger and smaller than I thought (the actual camera port is quite smaller than I expected) and they can be moved from a remote console. The Wife™, a quondam Dr. Who fan, termed this "going Dalek" (there were little flashing green lights on the base of them. Very SF.

One thing you hear over and over from us hoipolloi who finally get to visit the world of media is how different it all looks in person. Well, it may be a trite thing to say, but it's true. The news set is actually at the opposing corner of the studio...from the AM Northwest set. Now the studio room itself isn't that small a room, but when you consider what they do with it, it seems much smaller than one would assume.

Here's an angle on the AM Northwest set, from behind the anchor desk:


And here's the view of the news set from the back corner of the AM Northwest set:


See? Small! As it happens, a curtain is drawn across the news set to screen it out for reverse-angle audience shots during AMNW. If you ever catch yourself watching that show (which I do occasionally because I like Dave Anderson) and you see that curtain behind the audience, now you know; the news set is behind it. The chairs themselves are on large rolly-carts that were stowed to stage right and stage left. As far as the kitchen set of AMNW, it's astoundingly close to hand at the left (from the audience's view).

Whilst crawling about the AMNW set, I noticed this door:


Ever wonder what it looked like back there? So did I (I found the stone-wall stucco strangely humorous), so I peeked around:


Yep, that's pretty much it. One more illusion destroyed...but you didn't really think there was really a forest back there, didja? If you did, go over to The Drudge Report please–there is nothing further for you at this blog.

A couple more pics of things that fascinated me:


There is a lot more room behind the anchor desk than I thought. And you didn't really think they had a view of Mount Hood, didja? If so, to Drudge with you. Seriously, dude. Go.

Here's where the weather is reported...the weather wall...


If you peep the video monitor immediately right of the cutie in the red mini, you'll see that the green wall is replaced by the graphics. This is called chroma-key, and all that is is when the color (chroma) is subtracted out and the image is combined in on the technical end. This is why you never see the weather person wearing green. And, yes, it was smaller than you'd think at home.

For those who always wondered, this is why the weathermanorwoman never looks at the map they're describing–they're watching themselves in the monitors directly to the left and the right of the wall.

The Party's over...

Me and The Wife™ were actually the last people to leave. This was because we talked quite a bit with some station personnel, who had the most interesting stories to tell. For the "busman's" view of the way the station worked, I want to personally thank Mike Sutton, one of the station engineers: Mike, you gave us memories that will last a lifetime, and you, like the rest of the KATU staff, were just fine and nice people.


And here's one of our favorite newsies, Scott Moore, of the Portland Mercury, hot off the game of 4-square they were playing across Sandy Blvd (sadly, me and The Wife™ were too busy to see them there. But they posted fun stuff about it at Blogtown). Behind him: the esteemable Nothstine, of P3. I enjoyed meeting them both. Scott in particular was a howl...

I'll gather up my swag and post piccies in an entry or two. I didn't put every picture up, if you want to get a look at my fuggly self and all the best pictures I took, go to this link to my Photobucket sub-album.

Brian Westbrook (who was apparently the media-blogger liaison between KATU and usn's) has a recap, pixs, and link list at his blog here.

Another good roundup can be found at Silicon Florist, here.

We had a great time. Thanks, KATU!

KATU-Portland Blogger Meetup, 29 August 2007
(It's a big one folks-630 KiB)
Above Photo copyright Brian Westbrook

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10 comments:

Iron Fist said...

Third photo from the bottom, the one with the green wall -- that dude on the left of the photo, I'm pretty sure I know him. Was he a blogger?

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Yes, but I'm not sure which. He billed himself simply as "erisian" on his name badge and when the group photo was piccied he drew a funny face on a bit of looseleaf and covered his face with it (check the group shot, behind the anchor desk, on the right hand side).

Hey, if they ever do that again and I get an e-vite, I'll make sure you get one too, if I can.

Silicon Florist said...

Great recap! I've added your entry to the roundup of blogger coverage of the KATU event (near the top because it's one of the most thorough I've seen to date).

As always, thanks very much for the link love.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Much obliged and thanks for the props, SF. I don't think I met you, but I just want to say...I love puns, and your blog's title is right up there.

How could you have escaped my notice till now? I am remiss...

Judy said...

I'm really bummed I missed it, but I had a prior engagement. Hopefully the PDX Knit Bloggers (there are over 80 of us) were well represented.

Looks like it was a fun night.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Hey, Judy:

I'm sorry it didn't happen for you. You missed a great time.

There was this one knitter chick that was there...her name completely escapes me but she was quite affable..in the group shot, she's the girl right behind the anchor desk, just to the left of center, in the brown-green top.

Gave me memories to last a long time it did.

Karel said...

Interesting! I'd like to see the inside of a TV studio some day; I know all too much about the insides of radio studios, but they're a lot less interesting anyway. But maybe that's a familiarity/contempt thing...

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Karel:

Not to be missed.

Just for fun, I tuned in AM Northwest the next day...Helen Raptis (I keep wanting to call her "Helen Raptor"...that's what I get for being an eternal smartass, no reflection on Helen) was flying (d'oh!) solo, and they had plentiful back angles on the audience.

There was some fella in lederhose there.

And behind the audience was that curtain, and just a mere few feet behind that, the news anchor desk.

You'd think that getting a good look around a studio like that would take the mystery and interest out, but no...it just makes things more interesting, there's the irony.

Clearly I missed a possible calling. If I had it all to do over again, I'd of tried harder to get into television.

Another apropos thing was when I was prowling the AM Northwest set, I made the acquaintance of a Fisher corporate managment-type fella. Very nice guy. Related to me that he worked in L.A., at the CBS affiliate there (which I think, also ironically, is also Channel 2) and he said he got a good close look at some of the sets for the game shows and stuff, all that stuff that's been on the air decades. I remember him saying that it was surprising how tattered it looks up close because it's been in use for so long.

Lo-def hides so many flaws. They're going to have to get their "A" game on in that department when hi-def finally gets going.

Karel...aren't you Greyduck Karel?

Dave Allen said...

What exactly was the point of this gathering? Exposure via the blog world for KATU?

Dave Allen Pampelmoose

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

I'll bet that's part of it.

I think someone just decided somewhere that KATU might gain something by rubbing shoulders with bloggers, and figured out it would be good publicity.

I don't see anything wrong with that myself.

I did find out that the personnel at KATU were really friendly and willing to talk about their jobs and what they did.

Now, me, I was in it for me...they don't give tours of stations any more, and I always wanted to see the inside of a studio. And eat tiny little Reuben sandwiches, 'cause, mmmm, Reuben sandwiches.