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The makings of a football special

by wcnc


Posted on November 2, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 6:12 PM

Jim Alvarez

News Operations Manager

WCNC News Operations Manager Jim Alvarez traveled to New Jersey to produce a special show before the Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants game. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how the newscasts came together.

Remote productions like this are never easy but always fun and a heavy lift. My trip started on Friday, Dec. 19. My Charlotte to Newark flight was cancelled. I ended up flying to D.C. and taking the Amtrak into the city.

On Saturday morning photographers Ken Corn, Mike Hanson and I headed to the stadium to run cable. We ended up having to borrow ladders, climb catwalks and pleaf with security to overlook some of the crazy things we needed to accomplish. We ended up running and flying over walkways about 2,000 feet of video and audio cable.

After that I was off to NYC to meet my son for dinner. Sunday morning our day started at 7 a.m. We setup shop on the Giants field for our morning live shot. The snow began to fall and fall hard.

Sonja Gantt, the true professional, never complained. She just delivered the information to our viewers. We did about six live hits before Greg Bailey and Sonja swapped positions on the field. Greg drew the short straw, because the snow turned to rain. Lots of it and it was cold.

After 10 a.m. the crew broke off and I went back to catch some rest while Sonja and Mike went into the city to shoot some tape with Panther fans.

3 p.m. quickly rolled around and it was back to Giants stadium to prepare for the evening shows. Now the fun begins. In our business you shoot for the heavens and happily accept the sky, we did.

Equipment was getting cold wet and starting to give us issues. But we must have a clean production of the shows. So I started to make changes. Instead of two cameras we are going with one. Instead of two locations we are using one. At one point we even had one of our very expensive lights run over by a salt spreading truck. VERY EXPENSIVE light squashed. OUCH!!
It's not like we can delay the broadcast, news at 6. It went off clean and looked good with the one camera.

While on air it is brought to my attention that our media credentials to shoot the game are a no go. Some kind of temporary confusion throws me into a frenzy. So now I am also having to deal, with this issue but after a few calls it gets quickly resolved and on to the next hurdle. No problem, I know more are coming.

Game starts. The Panthers do a fantastic job but are not able to put away the Giants. Very close and we do love our Panthers! What excitement! After the game it's back to live TV. We do news, sports and Panther Game Day show all without a hitch.

At 1:15 a.m. when we are cleared by Charlotte, the teardown begins. This is the part nobody likes but gets done quickly. After all, we are about to get off for the evening. The crew, all of us, go in different directions breaking down gear and packing away the equipment as the night gets colder and colder.

As for the next hurdle. I am bumped off my return flight to Charlotte. I am to wait four hours for the next plane. I do love my job and all the fun it brings me. Go Panthers!